‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
The chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has urged judges to bound by precedents of superior courts to minimize the number of electoral cases from such unpredictability.
The Chairman, while decrying the time lost to the endless litigations, said that a situation where a trial Court sought to vary the judgement of the Supreme Court in the recently concluded party primary elections does not augur well for the judiciary.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, stated these at the capacity building workshop for Justices and Judges on election matters.
He observed that more need to be done to reduce litigations in the electoral process.
Yakubu assured the judiciary that the Commission will continue to abide by Court orders.
“However, strict adherence to stare decisis is critical for us as an Election Management Body. A situation where a trial Court sought to vary the judgement of the Supreme Court by ordering the Commission to issue a Certificate of Return in favour of a candidate whose emergence during the party’s primary election has been nullified by the apex Court (and affirmed by the same Court following an application for clarification) put the Commission in a difficult situation.
“The matter is currently being litigated again, possibly all the way back to the Supreme Court, thereby wasting the precious time of the Courts which are already inundated by even the most improbable cases by litigation-happy individuals and parties.”
He noted even though there are less Court cases challenging the conduct of elections by the Commission, cases arising from the conduct of primaries for the nomination of candidates by political parties is on the increase.
“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. 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 election. It also means that the Courts will be dealing with the same issues long after the General Election.