Issues in Election Petition Adjudication in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic: A Sociological Critique of the Role of the Judiciary (Published)
The Nigerian judiciary has often come under severe criticisms for its handling – or mishandling – of election petition cases. In particular, judges have been accused of deliberate tardiness leading to unnecessary delays, conspiracy to frustrate litigants, corruption (including allegedly selling judgments to the highest bidder), undue politicization of the cases and downright travesty of justice, etc. This paper attempts to identify, dissect and interrogate the salient issues, challenges and controversies that are associated with and often punctuate election petition adjudication, even prior to but especially since 1999. The paper contends that individually and severally the issues constitute a huge impediment to the quest for justice by aggrieved persons and for democratic growth and consolidation. The paper cites numerous instances and episodes, including views, commentaries and perspectives of scholars and experts on the issues, as well as recommends steps to be taken by individuals, groups, institutions and government toward addressing the problems.