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Tribunals: INEC Should Be An Independent Party, No Longer A Respondent – SAN

According to the senior lawyer, shifting the burden of proof to INEC would cut the number of election petitions by half.


COMBO: The scene at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal and Prof Paul Ananaba (SAN)

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Prof Paul Ananaba, says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should no longer be a respondent in cases before election petitions tribunals but should be considered an independent party.

Ananaba, who was a guest on Wednesday’s edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, claimed that adding INEC as a respondent in such cases was one way to ease the burden and pressure on the judiciary to address numerous election petitions.

“In our elections, INEC should no longer be a respondent; INEC should be an independent party,” he said.

“You call INEC. They bring all the processes so that within seven days, each party will look at them and see whether there is anything to compare. We can finish our election petitions all the way to the Supreme Court within five to six weeks.”

According to the senior lawyer, shifting the burden of proof to INEC would cut the number of election petitions by half.

“I believe that we should move the onus of proof in electoral cases to INEC. That singular act will reduce election petitions by 50 percent,” he said.

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The legal don stated that the respondent must bring an INEC personnel and swear an affidavit or a witness statement within 21 days if the respondent would want INEC to appear and provide testimony in any phase of the electoral tribunal process.

“[What this means is] INEC conducts the election, and after the election, it is the man who lost that will now go to the tribunal, and from the decisions you are seeing now, everything he would do must be within 21 days in Nigeria,” he said.