Court of Appeal inaugurates committees on adjudicatory process

By Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dongban Mensem has inaugurated members of the Electoral Judicial Manual Committee (EJMC).

The new initiative has the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as development partners.

The European Union (EU) and its partners Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in collaboration with International Federation for Electoral System (IFES) have also offered to sponsor the production of the Electoral Judicial Manual.

The proposed Electoral Judicial Manual airding to the President is aimed at enhancing transparency in the dispensation of justice and improvement in the credibility and integrity of the country’s electoral process.

At the inauguration in Abuja on Wednesday, Mensem who described the feat as another step forward in the anals of the Court charged the committee to provide a quick reference material for all strata of Judges and all persons involved in the electoral adjudicatory process.

The manual according to her will be a guide on frequently litigated electoral issues, saying conflicting decisions can be drastically reduced if not totally eliminated via the new move.

“I have painstakingly picked each of you from your track record of hard work. I am confident that you will do a very good job, having regards to experience and expertise not only in electoral matters but also in general judicial administration.

“As you commence this historic assignment, it is pertinent to consider the extant decisions of the Courts and Tribunals in the light of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the recommendations of electoral observers such as our partners and other critical stakeholders.

” This will ensure good collaboration, coherence and consistency in our electoral process.

“The Electoral Judicial Manual shall be a quick reference book for Judges, Justices, Lawyers and the lay persons as well.

“In the past, the manual was titled Manual for Election Petition Tribunals which gives it a restrictive connotation thereby limiting its usage and discouraging other electoral stake holders from accessing and utilizing its rich contents

“It is our conviction that when people generally understand the basic concept, the decisions of the Tribunals and the Courts will be better appreciated.

“This is why your assignment is no mean job. It is intense and will be very demanding.”

As part of it’s terms of reference, the committee is expected to among other functions review comprehensively and amend where necessary the 3rd Edition of the Manual for Election Petition Tribunals in light of the recent amendment to the Electoral Act, 2022 and decisions of the Courts, Critically examine all the observations and reports made at the last General Elections of 2019 especially as proffered by International Federation for Electoral System (IFES) in its document titled “EPT Review Survey Key Findings (August 2020)” and the vital observations of the European Union (EU) as expressed in the European Union Election Follow-up Mission Nigeria 2022.

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