Rising Incidence of Post-Electoral Dispute in Nigeria: Implications for its Democracy
Keywords:Democracy, Election, Election Petitions, Election Petition Tribunals, Electoral Process
Since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, the country has continued to witness high rates of election petitions filed at election petitions tribunals across the country after each election period, in a bid to resolve electoral disputes. All the elections the country has conducted - 2003, 2011, 2015 as well as the most recent 2019 general elections, have produced large numbers of post-election petitions. In the opinion of this study, the major factor responsible for this unfavorable situation is the weakness of the country’s electoral process and institutions, which persistently paves the way for massive irregularities that render elections results incredible and unacceptable, thereby leading to disputes and filing of petitions at tribunals by aggrieved candidates and their political parties. The study argues that the prevailing high incidence of election petitions being witnessed in Nigeria in the Fourth Republic is unwholesome and inimical to the country’s democratic practice. In view of this, the study emphasizes that Nigeria needs to take urgent necessary measures to address the situation. Accordingly, the study suggests that Nigeria should strengthen her electoral process and institutions to attain highly credible, transparent, free and fair and acceptable elections in future times. This, in the views of the study, will help to reduce the spate of elections-related petitions to the barest minimum and avert the negative effects of the phenomenon on the country’s democracy. The study adopts the documentary methods of data collection and data analysis which enabled adequate achievement of the objective of the study.
Abdulmalik, A. (2015, December 31). Appeal Court sacks Abia Giovernor, Okezie Ikpeazu, declares APGA’s Alex Otti winner. Premium Times. Retrieved from https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/196010-appeal-court-sacks-abia-governor-okezie-ikpeazu-declares-apgas-alex-otti-winner.html
Adebowale, S. (2015, October 20). Supreme Court affirms Ambode’s election, as governor hails judgment. The Eagle Online. Retrieved from https://theeagleonline.com.ng/supreme-court-affirms-ambodes-election-as-governor-hails-judgement/
Adesomoju, A. (2019, May 6). Tribunal to issue notice to hear Atiku’s petition this week. Punch. Retrieved from https://punchng.com/tribunal-to-issue-notice-to-hear-atikus-petition-this-week/
African Election Database, (n. d.) Elections in Nigeria. Retrieved from http://africanelections.tripod.com/ng.html
Africa Independent Television, (2019). Gombe election tribunal orders substituted service on APC, governor-elect. Retrieved from http://aitonline.tv/post-gombe_election_tribunal_orders_substituted_service_on_apc__governor_elect
Ahon, F. & Nnochiri, I. (2016, February 3). S-Court upholds Okowa’s election. Vanguard. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/02/s-court-upholds-okowas-election/
Aiyede, E. R. 2007. Electoral laws and the 2007 general elections in Nigeria. Journal of African Elections, 6(2): 33–54. DOI: https://doi.org/10.20940/JAE/2007/v6i2a3
Ajayi, K. (2006). Security Forces, Electoral Conduct and the 2003 General Elections in Nigeria. Journal of Social Sciences, 13(1), 57-66. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09718923.2006.11892531
Akasike, C. (2018, December 4). Litigation, proof of failed electoral process –Wike. Punch. Retrieved from https://punchng.com/litigation-proof-of-failed-electoral-process-wike/
Akinadewo, G. (2004, March 25). Tribunal removes Adamawa governor. The Comet, Lagos, pp. 1-2.
Akinola, A. (2015, November 4). Revisiting the historic 1959 general election. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://guardian.ng/opinion/revisiting-the-historic-1959-general-election/
Animashaun, K. (2010). Regime Character, Electoral Crisis and Prospects of Electoral Reform in Nigeria. Journal of Nigeria Studies, 1(1), 1-13.
Alao, M. (2019, March 10). Presidential election petitions: The past, the present…Nigerian Tribune. Retrieved from https://www.tribuneonlineng.com/195249/
Alli, Y. et al. (2003, April 23). Obasanjo wins second term, EU, Commonwealth disagree. The Punch, Lagos, pp. 1-2.
Al Jazeera, (February 26, 2008). Court rules Nigeria poll was valid. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2008/02/2008525133149865536.html
Benson, D., Oluwa, I., Akinrefon, D. & Ezema, J. (2009, November 5). Anambra: The judgments so far. Vanguard. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2009/11/anambra-the-judgments-so-far/
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), (2007, April 23). Huge win for Nigeria’s Yar’Adua. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6584393.stm
Cable News Network (CNN), (2011, April 4). Nigerian election pushed back a week. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/04/03/nigeria.election/index.html?eref=ft
Carson, J. (2011). The Recent Elections in Nigeria. Department of State, Bureau of African Affairs.
Channels Television, (2019, April 8). Gombe governorship election tribunal receives three petitions. Retrieved from https://www.channelstv.com/2019/04/08/gombe-governorship-election-tribunal-receives-three-petitions/
Channels Television, (2015, April 26). INEC declares Ikpeazu winner of Abia governorship election. Sahara Reporters. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2015/04/26/inec-declares-ikpeazu-winner-abia-governorship-election-channels-television
Channels Television, (2015b, October 27). Supreme Court upholds Kebbi elections in favour of Bagudu. Retrieved from https://www.channelstv.com/2015/10/27/supreme-court-upholds-kebbi-elections-in-favour-of-bagudu/
Channels Television, (2012, April 1). Dakingari wins Kebbi governorship re-run elections. Retrieved from https://www.channelstv.com/2012/04/01/dakingari-wins-kebbi-governorship-re-run-election/
Daily Trust, (2019, April 13). Benue election: APC’s Jime drags Ortom to tribunal. Retrieved from https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/benue-election-apcs-jime-drags-ortom-to-tribunal.html
Deji, O. (2019, March 8). Nigeria 2019 governorship elections: Foretelling the outcome. Sahara Reporters. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2019/03/08/nigeria-2019-governorship-elections-foretelling-outcome-omoshola-deji
El-Kurebe, A. (2012, March 6). KEBBI: How verdict changed political equation. Vanguard. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/03/kebbi-how-verdict-changed-political-equation/
El-Kurebe, A. (2011, December 29). Appeal court overturns Kebbi guber election tribunal’s judgment. Vanguard. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/12/appeal-court-overturns-kebbi-guber-election-tribunals-judgment/
European Union Election Observation Mission, (2011). Nigeria: Final Report on the 2011 General Elections. Retrieved from http://eeas.europa.eu/archives/eueom/pdf/missions/final-report-nigeria2011_en.pdf
Eze, S., Muogbo, O. & Akinwunmi, F. (2005, August 13). Tribunal removes Ngige. Saturday Tribune (Nigeria).
Federal Republic of Nigeria, (1999). 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended 2011).
Idowu, K. (2015, April 12). INEC statement on governorship and state assembly election. Sahara Reporters. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2015/04/12/inec-statement-governorship-and-state-assembly-election
Ihonvbere, J. O. (1992). The Military and Political Engineering under Structural Adjustment: The Nigerian Experience since 1985. Journal of Political and Military Sociology, 20, 107-131.
Ikhilae, E. (2017, June 3). Supreme Court upholds Gaidam’s election as Yobe governor. The Nation. Retrieved from https://thenationonlineng.net/supreme-court-upholds-gaidams-election-yobe-governor/
Independent National Electoral Commission, (2015). INEC 2015 General Election Report. Author: Abuja, Nigeria.
Isah, A. Y. (2019, March 14). Chronicling post-election disputes in Nigeria. Leadership Newspaper. Retrieved from https://leadership.ng/2019/03/14/chronicling-post-election-disputes-in-nigeria/
Isah, A. Y. (2019b, March 7). Why presidential election petitions fail (1). Leadership Newspaper. Retrieved from https://leadership.ng/2019/03/07/why-presidential-election-petitions-fail-1/
Isah, A. Y. (2019c, March 21). Why presidential election petitions fail (II). Leadership Newspaper. Retrieved from https://leadership.ng/2019/03/21/why-presidential-election-petitions-fail-ii/
JDPC, (2003). Final Report on the Observation of the 2003 General Elections in Nigeria. Lagos: Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria.
Lewis, P. M. (1993). Endgame in Nigeria: The Politics of a Failed Democratic Transition. African Affairs, 93(372), 323-340. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a098722
National Democratic Institute, (2012). Final Report on the Nigerian 2011 General Elections. Abuja: National Democratic Institute. Retrieved from https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/NDI%20Final%20Report%20on%20the%20Nigeria%202011%20Electionsnew_Part1.pdf
National Democratic Institute, (2008). Final NDI Report on Nigeria’s 2007 Elections. Abuja: National Democratic Institute. Retrieved from https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/2313_ng_report_election07_043008.pdf
Ndujihe, C. (2012, May 29). How leaders battled for office. Vanguard. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/05/how-leaders-battled-for-office/
Nigerian Bulletin, (2015, January 20). 2011 Elections Produce the Least Petitions in Nigeria. Retrieved from https://www.nigerianbulletin.com/threads/2011-elections-produce-the-least-petitions-in-nigeria-jega.106757/
Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, (2017). The 2015 General Election in Nigeria: Compendium of Petitions. Author: Abuja. Retrieved from http://www.placng.org/situation_room/sr/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Compendium-of-Election-Cases-in-Nigeria.pdf
Nigeria Legal Information Institute, (n. d.). Peter Obi v Independent National Electoral Commission & Ors (S.C. 123/2007)  NGSC 51 (13 July 2007). Retrieved from https://nigerialii.org/ng/judgment/supreme-court/2007/51 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/655170
Odesola, T. (2016, February 3). Ladoja congratulats Ajimobi over S’Court judgment. Punch. Retrieved from https://punchng.com/ladoja-congratulates-ajimobi-over-scourt-judgment/
Ojo, E. O. 2007. Nigeria's 2007 general elections and succession crisis: implications for the nascent democracy. Journal of African Elections, 6(2): 14–32. DOI: https://doi.org/10.20940/JAE/2007/v6i2a2
Ojo, E. O. (2004). The Military and Political Transition. In A. A. B. Agbaje, L. Diamond & E. Onwudiwe (Eds.), Nigeria’s Struggle for Democracy and Good Governance. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press.
Ojo, J. (n. d.). Nigeria after the 2011 General Elections. Retrieved from http://aceproject.org/today/feature-articles/nigeria-after-the-2011-general-elections/mobile_browsing/onePag
Okafor, A. (2018, July 6). Supreme Court affirms Ugwuanyi’s election as Enugu governor. Channels Television. Retrieved from https://www.channelstv.com/2018/07/06/supreme-court-affirms-ugwuanyis-election-as-enugu-governor/
Okakwu, E. (2016, February 3). Supreme Court upholds Okezie Ikpeazu’s election as Abia governor. Premium Times. Retrieved from https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/197951-breaking-supreme-court-upholds-okezie-ikpeazus-election-as-abia-governor.html
Okakwu, E. (2016b, February 3). Supreme Court upholds Udom Emmanuel’s election as Akwa Ibom governor. Premium Times. Retrieved from https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/197944-breaking-supreme-court-upholds-udom-emmanuels-election-as-akwa-ibom-governor.html
Okakwu, E. (2016c, January 15). Supreme Court affirms Ortom as Benues governor. Premium Times. Retrieved from https://www.premiumtimesng.com/regional/north-central/196793-supreme-court-affirms-samuel-ortom-as-benue-governor.html
Olaniyi, J. O. (2013). Nigerian Political Elites and Succession Crises in the Fourth Republic: A Study of the 2007 Governorship Elections. Centrepoint Journal (Humanities Edition) 6(2), 289-322.
Onuoha, B. & Fadakinte, M. M. (Eds.), (2005). Transition Politics in Nigeria. Lagos: Malthouse Press Limited.
Project 2011 Swift Count, (2011). Final Statement on the April 2011 general Elections: National Assembly, Presidential and Gubernatorial Elections, Delivered at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria, on 18th May 2011. Retrieved from https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/PSC-Final-Election-Observation-Statement-May-18.pdf
Punch, (2019, April 11). PDP’s Abba Yusuf files petition against Ganduje’s re-election. Punch. Retrieved from https://punchng.com/pdps-abba-yusuf-files-petition-against-gandujes-re-election/
Reuters, (2011, April 18). TABLE-Nigeria presidential election results. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/nigeria-elections-results-idAFLDE73G05B20110418
Ross. W. (2015, April 1). Nigeria Election: Muhammadu Buhari wins presidency. BBC News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32139858
Scan News, (2019, April 25). Gombe governorship election tribunal concludes assignment as petitioners withdraw petitions. Retrieved from https://scannewsnigeria.com/news/gombe-governorship-election-tribunal-concludes-assignment-as-petitioners-withdraw-petitions/
Sahara Reporters, (2019, March 8). JUST IN: Atiku, PDP currently filing petition challenging Buhari’s victory at Court of Appeal. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2019/03/18/just-atiku-pdp-currently-filing-petition-challenging-buharis-victory-court-appeal
Shara Reporters, (2019b, April 5).Victory for Imo governor-elect Ihedioha as Court dismisses Anyanwu’s petition. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2019/04/05/victory-imo-governor-elect-ihedioha-court-dismisses-anyanwu%E2%80%99s-petition
Sahara Reporters, (2019c, April 3). Uduaghan, Ogboru challenge Manager, Okowa as Delta election tribunal receives 51 petitions. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2019/04/03/uduaghan-ogboru-challenge-manager-okowa-delta-election-tribunal-receives-51-petitions
Sahara Reporters, (2019c, April 3). APC’s Adelabu challenges Oyo governorship election outcome at tribunal. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2019/04/03/apcs-adelabu-challenges-oyo-governorship-election-outcome-tribunal
Sahara Reporters, (2007, April 22). Rigged Polls: Yar’Adua wins with 24 million votes, Buhari 6 million, Atiku 2.4 million. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2007/04/22/rigged-polls-yaradua-wins-24-million-votes-buhari-6-million-atiku-24-million
Sahara Reporters, (2008, August 25). Updated: Tribunal sacks Ondo State governor, Olusegun Agagu, declares Mimiko winner. Retrieved from http://saharareporters.com/2008/08/25/updated-tribunal-sacks-ondo-state-governor-olusegun-agagu-declares-mimiko-winner
Smith, D. (2011, April 17). Goodluck Jonathan opens unassailable lead in Nigeria’s presidential election. The Guardian, London. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/apr/17/goodluck-jonathan-nigeria-election
Suberu, R. T. (2007a). The helter-skelter nation: a conversation with senior fellow Rotimi Suberu. Peace Watch, XILL(2): 12–13.
Suberu, R. T. (2007b). Nigeria's muddled elections. Journal of Democracy, 18(3): 95–110. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/jod.2007.a223243
The Guardian, (2015, May 4). April 11 governorship elections poorly conducted. Retrieved from https://guardian.ng/news/april-11-governorship-elections-poorly-conducted/
Toromade, S. (2019, April 17). Atiku insists he beat Buhari with 1.6m votes in 2019 election. Pulse. Retreived from https://www.pulse.ng/news/politics/atiku-insists-he-beat-buhari-with-16m-votes-in-2019-election/h9jye5d
Ugwuanyi, S. (2016, January 8). Supreme Court upholds Yari’s election as Zamfara governor. Retrieved from https://dailypost.ng/2016/01/08/supreme-court-upholds-yaris-election-as-zamfara-governor/
Vanguard, (2011, December 22). Edo 2007: Oshiomole vindicates Osunbor. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/12/edo-2007-oshiomhole-vindicates-osunbor/
Vanguard, (2010, November 26). Governorship elections: Cases of nullified elections. Retrieved from https://www.vanguardngr.com/2010/11/governorship-elections-cases-of-nullified-elections/
Yahaya, H. (2019, April 24). 2019 election petitions across Nigeria increase to 766. Premium Times. Retrieved from https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/326680-2019-election-petitions-across-nigeria-increase-to-766.html
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Perspectivas - Journal of Political Science
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors must be sure that they have permission to reproduce copyright material, prior to submitting their articles to this Journal.
Authors must secure permission if they have permission to reproduce figures, tables, or any extract from the text of another source. This applies to direct reproduction as well as to any derivative reproduction.
In assigning copyright, authors retain their right to use their own material elsewhere, provided that the Journal is acknowledged as the original place of publication, and the Editorial Team is notified in writing in advance.
Further information on copyright policy please contact firstname.lastname@example.org