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611 petitions filed on 2015 general election – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission says a total of 611 petitions are currently before the various election petition tribunals set up after the 2015 general election.

The commission said the number was less than half of the 1,290 petitions filed after the 2007 polls.

The acting National Chairman of INEC, Hajia Amina Zakari, disclosed this at the public presentation of the INEC 2015 General Election Report in Abuja on Wednesday.

Zakari said: “According to available statistics, the number of election petitions after the 2007 general elections stood at a whooping 1,290; after the 2011 general elections, the number came down by almost half, with a total of 732 election petitions filed.

“Following the 2015 general elections, the number of petitions further scaled down to 611.

“It is therefore expected that the incidence of nullified elections will be correspondingly low.”

Zakari said the 2015 general election was by no means exhaustive, as there were still unfolding developments at the tribunals.

She said: “It is to be noted, however, that election tribunals are part and parcel of the election process.

“By the time the tribunals are done with their processes on the 2015 general elections, it is most likely that some outcomes and data on the polls as in this report might slightly alter.

“But nothing will by no means distract from the overall verdict of Nigerians and the international community on the 2015 polls.”

Zakari said the 2015 general election had given the commission further insight on challenges of the Nigerian electoral process.

“We would therefore approach the forthcoming Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections from the perspective of lessons learnt in the 2015 polls,” she said.

Zakari urged stakeholders to approach future polls with renewed vigour and apply new skills to improve on the standard attained in 2015.

John Irem, the Secretary of the Report Committee, said the document contained reports on the commission’s preparation for the elections, voting process, challenges and solutions.

“Chapter nine covers the general election lessons and challenges and the commission’s responses to them, the place of e-voting in future polls as well as the way forward and future reforms,” Irem said.

In his remark, the UNDP Country Representative, Opia Kumah, said the outcome of the 2015 general election was a result of concerted efforts of INEC and other stakeholders towards improving the electoral system.

Kumah expressed the hope that the high standard recorded during election would be sustained and consolidated for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Also in his remark, the IFES Country Representative, Shehver Kipshidze, commended INEC for the report and expressed the hope that it would be used to improve future elections.

Kipshidze said IFES would continue to work with INEC on its future projects, including the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

Prof. Abubakar Momoh, the Director-General of INEC Electoral Institute, urged stakeholders to partner with the commission in translating the report to different major Nigerian languages, to enhance access.

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