Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has urged President Bola Tinubu to put an end to what he described as “the shame of bad elections in Nigeria”.
Falana, who made the call during an interview on Channels Television on Friday, alleged that successive regimes in Nigeria had set up electoral reform committees, but their recommendations had not been implemented.
According to him, the appointment of card-carrying members of political parties or loyalists of parties as Resident Electoral Commissioners or National Commissioners complicated INEC’s ability to have credible elections.
“The commitment to have credible elections in 2027 and the shame of bad elections in Nigeria must stop, and President Tinubu has a duty not only to encourage INEC to conduct good elections, he must also ensure that his promises to have credible elections in Nigeria are kept.
“As a matter of fact, since 2007, successive regimes in Nigeria—the Yar’Adua regime, the Jonathan regime, and the Buhari regime—have all set up electoral reform committees or panels to make recommendations that will assist the government to have credible elections.
“In the case of President Tinubu, as a leader of ACN, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu set up a committee to campaign for the implementation of the recommendations of the Uwais Panel, and one of them is that we must have independent umpires.
“You can’t have a card-carrying member of a political party or a loyalist of a party to be a Resident Electoral Commissioner or a National Commissioner; you complicate for INEC to have credible elections,” Falana said.
The senior lawyer however stated that judges should not determine the outcome of elections, noting that Nigeria has the highest number of election petitions worldwide.
“We need to resolve that we are never again going to allow judges to determine or confirm the results of elections. It doesn’t happen anywhere in the world, and that is why I repeatedly challenge my colleagues: Are you aware that we have the largest number of election petitions in the world?
“This year we recorded the lowest number of electron petitions since 2003; we have 436 petitions; in 2019 we had 807; in 2007, the worst elections we have ever conducted in Nigeria, Nigeria recorded 1,282 petitions,” he added.