With the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his party, lodging their petitions before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, challenging the outcome of the February 23, 2019 presidential election, the attention of Nigerians is gradually shifting to the tribunal, where the knotty issue of technicalities have not been fully addressed.
Though the elections are not over as the governorship and state House of Assembly election is scheduled for this Saturday, the need for election petitions to be decided on merit and on time have been an on-going campaign.
Until the recent amendment of the Electoral Act, there was no time limit for the disposal of election petitions, as the inauguration of the victorious candidates comes immediately after election, but the campaign has been for the inauguration to only take place after the final determination of petitions, hence the limit in time frame for the conclusion of petitions.
Even with the time limit, victorious candidates have used all sorts of antics to slow down the process, just to achieve an expiration of the mandatory 180 days, following which they will return to the tribunal to plead that time had elapsed.
These among many other technicalities, advocates have called to be changed, to allow petitions to be decided on merit, also on time or in the alternative, for the swearing-in of the winners, only after the petitions have been decided. Read more