The Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS) believes the process of dealing with complaints and resolving election disputes is critical to the survival of any democracy particularly an emerging one like Nigeria. HURILAWS believes that in addition to observing/monitoring the voting process, attention must also be paid to the process of managing post-election conflicts.
The Nigerian Judiciary is empowered by the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended) to determine all post-election disputes across the states in Nigeria. Sadly, the Judiciary is weak largely because it is not independent. The Judiciary is not well funded and so judicial officers are poorly paid and operate under extremely terrible conditions. This explains the low quality of justice delivery; distractions and allegations of corruption in the system.
HURILAWS conducted a civic education prior to the 1999 elections in Nigeria. As part of the transition monitoring group (TMG), we also took part in the monitoring actual elections. In 2002, HURILAWS produced a manual on “Managing Election Conflicts in Nigeria”. The manual was used as a resource tool to train at the provincial level, the Catholic Church monitors in Benue, Anambra and Enugu.
HURILAWS over the years has built an advocacy around the need for reforms in the election conflict management processes and institutions. HURILAWS with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) monitored the post elections petitions process from the year 2015 till date and have identified challenges with the laws and processes.
HURILAWS has drafted Election Petition Rules, which it has presented to the senate committee on INEC, the senate president and the president of the court of Appeal. Consultations were made on the recommendations, principal among which is the provision granting the president of the court of peal powers to draft the election petition rules.
HURILAWS intends to ensure that challenges identified are addressed by these amendments. HURILAWS objective is to strengthen and engender confidence in Nigeria’s judicial system through monitoring and advocacy.