The appeal court criticizes INEC, accusing it of partisanship and admonishes it to cease engaging in activities that resemble dancing naked in the market.


The Court of Appeal in Abuja strongly criticized the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), accusing it of displaying partisanship. On November 24, the appellate court reprimanded the Commission for favoring a party in an election dispute by disavowing documents it had issued and duly certified. The court expressed dismay that INEC, meant to maintain a neutral stance in election litigations, continued to “dance naked in the market.”

The court emphasized that INEC, as an institution, should adhere to its role as an unbiased umpire between parties, urging it to stop behaving irresponsibly. The court stated that INEC’s duty to conduct elections directly impacts the peace and well-being of the country.

In a Bauchi State House of Assembly election appeal, the court, through a unanimous decision led by Justice K. I. Amadi, nullified the election of the Speaker, Abubakar Suleiman, citing evidence that the election was inconclusive. The court directed INEC to conduct a supplementary poll in 10 polling units within 90 days and voided the Certificate of Return issued to Suleiman, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Additionally, the court imposed a cost of N500,000 against INEC.

The appeal was brought by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Khalid Abdulmalik-Ningi, dissatisfied with the outcome of the election. The court faulted the tribunal’s decision and highlighted that the appellant provided nine witnesses and tendered certified copies of INEC documents to support the claim of irregularities.

The court criticized INEC for denying over-voting allegations while failing to produce any witness before the tribunal. It noted that certified INEC documents were sufficient evidence under Section 137 of the Electoral Act 2022 to sustain the allegation that the election did not comply with legal provisions. The court questioned why INEC denied the cancellation of results in some polling units, despite its officials confirming the same in Forms EC 40G submitted to the commission.

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