THE ROLE OF JUDICIARY IN ELECTION DISPUTES: EVIDENCE FROM SOUTH WESTERN NIGERIA
ABSTRACT In any political society, election is an epicenter of democratic political regime. One of the hallmarks of democracy is the regular and frequent elections to choose who will occupy a position or an office in a peaceful and orderly manner. This work digged into the role of judiciary in 2007 Election Disputes in Nigeria. The 2007 General Election in Nigeria was flawed, which was evident in electoral violence, election rigging, and electoral fraud and other election irregularities abound in the conduct of election. The election was perceived as worst in the history of election administration in Nigeria. The incumbent party relied on fraud rather than popularity to stay in power. The votes of the people were manipulated to favour the party in power for their selfish political interests. The judiciary serves as a guardian and custodian of rule of law to safeguard democratic system of government from total collapse from undemocratic, autocratic, and oligarchic cabal in Nigeria. The judiciary proved itself as a true arbiter in the metro-political landscape of Nigeria. The final adjudications of the courts later upturned the structure of election fraudsters in major states of the south western Nigeria that judiciary had demonstrated restoration of stolen mandates and maintenance of rule of law. The Nigerian Judiciary has performed best more than any other arm of Government patriotism to the Nigerian State in 2007 Gubernatorial Election Disputes in the South Western Nigeria. Without timely intervention of the Nigerian Judiciary, our present and nascent Democratic Experiment would have been totally collapsed. However, Nigerian judiciary is not without blemish, lacuna in our law, corruption, delay in judgment, executive interference among others impinge the smooth running of our electoral adjudication system in Nigeria. For Nigerian nascent democracy to survive undemocratic forces, virile, credible, reliable, impeccable, uninterrupted, knowledgeable, impenetrable, well-funded and independent judiciary are the requirements.