From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Court of Appeal has commenced measures that would enhance quick dispensation of electoral disputes that may trail outcome of the 2023 general elections.
One of the measures is the proposed Electoral Judicial Manual which would enhance transparency in the dispensation of justice and improve the credibility and integrity of the electoral process.
Already, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, has inaugurated members of the Judicial Electoral Manual Committee (EJMC) in Abuja.
Performing the inauguration, Justice Dongban-Mensem disclosed that the objective of the EJM is “to provide a quick reference material for all strata of Judges and all persons involved in the electoral adjudicatory. Our aspiration is that the manual will be a guide on frequently litigated electoral issues so that conflicting decisions can be drastically reduced if not totally eliminated.
She noted that “in the past, the manual was titled Manual for Election Petition Tribunals which gives it a restrictive connotation thereby limiting its usage and discouraging other electoral stake holders from accessing and utilising its rich contents. The Electoral Judicial Manual is thus a vital quick reference guide and reference material for all levels of Judges in the discharge of their duties in the election year.”
Justice Dongban-Mensem disclosed that members of the Committee were carefully selected having regards to their experience and expertise not only in electoral matters but also in general judicial administration.
She charged them to consider the extant decisions of the courts and tribunals in the light of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the recommendations of electoral observers including partners and other critical stakeholders. This, she said, would ensure good collaboration, coherence and consistency in the electoral process.
The committee’s terms of reference includes comprehensively review and amendment where necessary of the third edition of the Manual for Election Petition Tribunals in light of the recent amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022 and decisions of the Courts;
“Critically examine all the observations and reports made at the last General Elections of 2019 especially as proffered by International Federation for Electoral System (IFES) in its document titled “EPT Review Survey Key Findings (August 2020)” and the vital observations of the European Union (EU) as expressed in the European Union Election Follow-up Mission Nigeria 2022 Final Report and to produce the 1st Edition of the Electoral Judicial Manual.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, the chairman, Justice Ignatius Igwe Agube, of the Court of Appeal, appreciated the President of the Court of Appeal for the confidence that has been put in them while assuring that by the grace of God they would discharge their duties to His Glory and the glory of Nigeria.
He thus craved the indulgence the members of the committee to put heads together and do the best they can to execute a lasting legacy on the Electoral Process in Nigeria.