The Independent National Electoral Commission said that election litigation in the 2023 general elections has hit over 1000.
This was revealed by INEC Director, Legal Drafting and Clearance, Mrs Oluwatoyin Babalola, in a presentation at a two-day capacity workshop for journalists in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.
The presentation was titled “Effects of litigation on INEC’s preparations for Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa Governorship Election.”
Babalola said the pre-election litigations were borne out of primaries conducted by political parties, the substitution of candidates, and the failure of parties to adhere to their constitution and timetable for the conduct of the election.
Pre-election litigations are matters in which the cause of action arose before the conduct of the election proper, as provided for in Section 285(14) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), according to Vanguard.
She said that most of the cases were borne out of a lack of internal party democracy, where political parties failed to adhere to their constitutions and guidelines.
Babalola said that the unique nature of pre-election matters could not be overlooked, as judgments in that regard were capable of negatively impacting the planning, logistics, funding, and certainty of participants in the conduct of the election.
She said that those judgments were sometimes delivered on the eve of elections, thereby prohibiting INEC from conducting elections in certain positions, replacing candidates after the printing of ballot papers, etc.
This, according to her, in turn affected logistics and caused an eventual colossal waste of resources.
“Beyond the impact of pre-election matters on preparation for election, the commission is sometimes ordered to withdraw certificate of return issued to a candidate who emerged winner and issue fresh certificate of return to a judgment creditor.”