The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday inaugurated a committee on Management of Election Petitions with a charge to members to enunciate measures to improve the nation’s electoral process.
Inaugurating the committee in Abuja, the acting Chairman of INEC, Hajia Amina Zakari, urged the committee members to put in their best in the discharge of their duties for the benefit of Nigerians.
Zakari expressed concern over the situation where INEC was usually joined as a respondent to election petitions and subpoenaed to testify and provide election materials to numerous election tribunals at enormous cost to the commission.
“These demands take a toll on our staff, while INEC as a commission is still expected to defend its role in the conduct of the elections.
“We have to deploy in-house and external solicitors to appear for and on behalf of the commission.
“These informed our desire to ensure better management of the various election petitions involving the commission, thus the setting of this committee,’’ she said.
Zakari said that the 13-man committee was expected to employ all modalities appropriately to achieve its terms of reference within two months.
The committee’s terms of reference according to Zakari are to monitor the on-going cases of election petitions and identify the challenges encountered by the petitioners, INEC, respondents, and the witnesses.
The committee is to also assess the cost of managing election petitions, as well as to report on the conduct of INEC staff and private legal practitioners representing the commission in petitions, among others.
She said that the committee’s report and recommendations would be subjected to wider circulation in order to fine tune and incorporate them into the commission’s processes.
Responding on behalf of the committee members, Mr Kassim Gaidam, the Chairman of the committee, said that the members would try their best to achieve the aims of setting up the committee.
Gaidam also commended the composition of the committee members, saying the choice of professionals in necessary fields would make the committee’s job simple.
While Mr Osaze Oluwole-Uzzi is to serve as the committee’s secretary, some of its members are, Abdul Mohammed, Yakubu Maikasuwa, Mrs Maryam Damisa, Mrs Ene Edwins and Mr Festus Okoye