INEC Records over 1,689 Litigations from 2019 General Election

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  • To partner N’Assembly in subsequent electoral law amendments
  • Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it recorded over 1,689 court cases arising from the 2019 general election.

The electoral commission has disclosed its preparedness to partner the leadership of the ninth National Assembly in subsequent electoral amendments in the country.

INEC’s National Electoral Commissioner in charge of Niger, Kogi, and Nasarawa states, Mohammed Haruna, said this Thursday in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, during the state-level post-election review retreat.

Haruna said more than 890 of the cases were pre-election matters arising from the conduct of political party primary elections, while 799 were election petitions at the various tribunals across the country.

According to him, the pre-election cases indicate that political parties need to put their acts together in order to deepen the nation’s democratic process.

He also said that the cases before the election petitions tribunals showed that much still needed to be done to improve on the electoral process.

“We are here to review what we did for this year’s general election with a view to improving on our subsequent outing.

“You will agree with me that any document is work in progress, you can never get it perfectly,” Haruna said.

He expressed optimism that from the review of the 2019 general election with inputs from the various stakeholders, subsequent elections would be better than the previous as noticeable pitfalls would be addressed.

Haruna cited the unprecedented number of political parties that participated in the 2019 general election as one of the challenges that the commission faced during the conduct of the polls.

Meanwhile, INEC has also disclosed its preparedness to partner the leadership of the ninth National Assembly in subsequent electoral act amendments in the country.

This, the commission said, is to strengthen the legal framework of the country’s electoral system.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this yesterday during a review of the 2019 general election with some stakeholders in Abuja.

The INEC chairman expressed optimism that the review would be concluded in the next two months, so as to arm the electoral body with useful lessons that would guide relevant stakeholders working to improve on the legal framework.

Speaking when he received the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the INEC chairman regretted that a new legal framework could not be developed before the last general election.

He said, “We look forward to any suggestions that you may have for improving the electoral process in Nigeria as we prepare for future elections. In particular, we need to focus attention on the electoral legal framework among several areas of reform.

“Indeed, long before the 2019 general election, the commission submitted detailed proposals for the amendment of our electoral laws in the light of our experience from the 2015 general elections and numerous off-season elections.

“We had a useful interaction with the 8th National Assembly. We also submitted extensive proposals for the improvement of the electoral legal framework for its consideration.

“We were assured by the leadership of the last National Assembly that work on the electoral legal framework will be concluded by December 2016. Unfortunately, the process dragged on for so long and became even more difficult to conclude as the general elections approached.

“I want to assure Nigerians that, as always, we will start early. We hope to conclude the ongoing review of the 2019 general elections in the next two months. These reviews have become standard practice by the commission, and involve all stakeholders across the electoral process.

“Consequently, we have commenced debriefings with all our field staff to learn from them the successes and challenges we all faced in the planning and implementation of the general elections.”

He promised to hold extensive meetings with political parties, civil society, security agencies, the media as well as other stakeholders as part of the Commission’s commitment to the continuous improvement of the electoral process in Nigeria.

He added, “Immediately thereafter, we shall engage with the leadership of the 9th National Assembly. There is so much work to do but little time ahead of us.”