The political atmosphere in Nigeria can be quite intense, particularly during the period leading up to elections. The Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections were no exception, as they generated a lot of controversy and dispute.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which controlled seven state governments, filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the conduct and collation of the elections. However, the PDP-controlled states have now withdrawn the lawsuit.
The Notice of Discontinuance was signed by Mr. Mike Ozekhome SAN, the lawyer representing the PDP-controlled states. The Notice stated that the plaintiffs were discontinuing the suit against the defendant. The suit had previously been taken to the Supreme Court, and the plaintiffs were seeking a holistic review of all results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The plaintiffs alleged that the collation and announcement of the election results did not follow the guidelines and provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022, and the INEC Manual for Election Officials. The PDP-controlled states that filed the lawsuit were Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, and Sokoto State.
The Attorney General of the Federation was the sole respondent in the lawsuit. The case was brought pursuant to various sections of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2022. The plaintiffs alleged that the collation of the national election results for the 2023 elections had not been carried out in compliance with the mandatory provisions of relevant sections of the Electoral Act, 2022.
It is noteworthy that Nigeria has a history of disputed elections and allegations of irregularities. The conduct of the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections was no exception, as there were reports of violence, voter intimidation, and ballot box snatching. The allegations of non-compliance with the guidelines and provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, only added to the controversy surrounding the elections.
The withdrawal of the lawsuit by the PDP-controlled states may be seen as a significant development. It suggests that the states may have reached some sort of agreement with the federal government or INEC, or that they may have come to the conclusion that pursuing the lawsuit was not in their best interest.
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