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891 of 1,196 petitions on 2023 polls dismissed or withdrawn — INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that 891 petitions out of 1,196 on the 2023 General Elections have so far been either dismissed…

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that 891 petitions out of 1,196 on the 2023 General Elections have so far been either dismissed or withdrawn.

This is as the commission said it cannot be blamed for the rising cases of election petitions in the country.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Mr Sam Olumekun, disclosed this on Thursday in a statement.

He rejected a media report that election petitions erode the credibility of INEC and that the report contains inaccurate figures, mix-up of pre-election and post-election cases, skewed comparative perspective and a headline that suggests that election petitions draw from the action or inaction of INEC.

“First, basic fact checks on the information regularly published by the commission and available on our website would have shown that in 2023, elections were not conducted in 1,280 constituencies, including 782 state assembly seats. On the contrary, elections were conducted in 1,491 constituencies across the country made up of one presidential, 28 governorship, 109 senatorial, 360 House of Representatives and 993 state assembly constituencies.

“Similarly, the claim that state assembly elections were held in only 28 states of the country is made on the lazy assumption that no such elections were held in the eight states of the federation where executive elections are held off-cycle.

“As every attentive Nigerian knows, the tenure of legislators is tied to the legislative houses which is a fixed term of four years from the date the assembly is inaugurated unlike the term of office of the executive which begins from the date they take the oath of office,” Olumekun said.

He said secondly, the report blames the pre-election cases arising from the conduct of primary elections by political parties on INEC, when these are intra-party cases involving party members in which they join the commission and seek reliefs binding on it and also that INEC does not conduct primaries for political parties, as everyone knows.

He said, “A comparative analysis would have addressed the deliberate effort in the report to portray the 2023 General Election as regressive on account of litigation without empirical evidence. Over the last three electoral cycles, the number of election petitions may be rising but not the number of upturned elections.

“In 2015, 663 cases were filed at the tribunals, 87 (13.1%) were nullified with the commission ordered to conduct re-run in some polling units or entire constituencies. In 2019, 807 petitions were filed but elections were only re-run in 30 (3.71%) constituencies (3 senatorial districts, 13 federal constituencies and 14 state constituencies).

 “While the 2023 post-election litigation is ongoing, all five petitions filed in respect of the presidential election were dismissed while three are pending on appeal. As of 16th October, 2023, out of 82 governorship election petitions, 72 (87.8%) were either dismissed or withdrawn by the petitioners.

“For senatorial elections, 146 petitions were filed out of which 100 (68.5%) were dismissed or withdrawn. For the House of Representatives, 413 petitions were filed out of which 309 (74.81%) were dismissed or withdrawn while for state houses of assembly, 550 petitions were filed out of which 468 (82.4%) were dismissed or withdrawn.”

 

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