OBSERVING ELECTORAL JUSTICE IN NIGERIA – (July 2019 – January 2020)
In 2020, Kimpact Development Initiative rounded off her monitoring exercise of the Election Petition Tribunal (EPT) in Nigeria after the 2019 general elections. The project aimed to monitor the compliance of the tribunals to EPT guidelines, the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, and other extant laws and policies.
The issues tracked include grounds upon which petitions were filed, judgment delivered by the tribunals, resources available to the tribunals for the discharge of their duties, and the conduciveness of the venues. Others were the process employed by the tribunals, substantial compliance with the enabling laws, timeliness of proceedings, the role of INEC, security of tribunals, witnesses, litigants and their counsel, openness and access to the courts.
From the data gathered, 811 petitions were filed in the 2019 general election; 4 petitions in the presidential, 67 petitions for Governorship, 105 petitions for Senate, House of Representative filed 215 petitions 420 petitions were filed for State House of Assembly.
KDI further subject the information to a Focus Group Discussion (FGD), which comprised retired judges, representative of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), The International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the media. The FGD reviewed the data gathered from the Election Tribunal Monitors, analysed and identified gaps in the laws guiding the Election Tribunal proceedings, and provided recommendations.
Public presentation capped the project in Abuja. At the public presentation, KDI findings and recommendations were presented to the stakeholders for future engagement. The stakeholders accepted the recommendations with open hands and committed to looking into the recommendations for future engagement in their respective sectors. Stakeholders present include the President of the Court of Appeal ably represented, INEC National Commissioner, CSOs, NBA, FIDA, NOA and the media.
The United States Agency for International Development supported the EPTM and Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) through the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).