The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the conflicting orders emanating from courts of coordinate jurisdiction are making its job difficult.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, said this at the third quarterly meeting with political parties in Abuja on Monday.
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According to him, what is most disconcerting is that the more INEC strives to improve the credibility and transparency of the electoral process, the more extraneous obstacles are put in its way through litigations.
“On the issue of litigations, particularly the conflicting orders emanating from Courts of coordinate jurisdiction. I am aware that some of the cases are still in Court and therefore sub judice. I must say that some of the decided cases are making our work difficult and we have been crying out loud for a long time.
“In particular, some pre-election litigations relating to the nomination of candidates for elections were not determined until after the elections. Consequently, in some instances, political parties were declared winners without candidates to immediately receive the Certificates of Return (CoR) on account of protracted and conflicting litigations or where courts rather than votes determine winners of elections.
“This situation is compounded by cases on the leadership of political parties, thereby making the exercise of our regulatory responsibilities difficult. It appears that in a number of electoral cases in Nigeria today, the settled law is now unsettled and the time-honoured principle of ‘Stare decisis’ does not seem to matter any longer,” Yakubu said.
He, however, said the commission appreciates the recent statement by the Chief Justice of Nigeria as well as the strongly-worded concern by the Nigerian Bar Association, promising to work with both the Bar and the Bench to defend the electoral process in the best interest of the nation’s democracy.
He also charged the chairmen as leaders of political parties, to play their parts as expected as INEC is both an umpire and a regulator.