Law News
Lawyers Hail Kenya Supreme Court’s Speedy disposal of Election Petition

Lawyers have expressed satisfaction with the verdict of the Kenyan Supreme Court nullifying the August 8 presidential election which returned President Uhuru Kenyatta, describing it as a victory for democracy and rule of law in Africa

The lawyers also hailed the expeditious conclusion of the case as a lesson for Nigeria and other African countries.

Constitutional lawyer, Sebastine Hon (SAN) described the nullification of the August election in Kenya which returned President Uhuru Kenyatta as a victory for democracy and rule of law in Africa.

In a statement yesterday, Hon said the ruling which upheld the petition of opposition leader Raila Odinga, showed that “Africans are beginning to think out of the box now.”

Lagos-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr. Biodun Layonu, said there is need for Nigeria to change its law of evidence as regards electoral petition if the country is to emulate the efficiency recorded in Kenya.

“To satisfy the provisions and procedures provided by the law, especially when anybody is seeking to annul a presidential or even governorship election is not easy. Thus, it is not possible to achieve this Kenya’s feat with the present procedures provided by our law.

“Another problem is when the petition against the election is not based on the law, when it is not bordered around aspects of law like qualification which is direct and easy to prove. When the election is being challenged on the basis of rigging, it is impossible with the present procedures we have.

“With the present procedure, you will have to go polling unit by polling unit to prove your point. Unless we change our electoral law and the kind of evidence required to prove the point, we cannot achieve that.

“It is not so much of the electoral law itself but the law of evidence and the procedure because evidence too in a way is both substantive and procedural. But it is more of the procedural part of it that ought to be changed,” he said.

He added that another thing that should be changed is the general procedure of the court itself because “in our current system, for example when you file a process, it takes certain number of days for the other party to respond. When the present law provides for days for response, we can’t have judgment in three weeks as with the case in Kenya.”

Also speaking, Abuja-based lawyer, Nureni Sulyman said our political culture and legal system are more sophisticated than that of Kenya. “When you look at the rigour involved in the election process in Nigeria, you can’t compare that with what they have in Kenya,” he said.

He said this complex process in Nigeria makes it slow and cumbersome when the results are challenged in court. He said this notwithstanding, the country, its jurists, advocates and political actors have to take a hint from Kenya.

 Clement A. Oloyede
The Nation News

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