Election Reflections : Inside the courts and challenging election outcomes
Litigating election disputes is contentious, complex, and excessively technical. The technicality of electoral dispute litigation is fueled by the strict requirements of the Electoral Act, coupled with judicial attitudes over the years. The complex and technical nature of election petitions is largely responsible for the failure of election tribunals and courts to address grievances of litigants despite efforts at resolving such election disputes. As expected, political attention is shifting to the courts as aggrieved candidates and political parties that contested in Nigeria’s 2023 general elections are approaching the courts to challenge the outcome of the polls and seeking legal remedies. The polling unit was the arena of electoral competition a few weeks ago, but the courts have displaced the polling units as the new arena for electoral contests. As it stands, the courts will determine the final vote in all election disputes it entertains, raising further concerns about the apparent excessive judicialization of the electoral process.