A CRITIQUE OF THE GROUNDS OF ELECTION PETITION AND THE DISPENSATION OF JUSTICE IN NIGERIA

Abstract
Elections are conducted into political offices periodically in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria since the advent of Democratic rule in 1999. The country’s political history has been checkered as a result of military incursions into politics since our independence. The elections conducted from States to National have witnessed a lot of flaws and challenges. These challenges eventually end in the Courts and Election Petition
Tribunals in search of justice. This article aimed at examine and critiquing the grounds of election petition in Nigeria. Through the
doctrinal approach to research, this article critiqued the Grounds of Election Petition and the dispensation of justice in Nigeria with a view to find out whether the grounds are assisting in strengthening democracy, fairness in the dispensation of justice in election disputes and whether the institutional/legal framework has helped in deepening democracy. The article among others, discussed the grounds as provided in the Electoral Act as well as relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Article finds that of all the cases analyzed based
on the grounds as provided in the Act, justice dispensation was based more technicalities rather than on merit or substance of the
petition. Moreso, application of law in deciding cases considered in the article were not equitable. While certain statutes are useful
in some of the cases, they are inapplicable in others. This amounts to approbating and reprobating and the end result is that
judgment was given but justice was not done. Furthermore, the legal framework needs to be strengthened through legislation to bring Nigerian electoral laws and its operations to be in tandem with global best practices.

Key Words: Grounds, Election, Election Petition, Democracy, Good Governance, Justice, Dispensation of Justice.

Download