A pro-democracy group, Kwara Must Change, has expressed concern over the huge cost of pre-election litigations and their implications on the electoral process and democratic growth in the country.
The group said, while following the electoral processes in 2023, particularly the pre – election matters across political parties in the state, it observed that pre-election litigation in the state cost about N500m.
While reacting to the general outcome of 2023 election, especially the effect on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the convener of Kwara Must Change, Abdulrazaq Hamzat explained that, pre-election litigation, either within same party, or across party line, some of which went as far as the supreme court were prosecuted at huge cost, which is mostly not factored into election cost in Nigeria.
Hamzat noted that several pre-election litigations arising from intra and inter party conflicts had significant impact on the general outcome of the 2023 election and are prosecuted at huge cost.
“INEC had explained that the commission was confronted with over 1000 pre election litigations ahead of 2023 election and this had significant effect on their planning and administrative processes, which ultimately affect the outcome of the election,” he added.
Hamzat maintained that, the unnecessary dragging of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) into pre-election litigation issues has continued to hinder the commission from paying undivided attention to other more important issues of election management and planning, noting that the commission also incurred so many unnecessary cost on litigations it has very little or no say at all.
“Kwara Must Change hold the view that, political parties and their members should stop dragging INEC into intra party affairs, especially intra party affairs that ended up in court.
“Dragging INEC into so many unnecessary intra party litigations affect general improvement of our electoral processes, as the commission struggles with meeting its legal obligation, financial obligations and administrative obligations.
“We must help the electoral body in its quest to improve our electoral experience. Dragging INEC into internal party affairs is over stretching the commission beyond its limit, which ultimately affects the general conduct of the election,” he added.