2019 Elections: INEC involved in over 1600 court cases

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu
INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has disclosed that the commission is currently involved in over 1600 court cases.

These cases, he said, are from the February/March general elections.

He made this known on Thursday when he appeared at the maiden meeting of the Senate Committee on INEC.

The INEC boss interacted with members of the committee as he gave a report on the electoral commission since the last elections.

He was asked how the commission funds its litigations. In his response, Mr Yakubu said the electoral umpire makes provisions based on projections of cases while using in-house lawyers who are not adequate for the huge number of court cases.

“For instance, on the conduct of primaries by political parties alone in 2019 General Elections, we were dragged to court over 800 times.

“We have over 809 cases on pre-election matters and we have 807 cases on post-election litigations. We are looking at over 1,600 cases in court. Even yesterday, on the conduct of primaries for Bayelsa and Kogi, we have three fresh cases,” he said.

Mr Yakubu also briefed the lawmakers on INEC’s preparations for the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections scheduled to hold simultaneously in November.

He explained that the law hinders early conduct of primaries.

“The pressure is simply much and under our laws, there is no time. In the 2019 general elections, we processed over 24,000 nominations within a very short period of time.”

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Mr Yakubu dismissed claims that the electoral body has problems with funding the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

He noted that there are allocations in INEC’s budget and not the general elections budget.

On deregistration of political parties, he said that such can only be done when litigation cases have ended.

Several courts across the country have been over-flogged with election cases since the general elections were held.

Arguably the most prominent of such cases is that of the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February election.

The election tribunal ruled in favour of the president. Mr Abubakar and his party have, however, appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court.

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