The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has been listed as a respondent in “about 600” cases on issues arising from party primaries.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC’s chairman, said this on Monday at a capacity-building workshop for justices and judges on electoral matters, in Abuja.
He said the commission has been dealing with the issues of candidates’ nominations from political parties, adding that the preparation for the forthcoming elections has been affected.
The commission had slated July 15 as the deadline for replacing presidential and national assembly candidates, while August 12 was set for governorship and state house of assembly candidates.
“So far, we have been joined in about 600 cases relating to the conduct of recent primaries and nomination of candidates by political parties for the 2023 general election,” Yakubu said.
“Only two weeks ago, one political party served about 70 court processes on the commission in one day, seeking to compel us to accept the nomination or substitution of its candidates long after the deadline provided in the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election had elapsed.
“Some of the cases will go up to the supreme court. The implication is that we are still dealing with issues of nomination of candidates, thereby eating into vital time for preparation of and procurement of sensitive materials for the materials.
“It also means that the courts will be dealing with the same issues long after the general election.”
He said the workshop was organised in line with the achievements recorded after a similar workshop held before the 2019 elections.
“As a consequence of a similar workshop organised ahead of the 2019 general election, we noticed a sharp reduction in the number of cases arising from that election and consequently, a reduced number of elections nullified by the election petition tribunals,” the INEC chairman said.
“For instance, 30 elections were upturned by the tribunals in 2019 as against over 100 in a previous election. Even so, in 23 out of 30 constituencies (i.e. 76%), the elections were only set aside in some polling units and not the wholesale nullification of elections in entire constituencies.
“We have studied the judgments of the tribunals arising from both the 2019 general election, the off-cycle governorship elections, and the bye-elections conducted so far. We identified areas where we need to do more to reduce litigations.”
Yakubu assured the judiciary of INEC’s commitment to abide by court orders, and urged them to familiarise themselves with the new electoral act so as to better handle post-election disputes.
Source: Top Stories
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