#Legal Sense

Election matters

By Funmilayo Olagunju

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the electoral body which oversees election in Nigeria. The result collated and announced by INEC is the valid verdict of an election unless it is set aside in an election petition tribunal.

For a Presidential candidate to be declared a winner, majority vote is not enough. She/he must have at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in two-thirds (24 out of 36) of the States.

If no candidate meets the criteria, a run-off will be conducted within 21 days. Only two candidates – the one with the highest number of votes and the candidate with 25 percent votes in more states – will participate in the run-off election.

It is not every grievance or complaint arising from election that constitutes a valid ground for challenging an election. By virtue of Section 134 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022, the only grounds upon which an election may be challenged are that:

a. The person returned as elected was at the time of the election, not qualified to contest;

b. the election was invalid by reason of corrupt practices or non-compliance with the Electoral Act; and

C. the winner was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election.

It is only persons or Political parties that participated in an election that are eligible to challenge the outcome of the election in a petition tribunal. The rationale is to deter endless petitions from countless people that are aggrieved from the outcome of election.

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The best any electorate can offer his/her preferred candidate is a valid vote. Citizens are enjoyed to prioritize the interest of the Nation above personal sentiments and give room for peace and order.

“Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor”

I Peter 2:17

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Election matters

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