Gloria Ogbu


Legal Luminary, Chief Wole Olanipekun has called on political parties and other stakeholders to “shine their eyes” on Section 65 of the Electoral Act, saying that it can derail the entire electoral process.

According to Olanipekun, Section 65 of the Electoral Act which empowers the Chief Returning Officer of INEC, to return and also review his decision is very dangerous to Nigeria’s electoral system.

Olanipekun said this in a closed door meeting with the Governor Biodun Oyebanji, in his office in Ado-Ekiti.

The legal giant who said he was so surprised that the National Assembly allowed that section to creep into the Electoral Act revealed that by that section, they are giving a returning officer and by extension INEC the power to do and undo.

In his words: “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”

“When you now invest in a returning officer of  INEC, the power to do and undo, the power to return and review his  decision is dangerous to the polity”

“The Chief Returning Officer, is the Chairman of INEC, meaning you can return someone as President today, and tomorrow, when there are  agitations here and there, he may  withdraw his  decision, saying  “I am revising myself and am now returning somebody else”

The former NBA President also stated that he is not aware of any similar section in previous electoral act, or that of any country in the world.

He  therefore charged members of the  national assembly to remove section 65 from the Electoral Act as it is harmful to Nigeria’s electoral process.