n Politeia - Courts’ involvement in the electoral process and their impact on improving election quality in Nigeria

Volume 38 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0256-8845



This study provides evidence of the increasing cases of post-election petitions and substantial court determinations of election outcomes in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Since 1999, Nigeria has organised four cycles of national elections. Each of the elections was contested either in or out of court (in the latter case, for example, in the form of election violence). The courts, for their part, have been required to decide some 2 596 post-election petitions, which have continued to increase in every election year. This raises an important question as to whether the frequent court involvement has had a significant impact on election quality: What is the implication of the increase in election contestations in court for the independence of the judiciary, given the allegations of judicial politicisation? The study concludes that the courts’ involvement in electoral processes has not significantly influenced conformance with the electoral laws; instead, the judiciary has become politicised, while some court decisions have interfered with the powers of the electoral management bodies tasked with ensuring that the conducting of elections is free and fair.

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