‘Strengthening the Election Petition Process in Nigeria through Electoral and Constitutional Reform

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.  This has become very important in view of the glaring desperation of politicians across political parties in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Judiciary is empowered by the Electoral Act 2010 to determine all post-election disputes across 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.

Between 2000 and 2016 over 73 judicial officers have been reprimanded or sanctioned by its disciplinary body, the National Judicial Council.  In 
October 2016, agents of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) raided the homes of 7 judicial officers (including 2 Supreme Courts Justices) suspected to have been involved in corruption. 

This project seeks to sustain HURILAWS advocacy on the need for reforms in the election conflict management processes and institutions. HURILAWS with support from the National Endowment for Democracy monitored the post 2015 and 2016 election petitions process and identified challenges with the laws and processes. Nigeria’s National Assembly has indicated interest in amending the Electoral Act and Constitution.  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. 

Dear Senate President,


As you are well aware, the 2018 Appropriation Bill has been laid before the National Assembly by the President and discussions are ongoing on the estimates. Sections 81 to 84 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) set out the procedure for preparing the Appropriation Bill.

The Constitution requests each arm of government (the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary) to lay before the National Assembly its estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year after which it is appropriated, harmonized as a bill and presented to the President for his assent.

Unfortunately, the Executive has failed to comply with this procedure by laying before the National Assembly estimates of revenues and expenditure for the Judiciary. This is inspite of a subsisting Federal High Court decision in OLISA AGBAKOBA VS. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & OTHERS SUIT No. FHC/ABJ/CS/63/2013 that has declared this practice unconstitutional.
We suggest that the National Assembly draw the attention of the Executive to the decision of the Federal High Court. The National Assembly should request the National Judicial Council to lay before it the Judiciary’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for 2018 and the Executive be made to represent its estimates for 2018.

In summary, the constitutional procedure for preparing the appropriation bill is that each arm of government (the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary) lays before the National Assembly its estimates of revenue and expenditure for each financial year after which it is appropriated, harmonized as a bill and presented to the President for his assent.

We are unaware if the National Assembly has laid it budget estimates. But please note that if after 7 days the constitutional procedure is not complied with, we shall have no choice but to initiate legal proceedings to enforce the decision of the Federal High Court and set aside the 2018 Appropriation Bill.

Please accept assurances of my regard.


Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN

2018 Appropriation Bill Unconstitutional, Agbakoba Writes N’Assembly: See the Newspapers links













HURILAWS/Onevoice Media Parley; November, 2017 with support from NED


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