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Olanipekun tells NASS to strip INEC power to review election results

 

The Chairman of the Body of Benchers, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has asked the National Assembly to remove the powers given to chief returning officers to review their decisions after returning winners in elections.


The power which is stated in the section 65 of the Electoral Act.


He said the power to do and undo granted a returning officer and by extension, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was very dangerous to the electoral system.


“To me, it is a very dangerous section, so novel in the sense that, here you have a section that empowers a returning officer after returning to review his decision within a period of seven days.


“The returning officer is not a court of law; not a tribunal; not vested with jurisdiction to exercise quasi-decision or to assume jurisdiction over any matter that is judicial in nature,” he said.


Olanipekun spoke when he paid a courtesy visit on the Ekiti State governor, Biodun Oyebanji, in his office in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday.


He pointed out that he was not aware of any similar section in previous electoral acts or the electoral act of any country in the world.


“The Chief Returning Officer is the chairman of INEC, meaning he can return someone as president today, and when there are agitations here and there tomorrow, he may withdraw his decision and return somebody else.”


The former Nigerian Bar Association president urged the National Assembly to remove the proviso and called on all stakeholders, particularly the political parties to “shine their eyes” by monitoring INEC and returning officers.


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