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HomePoliticsCourt Slams INEC for Irresponsible Conduct in 2023 Election

Court Slams INEC for Irresponsible Conduct in 2023 Election

The Court of Appeal in Abuja slammed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday, accusing it of favoritism in election matters.

The court found it embarrassing that INEC could support a party in an election dispute by denying documents it had issued and certified. The court criticized INEC for not staying neutral in election disputes, comparing it to dancing naked in the market despite its duty to be impartial.

The court reminded INEC of its role as a fair referee between parties in an election and urged it to stop behaving irresponsibly. It emphasized that INEC’s duty to conduct elections directly affects the country’s peace and well-being.

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During the judgment on a Bauchi State House of Assembly election appeal, Justice K. I. Amadi, delivering the lead judgment, said INEC should limit its role in election disputes to presenting all election documents and explaining their use and origin.

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The court, in a unanimous decision, nullified the election of Abubakar Suleiman, the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, declaring it inconclusive. The court also voided the Certificate of Return issued to Suleiman and instructed INEC to organize a supplementary poll in 10 polling units within 90 days. The court imposed a cost of N500,000 against INEC.

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The ruling came from an appeal by Khalid Abdulmalik-Ningi, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, dissatisfied with the victory of Abubakar Suleiman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

INEC had declared Suleiman the winner with 16,866 votes, defeating Abdulmalik-Ningi of the APC with 15,065 votes. The APC candidate filed a petition, claiming nullification of the results due to over-voting or corrupt practices.

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The appellate court criticized INEC for denying over-voting despite the appellant presenting witnesses and certified copies of INEC documents. The court emphasized that the certified INEC documents were enough to prove the election’s non-compliance with legal provisions.

The court questioned INEC’s denial of result cancellations in certain polling units when its officials had acknowledged them in signed Forms EC 40G.

It asserted that the tribunal had the authority to assign value to the INEC documents, which contained necessary information to show the alleged non-compliance…[CONTINUE READING HERE]>>

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