Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission has allocated over N3 billion to fight litigation arising from the 2023 general election.
The electoral body budgeted over N3 billion to defend itself from the results of the February 25 presidential and national assembly election and the March 18 governorship and state assembly polls.
It was gathered that INEC in its Election Project Plan for the 2023 general election earmarked N3 billion for the prosecution of election-related cases.
The election projection plan which was sighted by The Punch on Sunday partly reads, “Litigation and prosecution: N2,104,965,000 (2022) and N3,087,195,425 (2023). Total, N5,192,160,425.’’
The document further reveals that INEC budgeted N886.2 million for legal drafting and clearance in 2022 and 2023, while N337.4 million was earmarked for legal drafting and clearance in 2022 and N548.7 million was budgeted for the same legal drafting and clearance in 2023.
However, the commission is yet to disclose the number of lawyers it wants to engage for the numerous election petition cases lodged at the tribunals.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi also told The Punch on Sunday that he did not know the number of solicitors that would be employed by the commission.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that over 100 election petitions have been filed by aggrieved candidates both from the presidential and state election petition tribunals to challenge the outcome of the polls.
Also, it was gathered that those election petition tribunals in over 12 states including Edo, Plateau, Ondo, Kwara, Ogun, Bayelsa, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Bauchi, Lagos and Niger states received petitions from National Assembly candidates who are contesting their results.