THE Abuja School of Social and Political Thought (ASSPT) has advocated further amendment of Nigeria’s Constitution to allow conclusion of litigations before the inauguration of winners that emerged from elections.
The school’s Director, Dr Sam Amadi, made the call at a launch of a report titled: “Election without Democracy: Explanatory Notes on Nigeria’s 2023 elections.”
The event was organised by the Centre for Public Policy and Research (CPPR) in partnership with ASSPT, to review the outcome of the 2023 general elections and provide recommendations.
Concluding the litigations before inauguration of new administration, according to Amadi, will solve half of the challenges the country is currently facing as well reduce the burden on the judiciary.
“In the report, we looked at the build-up, preparation and others.
“There shouldn’t be any government formed when there are pending court cases yet to be concluded. It is actually illogical to ensure all cases end before inauguration.
“People should not be disfranchised, the electoral umpire should be transparent and accountable, and INEC should make rules based on fairness and not bias,” he said.
Amadi said that the report also suggested a committee should be set up by INEC to review all petitions from aggrieved parties.
He said that such review by the committee would help the aggrieved party to either be satisfied with the outcome of the election or head to court to seek redress.
“After the election, INEC should sit with its team or committee and receive petitions from parties for review.
“When they approve all results, the next stage is swearing of elected leaders.
“If these are done, it will reduce the cases of elections in court because they have been resolved through a fact-finding law application procedures.”
Amadi also advised Nigerians to accept the decisions of the judiciary on the various litigations at the judiciary.
“Nigerian judges are well trained and have the capacity to do justice. Once the court has spoken, we should all obey them,” Amadi said.
He also commended Justice Flora Azinge, the Chairman, State and House of Representatives Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Kano, who publicly raised an alarm that some individual lawyers arguing their petitions before the tribunal, attempted to obstruct the course of justice with financial inducement.
Azinge, addressing the open court on Tuesday shortly before calling the first matter, revealed how a senior member of the bar offered one of her staff N10 million bribe for onward delivery to the panel.
Speaking further on the group’s report, Amadi said in spite of the promises by electoral umpire, the elections still recorded some challenges.
He said that the report already submitted to INEC contained facts and observations on different areas of the election, including electronic transmission of election results, and INEC’s adherence to its own rules and regulations in the conduct of the election.
Amadi advised INEC to ensure that it adhered to its rules and regulations at all times in the conduct of elections.
“All elections are done according to law, and there are laws that state who’s qualified to run for an election.
“If we don’t follow our laws according to who is qualified to contest for an election, then the rule of law is defeated,” he said.
Amadi added that the report was not a field report but analysis and event that took place during and after the elections.
“We do not engage in election monitoring but in observing and analysing the processes and procedures that guarantee fairness and credibility of voting and declaration of results.
“So, we tracked all these processes and put together our report.
“The key point for us is that the expectation of Nigerians when going into the elections, was to have an election that will be fair, free, credible and generate national consensus for development. (NAN)