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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Kano Tribunal: Of the electoral process and rule of law

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By Abdulrauf Aliyu

The verdict by the Kano governorship election tribunal, which declared Nasiru Gawuna (APC) as the governor instead of Abba Gida Gida (ANPP), underscores a persistent issue in Nigeria’s electoral process. While the courts play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law, it is becoming increasingly evident that the overturning of elections through legal battles will persist until Nigeria takes substantial steps to strengthen its election system.

Elections are the cornerstone of any functioning democracy, and they should reflect the will of the people. However, the frequency of election results being challenged in courtrooms rather than decided at the ballot box is a worrisome trend. The rights to determine their leaders should predominantly belong to the people, not the judiciary.

One fundamental issue contributing to this electoral conundrum is the inadequacy of the election process itself. Flaws in voter registration, inadequate security during polling, allegations of voter suppression, and manipulation of results have all marred the credibility of elections. As long as these issues persist, election outcomes will remain susceptible to legal challenges.

Moreover, the politicization of the judiciary further complicates the matter. Politicians often manipulate legal processes to serve their interests, casting a shadow of doubt over the impartiality of the courts. This not only erodes public trust but also undermines the legitimacy of elected officials.

To break free from this cycle, Nigeria must prioritize electoral reforms. Strengthening the election process should involve robust voter education, improved technology for voter registration and result transmission, and a commitment to ensuring that elections are free and fair. Additionally, it is imperative to create independent electoral commissions capable of conducting credible elections without political interference.

The people’s faith in their democratic system is at stake. Without a renewed commitment to transparent and accountable elections, the courtroom battles over election outcomes will persist. Nigeria’s democracy can only thrive when the people have confidence that their voices are heard and their votes truly count. It is high time for the nation to prioritize electoral reform to ensure that the people, not the courts, determine their leaders.

Abdulrauf Aliyu
An economist and Policy Analyst writes from
45 Ashiru Road, U/Dosa New Extension
Kaduna

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