A Legal Evaluation of Nigeria’s Electoral Jurisprudence

Victor Nonso Enebeli, David Chibuike Njoku


The practice of conducting elections in Nigerian politics dates back to Pre-Independence particularly, after the enactment of the Clifford Constitution of 1922. After Nigeria’s independence from British colonial rule in 1960, the Nation prides herself as a democratic Nation regardless of the 13 years of military interference. This, she tends to demonstrate by conducting periodic Elections every four years to select leaders. This exercise is made possible by virtue of the existence of some legal frameworks which set Electoral modalities and guidelines for effective electioneering. Some of these laws as will be expansively discussed in chapter three of this research established INEC and empowered it to function as the main Electoral Umpire; and also, at most one independent Electoral Commission in each state of the Federation. These laws laid down rules and regulations guiding the activities of these Electoral Bodies and candidates prior, during and after the Elections. The 1999 Constitution for instance recognizes the existence of INEC and its functions, saddled it with some responsibilities and made provisions for qualifications, disqualification and tenures of candidates. It suffices to say that the coffers of the Nation is seriously affected each time Election is to be conducted given that the exercise is capital intensive. In spite of the money spent, the deafening echoes of unfree, unfair and incredible Election keep reverberating throughout the nooks and crannies of the country. There have been allegations that most, if not all of Nigerian Electoral experience is characterized by broad day light rigging, favoritism, ethnicity complicity by Electoral Umpire, thuggery, intimidation using State and non-state actors. What this ultimately show is sheer non-compliance with these laws. In any case, it is believed, that is the reason our courts are inundated with countless Electoral Petitions. The Courts have never failed in their roles of shaping the Nigerian democractic and political landscape, using judicial powers and pronouncements, especially where there exist an area not covered by law. Conclusively, this research recommends the implementation of the 2008 Uwais Electoral Reform Committee Report.

Keywords: Legal, Election, Jurisprudence, Nigeria

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/118-01

Publication date: February 28th 2022

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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