We hereby convey the outcome of the legal clinic with members of civil society
organizations and legal practitioners on the above subject matter.
2. The legal clinic which was conducted on the 30th day of December, 2015, considered
Certain uncontroverted facts in public domain, to wit:
· a. The two leading candidates of the Bayelsa elections are H.E. Seriake Dickson of PDP
and H.E.Timipre Sylva of APC.
b. Both candidates, through their representatives, publicly disputed the results from local
government areas in which they allegedly lost based on their respective records.
c. INEC, notwithstanding the disputes declared winners in 7 out of the eight local
government areas of Bayelsa State.
d. INEC declared the election inconclusive because it agrees with PDP and a group of
observers that the election in Southern Ijaw LGA was marred by electoral
e. APC and a group of observers disputed the allegation of vitiating electoral
malpractices in Southern Ijaw LGA.
f. PDP has been defending INEC officials in the Bayelsa Election.
g. The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Bayelsa allegedly issued a press release
claiming he he was offered money to rig the election and that his life was under threat.
h. The party who offered the REC money is unknown except by speculation.
1. Notwithstanding a plethora of petitions, allegations and counter-allegations of
electoral malpractices in which INEC officials have been cited, INEC leadership is
yet to uphold the neutrality contained in its enabling statute by redeploying politically I '
exposed officials and detailing neutral officials forth supplementary elections.
J. Supplementary election will be held in Southern Ijaw LGA on the 9th of January,
k. Whilst Electoral Act does not confer locus standi on voters in election
tribunal, the right to vote and be voted for is now under threat due to INEC's
inability to demonstrate commitment to neutrality.
3. When we juxtapose the foregoing facts with section 28 of the electoral Act 2010, we must of
necessity demand a reasonable degree of legal rectitude from INEC. For ease of reference,
S. 28 reads:
(1) All staff appointed by the Commission taking part in the
conduct of an election shall affirm or swear before the High
Court an Oath of neutrality as in the Second Schedule to this Act.
(2) All Electoral Officers, Presiding Officers, Returning Officers
and all staff appointed by the Commission taking part in the
conduct of an election shall affirm or swear an oath of loyalty and
neutrality indicating that they would not accept bribe or
gratification from any person, and shall perform their functions
and duties impartially and in the interest of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria without fear or favor.
4. Based on admitted facts above, the neutrality of INEC in Bayelsa is legally questionable.
What are the parameters in each instance of admitting and rejecting the claim of the parties?
Can it be said that in the exercise of its discretion, INEC officials complied with Section 28
4. of the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended)? Are we supposed to embark upon a voyage of discovery in
order to ascertain the culprits cited by the REC from the outcome of the results so far and that of
January 9th, 2016? Does the controversy surrounding allegation of the REC amounts to INEC’s
descent into the arena of dispute? What is the rule when an arbiter such as INEC is publicly
challenged on its acts or omissions occasioning its decent to the arena of dispute? If the
complainants accuse one another as culprits are we not bound by rule of law to give fair hearing to
the complainants through neutral parties? Are there no neutral persons in INEC whose decisions
will not be fettered by the current encumbrances of bias, prejudice, mistrust and ill-will? Is INEC
itself conscious of the principles upon which its functions are weighed – whether in the court of
public opinion or in courts of justice? Where instruments of human rights and democracy which
flow from international comity are violated, are citizens entitled to redress through the respective
agencies of government? We have a pending case in this area at the Federal High Court Abuja
(Bamigboye Vs INEC, PDP and APC FHC/ABJ/CS/234/2015).
5. The foregoing questions point to one fundamental principle, to wit neutrality. It is settled law that:
where the same reasons exist, the same laws prevail, and of things similar, the judgment is similar.
(Ubi eadem ratio, ibi eadem lex; et de similibus idem est judicium). Applying this principle of law,
INEC must conduct its business with the same level of observable neutrality as we have in all
adjudicatory processes. A judge who has his reputation to protect does not hesitate to recuse
himself. INEC as constituted in Bayelsa can no longer apply section 28 of the Electoral Act given the
public declaration of the REC and the attendant dispute in which, as of his legal right, he is now a
proper party. The parties including the concerned INEC officials are now entitled to reliefs that can
only be afforded by submission to good offices of neutral persons and officials at this stage.
1. Redeployment of the REC and all other INEC officials legally encumbered by allegations
and counter-allegations of electoral malpractices in the Bayelsa State gubernatorial
2. Deployment of neutral INEC Officials to conduct the supplementary elections
slated for 9th January, 2016.
3. Constitution of an observer board with representatives of all political parties
and credible civil society organizations.
Arising from the foregoing, we believe that INEC will be acting in the interest of the Federal
Republic ifit ensures that justice is manifestly seen to be done going forward.
B. e sq.
(General Counsel, Legal Clinic for