Polls: APC rejects TVC, seeks to join anti-PVC suit

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The All Progressives Congress has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to join it as a defendant in a suit seeking an order barring the use of Permanent Voter Card and card readers for the conduct of the forthcoming general elections.

The suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/06/2015 was filed by the Society for Advancement and Protection of Public Rights.

The plaintiff is, by the suit, seeking to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission from using the PVC and card readers for the forthcoming polls on the grounds that they were likely to lead to the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

It argued that since INEC had not engaged in trial application of the PVC and card readers, they could not guarantee their effectiveness.

The group therefore wants the court to, among others, direct INEC to revert to the use of Temporary Voter Cards, which had been tested during previous elections.

The plaintiff had joined only INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation as the defendants.

But at the hearing of the suit on Tuesday, counsel for the APC, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), said the party intended to join the suit because the decision that would be eventually reached in the case would affect the chances of its candidates contesting in the general elections.

Another group, Fiscal and Civil Rights Enlightenment Foundation, represented by its lawyer, M.S. Ibrahim, also indicated to join the suit as a co-defendant during the Tuesday’s hearing.

The APC, in its affidavit filed in support of its application seeking to be joined as a co-defendant, stated that it intended to join the suit and oppose the plaintiff’s suit.

The party also said that it intended to challenge the plaintiff’s locus standi to institute the suit as it was not a registered voter.

It attached to the affidavit a copy of its proposed defence (counter-affidavit) with which it intended to oppose the plaintiff’s suit.

The affidavit dated February 9, 2015, read in part, “That the crux of the reliefs being sought by the plaintiff herein is to prevent the exclusive use of the Permanent Voter Card for the conduct of the elections.

“That the use of the Permanent Voter Card is to ensure a hitch-free and fair election and to prevent, most importantly, rigging of the election.”

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