Public Perceptions of Judicial Decisions on Election Disputes: The Case of the 2007 General Election in Nigeria
Journal of African Elections
In a plural and deeply divided society like that in Nigeria post-election disputes are a recurring problem and if care is not taken in their resolution may exacerbate the problems of national integration. Elections do not only perform the function of elite recruitment into public office but are a mechanism for national integration. In a heterogeneous society like that in Nigeria if post-election conflict is not handled with the required neutrality the election suffers enormously from a
... ty crisis. It is against this background that this article examines the role of the judiciary and its impartiality in resolving election-related conflicts arising out of Nigeria's 2007 general elections. It infers that, in a number of cases, the public perceived judicial officers to have compromised themselves. No doubt this compounded the problem of integrating Nigeria's disparate ethnic groups and, at the same time, whittled down the confidence of members of the public in the capacity of the judiciary to be an impartial arbiter. The article recommends training and retraining for judges in the interests of both national integration and democratic sustenance.