To court, that is.
Buhari, Atiku and Olapade Agoro (all presidential candidates that lost to Yar'Adua in the election) have approached the Court of Appeals in an attempt to review materials used by INEC to conduct the election.
The cases were presented by each individual separately and each is based on Section 239 of the Constitution which grants the Court of Appeals jurisdiction over any issue as to whether "[a]ny person has been validly elected to the office of President or Vice President..."
The Vanguard newspaper reports that the men seek to inspect "all the ballot boxes and papers used on the election day; various result sheets entered by party agents, INEC’s returning officers, tabulation and collation sheets used before announcing the results among other things".
This action is seen as an attempt to get the necessary information and evidence that the plaintiffs will then present at a tribunal challenging the presidential elections. Buhari, Atiku, Agoro and all other possible challengers might get further ammunition duirectly from INEC. It appears an INEC official informed ThisDay newspaper about polling irregularities during the state elections. According to ThisDay, INEC has categorized Sokoto state as having the highest number of electoral malpractices. It is followed by Gombe, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Katsina and Kano States. In fact, INEC will be prosecuting the governor of Ondo State for 'hijacking' the ballots.
Assuming INEC is setting precedent and that it will be consistent, challengers of the presidential election will probably get additional information regarding presidential election malpractices to use in their case at the tribunal.
No one assumes that the results of the election will be overturned on account of the tribunals ruling, however, it is the process that counts. The court cases, the tribunal to review the presidential election, INEC's review of election malfeasance and all the many actions that result will set an example on how to review elections in Nigeria and hopefully contribute to a sense that people can and will be held accountable for malpractices against the Nigerian people and their right to vote. Maybe that might help ensure less election magomago (i.e. rigging) in the future. Well, one can hope anyway.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
To court, that is.