Some Lagos-based lawyers on Wednesday expressed their opposition to a legislative proposal that would prevent the courts from declaring the winners of election petitions in the country.
The proposal advocated for the courts to order a rerun so that the ballot papers could be the determinant of a winner.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the lawyers said such legislation could breed chaos and lead to election petitions going on in perpetuity.
NAN reports that a former President of Nigeria had at a media briefing on April 12, made the proposal as an opinion.
Mr Adenrele Adegborioye, Senior Partner at BA LAW, said that courts could only declare for a rerun if it made a finding that no clear winner emerged from the election.
“If the proposal is allowed, it means litigants in election petition will continually go to court in perpetuity without a winner emerging from the litigation.
“Until the court declares the winner, there may be chaos and confusion in the society,” Adegborioye said.
Mr Bayo Akinlade, former Chairman Nigeria Bar Association, Ikorodu Branch, said “it is an interesting argument but it’s neither here nor there.
“The court simply interprets what the law demands, as regards the voting process and procedures.
“If a court declares a winner, it is merely declaring the legal outcome of a voting process”.
According to Mr Chris Ayiyi, Principal Partner, Ayiyi Chambers, Apapa, the cost of organising an election is high, therefore, if a court declares a winner in an election petition, it will reduce cost.
“There is a time frame for a court to conclude processes in election petitions; therefore, this proposal cannot hold.
“However, we have some judgments of courts that ordered for rerun and judgments that declared an outright winner in an election.
“Let the law continue as it were,” Ayiyi said. (NAN)