Avoiding the pitfalls of Pre-Election Matters

Amali, Mohammed ; Aaron, Doris (2020)


The impact of pre-election matters in the democratic process in Nigeria cannot be ignored considering the fact that it has distorted the electioneering process in Nigeria in many instances. Pre-election matters usually lead to a flurry of litigation that has a significant impact on internal party democracies that can in turn impact significantly on the general elections and subsequently, governance. The timely and speedy dispensation of these matters is therefore necessary in order to have a seamless and less chaotic electioneering process in Nigeria. This paper critically examines the legal framework regulating elections and election-related issues in Nigeria and finds that notwithstanding the State High Courts/Federal High Court's jurisdiction over pre-election matters, there would be ease and clarity of practice if the Electoral Act and/or the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) were explicit in stating the exact courts seized of pre-election matters. A case is also made for pre-election matters to have a specially constituted Court as it is the case with the Election Petition Tribunals in order to avoid the scenario where the subject matter of contention may be spent before the reliefs sought are granted.