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RULES OF 36 STATE COURTS
RULES OF ALL FEDERAL COURT
JUDGMENTS OF ELECTION TRIBUNALS
ESTABLISHMENT LAW
ELECTION TRIBUNALS

Election Tribunals in Nigeria are the direct creation of Section 285 of the nation’s Constitution which provides for the establishment of the National Assembly, Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunal. The Constitution also gives original jurisdiction to the Court of Appeal over certain categories of election petitions. The Electoral Act made pursuant to the Constitution furnishes details pertaining to the establishment, membership, jurisdiction and proceedings of each Election Tribunal.

 

Election Tribunals have original jurisdiction to hear and determine petitions as to whether a person has been validly elected into non-appointive offices under the government of Nigeria at the Federal and State levels. The offices which elections are subject to the tribunals include Senators, Members of House of Representatives, Governor and Deputy Governor of each of the 36 States of the Federation, and Members of the 36 State Houses of Assembly.

 

Each Election Tribunal is established for the purposes of hearing and determining petitions as to whether any person through an undue election or return has been elected to an office/position and other related issue

 

The 1999 Constitution recognises three Election Tribunals:

1.         National and State House of Assembly Election Tribunals for disputes arising from elections into legislative offices at the federal and state levels. Appeals from its decision lie to and terminate at the Court of Appeal;

2.         Governorship Election Tribunals for disputes arising from elections into the Office of the Governor or Deputy Governor of any of the 36 States. Appeals from its decision lie to the Court of Appeal but may still extend to the Supreme Court as final judicial authority;

3.         Court of Appeal conferred with original jurisdiction to hear petitions arising from election the Office of the President and Vice President of the Republic. Appeals from here lie to and terminate at the apex court: the Supreme Court.

 

The Electoral Act, 2010 also creates an Area Council Election Tribunal for the Federal Capital Territory. The decision of the Area Council Election Tribunals on Area Council Elections is final. The Electoral Act does not create the Election Tribunals to entertain disputes arising from Local Government Council Elections in any of the 36 states in recognition of Nigeria’s federal structure. However, there are Local Government Election Tribunals established by the Law of States for this purpose.

 

Procedurally, the Election Tribunals are neither criminal nor civil Courts. Though essentially civil in nature, they are usually described as “sui generis” which means “in a class of its own.



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