ELECTORAL REFORM

HURILAWS conducted civic education prior to the 1999 elections in Nigeria, as part of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG). We also took part in monitoring the actual elections. In March 2001, a Model Electoral Law for Nigeria was published by HURILAWS and submitted to the National Assembly. The model was based on the Electoral Bill submitted by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] to the National Assembly for passage into law. A public hearing was held to discuss the bill. Again in 2003, we reviewed the Model Electoral Bill and made amendments, which was then resubmitted to the National Assembly.


In 2002, HURILAWS produced a Manual on Managing Election Conflicts in Nigeria. It was later reviewed in 2003 with support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USA. This Manual was used as a resource tool to train at the provincial level, the Catholic Church election monitors in Benue, Anambra and Enugu states. Transition Monitoring Group & United Nations Electoral Assistance Division, also supported this project.


HURILAWS observed and through its Senior Counsel, participated in the election petition tribunals and suits in several states in 1999, 2003 and 2007 respectively. As a result of its observation made several publications to aid easier understanding of the electoral process by simplifying the electoral law for the common man and producing a manual on election petitions for the legal community. One of the outcomes of HURILAWS observation of the 2007 election litigation is the “The Judicial Application of Election and Court Practice Directions 2007 (A Diagnostic Analysis of Select Decisions of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and Practical Assessment of the Practice Directions)”


HURILAWS was a member of the Civil Society Engagement Secretariat for the National Political Reforms Conference and made significant contributions on electoral reforms to the Conference. It was incorporated into the Senate President’s expert think tank on electoral reforms. A body charged with making recommendations to the Senate President on electoral reforms.


HURILAWS has drafted Election Petition Rules, which it has presented to the President of the Court of Appeal. Consultations are still on going on the recommendations, principal among which is the provision granting the President of the Court of Appeal the powers to draft the election petition rules. Some of HURILAWS recommendations have now been incorporated in the Election Petition Practice Direction 2007.

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