‘INEC taken to court 680 times over 2015 polls’
Yakubu laments conflicting verdicts on PDP crisis
Conducting elections in the country comes with so much trouble of litigations. Political parties and their members have their share of this. But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has more .
The INEC’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, underscored this when he declared that the electoral body had been taken to court 680 times by litigants over the last general elections.
Yakubu also disclosed that the leadership crisis plaguing the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was difficult to resolve.
Speaking at the weekend during a visit to The Guardian’s corporate headquarters, Rutam House, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos, Yakubu said that of the 680 court cases, 600 were dismissed while 80 were upheld.
According to him, the commission has commenced rerun elections in the 80 constituencies affected. “Litigation is another major challenge we are facing in this commission. We had 680 litigations out of which 600 were dismissed, with 80 appealed in the last general elections,” he stated.
The INEC chairman, who also revealed that the commission has conducted 11 out of 14 by-elections, noted that the challenges were enormous, given the number of elections the body was compelled to conduct within the shortest possible time.
For instance, he said, 137 elections were conducted in the past eight months. According to him, it was the highest number conducted by the commission aside from the general elections.
Yakubu said some of the verdicts from the courts were not easy to handle. “A bigger challenge is the leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Within a period of three months alone, INEC was served with 11 judgments and orders from coordinate courts, and most of them contradictory.”
The INEC boss added that within three days last week, there were no less than four court rulings and orders on recognising one faction or another as well as on endorsing the Port Harcourt convention or not.
Yakubu, who said INEC was banking on the stability of the judiciary to forge ahead, promised that the commission would not disobey any court order.
“My mission is to consolidate on the gains of 2015 and not to begin a new thing; we are here for consolidation, not to throw away the baby and the bath water,” he said of his task at INEC.
According to him, emphasis is on building an institution to ensure that elections do not revolve around the INEC chairman as well as to ensure that “every ballot counts, where every polling unit counts and where every ward counts.”
To him, the conduct of elections in Nigeria has become better, though INEC is yet to achieve its desired target.