The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again expressed concerns over the conflicting court orders granted to political parties and their candidates.
INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu raised the concerns at a meeting with political party leaders in Abuja, ahead of the governorship election in Anambra State.
“It appears that in a number of electoral cases in Nigeria today, the settled law is now unsettled and the time-honoured principle of certain decisions doesn’t seem to matter anymore,” Professor Yakubu said.
The more INEC strives to improve the credibility and transparency of our electoral process, the more obstacles are put in our way through litigation.”
These conflicting court orders, the INEC boss warned, pose major challenges for the electoral process and are capable of hurting the country’s democracy.
“I’m aware that some of the cases are still in court and are therefore subjudice,” Professor Yakubu said.
“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.”
Prof Mahmood told the political leaders that even when elections are conducted, some litigations make it impossible for INEC to issue Certificates of Return to winners.
The Chairman also warned that “contracted and conflicting litigations” result in situations “where courts rather than votes determine winners of elections”
Recently, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammed summoned (6) six Chief Judges over allegations of conflicting reports. These including the Chief Judges of Rivers, Kebbi, Cross River, Anambra, Jigawa and Imo States
Senior officials of the National Judicial Council Sunday confirmed that the CJN had demanded the records of proceedings in all the suits from which the conflicting ex parte orders arose.
The CJN also summoned the Chief Judge of Delta State over last Thursday’s order removing the caretaker committee’s chairman of the All Progressive Congress and Gombe State Governor Mai Mala Buni.