Why litigations abound after polls, says Wike
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has said that reliance on litigation to resolve electoral disputes in Nigeria has been identified as failure of the electoral process.
Wike made the declaration in a keynote address yesterday at the conference of the democratic process and electoral litigation committee of the section on legal practice of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Port Harcourt.
The governor noted that though litigation remains a powerful tool for the assertion of political rights, dependence on the legal process to resolve electoral matters was a symptomatic of the failure of the country’s electoral process.
“The electoral process is a serious matter of concern to the citizenry. I regret that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies negatively affect the electoral process. Post-election matters for redress maybe symptomatic of the prevalence of perceived grievances with the electoral process.
“The way to forestall rampant electoral litigation is not by constricting the right of access to the court as being advocated in some quarters, but rather strengthen the democratic institutions to engender transparency and respect for the rule of law in the democratic process.”He, therefore, enjoined lawyers use litigation to enhance credible electoral process.
National President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN), represented by the Secretary-General, Mr. Jonathan Tilde, said electoral litigation had come to stay as a means of resolving electoral conflicts.
Meanwhile, while Chairman of Democratic Process and Electoral Litigation Committee, Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), thanked Wike for his commitment to electoral reforms through the support for NBA programmes, the Bayelsa State Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, said the litigation could be minimised where elections are free and fair. Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Iyaye-Laminkanra, said politicians should always seek redress rather than disrupt the electoral process.