December 2, 2022

Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Monday, said it is currently facing over 600 litigations in several courts across the federation.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who made the disclosure at a capacity building workshop for over 300 judges that will handle disputes that will arise from the forthcoming elections, lamented that most of cases pending against the electoral body, relate to the conduct of primaries by political parties.

Yakubu said it was not healthy for the nation that the Commission would be battling with pre-election matters, at a time it ought to be concerned with full-blown preparation for the necessary logistics for the conduct of the impending polls.

“Infact, just recently, one political party served over 70 court processes on the Commission, seeking to compel it to accept list of candidates, long after the time for nomination of candidates had elapsed”, Prof. Yakubu added.

The Commission through its boss also expressed willingness to continuously abide by court orders, as there was need for the judiciary to pay strict adherence to precedents.

“Strict adherence to the principle of stare-decisis (precedent) is critical for us as election management body

“A situation where a trial court tries to vary the decision of the Supreme Court, puts the Commission in a very difficult situation.

“The job of politicians is to be purely partisan, but our job as INEC and the Judiciary requires absolute neutrality, may God help us”, he added.

Meantime, while swearing-in the 307 judicial officers that will sit on 2023 election petition cases, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, warned them to shun actions that could bring disrepute to the judiciary as an institution.

“As the Chief Justice of Nigeria, I will not condone any act of recklessness or abuse of power from any of you”, Justice Ariwoola warned.

He equally launched a Judicial Electoral Manual (JEM) that will guide the tribunal members in the adjudication of disputes that may arise from the 2023 general elections.

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