Allow INEC conduct election, address cases 6 months before May 29th swearing in - Ex-NBA Chair - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Saturday, October 28, 2023

Allow INEC conduct election, address cases 6 months before May 29th swearing in - Ex-NBA Chair

...election petition should terminate at Appeal Court 

The former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Gusau Branch (covering Zamfara State), Bello Galadi has advocated for amendment of the electoral act and other relevant laws to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC conduct election and address all election cases six months before the May 29th swearing in.

Galadi made the call while reacting to the Supreme court judgment delivered after five months into the current administration.

He said by carrying out the amendment will allow the elected officers to concentrate and immediately hit the ground working towards delivering the dividend of democracy to the populace without any form of distractions or interruptions.

According to him, "In all honesty, we need to start discussions on how to amend the Nigeria’s Constitution, the Electoral Act and other relevant laws, so that in future, elected officers are allowed to enjoy their uninterrupted and undiluted 4- year mandate without unnecessary distractions.

"In my humble opinion, INEC should conduct the General Elections six (6) months to the date of swearing- in (29th May). All election cases should be determined before the swearing- in. 

Elected officers should be allowed to concentrate fully on governance, otherwise the essence of Section 308 (1), (2) and (3) of the Nigeria’s Constitution has been defeated. The Section had donated civil and criminal immunity for the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor respectively.

"The legal battle between the PDP and APC over the February 25th 2023 Presidential Election ended today. Even though the Supreme Court had resolved all the seven (7) issues formulated for determination against the PDP, however, the PDP is not the real loser. The real loser is the APC, because five (5) months have been taken away from its 4- year mandate (from 29th May, 2023 to 26th October, 2023)," Galadi said. 

He added that with the electoral amendment, it also stands to address tendency of the elected officer illegal use of public resources to prosecute election petition.

"As a sitting elected officer, the tendency of the officer to illegally use public resources to prosecute his election petition cases is high, because, in Nigeria, it is ordinarily difficult to differentiate between the public and personal money".

He also advocated that the election petition should terminate at appeal court instead of dragging till Supreme court.

"The Laws should be amended to provide for two (2) weeks to file petitions arising from all elections. Two (2) months should be allotted for the Election Petition Tribunals (EPT) to determine their cases. Two (2) weeks should be provided for the filing of appeals arising from the decisions of the EPT. One (1) month should be allotted for the determination of appeals from the EPTs. Appeals from the decisions of EPTs should terminate at the Court of Appeal for gubernatorial elections instead of the Supreme Court.

"In my opinion, retired Justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Federal High Courts, States High Courts, National Industrial Courts, Kadis of Sharia Courts of Appeal and Judges of Customary Courts of Appeal should be appointed as members of Election Petition Tribunals. The power to appoint the members should be vested in the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in consultations with the National Judicial Council and Federal Judicial Council.

"EPT is a critical component of our democracy, as such, the CJN should choose only the hardworking, sound, incorruptible, uncompromiseble, credible and competent persons as members of the EPT. The public should be allowed to comment on suitability and character of the nominees. They should be entitled to allowances and other benefits only. There should be Guidelines to guide their operations with stiff punishments for violators. They should be made to swear by the Holy Quran or Bible during their inaugurations.

"The primary duty of the Justices/ Judges is to adjudicate for the general public. As it is now, quite a number of members of the EPT had no option but to jettison their primary responsibilities for the national assignment (EPT). The consequence is that cases will continue to experience unnecessary delay, because preference will always be given to political cases at the expense of non- political. The earlier we start, the better for us," Galadi however maintained.

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