A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, J.S Okutepa, has criticized the electoral system in Nigeria. Reacting to a statement credited to the former INEC Boss Prof. Attahiru Jega, Okutepa, SAN noted that Nigeria’s electoral umpire has never done anything different nor it is truly independent in the discharge of its statutory duties.
He expressed that INEC under Jega introduced several Principles used in undermining the electoral process stating that most of the lawyers employed by INEC put more spanners on electoral justice.
The statement reads in part, not too long ago Prof Attahiru Jega former INEC boss said that: When lawyers used technicalities to subvert justice and ‘win’ cases without regard to the perpetuation of injustices, they basically helped to undermine, rather than enhance national development, peaceful coexistence, and security.
“They discard ethical and professional conduct and put parochial and/or self-serving objectives in the forefront of their practices.”
Okutepa, SAN said while he completely agreed with the view of Prof. Jega as expressed above, he believes that the major problem of Nigerian electoral injustice in Nigeria is INEC.
“First INEC is just INEC by name and never independent in truth and in action. In all electoral malfeasance in Nigeria, INEC has not come clean and distancing itself from it”
He further expressed that in all cases, INEC, whose duty and credibility is undermined by political thuggery and thuggish approaches in elections, usually engage lawyers to defend it.
“In most cases, the lawyers engaged by INEC acting at the instance and instruction of INEC put more spanners in the wheel of electoral justice than anyone else. All these happened when Prof Jega was INEC boss. Most electoral principles that put roadblocks to electoral justice in Nigeria came during the regime of Prof Jega as INEC boss”
Stating further that while he does agree with Prof Jega that there is palpable electoral injustice in Nigeria, the foundations for these injustices are usually laid by INEC and its agents. Expressing that INEC must be bold to call spade a spade and stop wasting public funds to defend electoral frauds in Tribunals or courts.