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2015: Lawyers Want Section 285 Amended To Remove Time-limit On Election Petitions


News » Politics
Nigeria

May.2.2014

The lawyers, who are members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, also urged the Supreme Court to subject the provision to further interpretations that would make it fair to all.

These are part of the conclusions reached at the Alao-Aka Bashorun Annual Lecture which is part of the Law Week activities of the NBA, Ikeja branch.

The lecture, chaired by former NBA president, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), had the theme: “Electoral Justice as a panacea for peaceful transition”.

Discussants included Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN), Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), former Lagos commissioner for the environment, Muiz Banire and Mr Wahab Shittu.

The main speaker at the event, former Lagos attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Prof Yemi Osibanjo (SAN), said the restrictive time-line results in electoral injustice for the petitioner.

Osibanjo noted that Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides that election petitions must be determined within 180 days is contrary to the principles of fairness.

According to the lawyer, the enactment of the section is “a deadly virus that kills electoral justice.”

He also said a lot is involved in proving fraud in an election, including preparing evidence by fingerprint experts, mathematical calculations and charts, all of which require time to prepare.

“To do so in a state within 180 days is impossible. To do so for the whole country is a joke,” Osibanjo said.

According to him, the matter is made worse where sometimes the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) makes things even more difficult for the petitioner.

“INEC makes itself a problem for the petitioner in obtaining electoral materials. The umpire sees itself as the adversary of the petitioner.

“Section 285 must be amended so that the court can extend the time or order a retrial. The 180 days is too short” he said.

Article Credit: Leadership

Updated 5 Years ago
 

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