By Harris-Okon Emmanuel
Ahead of this year’s general election, Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo, UNIUYO, Professor Eniefiok Essien, SAN, has advocated the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution, ADR, mechanism to handle all electoral issues in the country to avoid protracted litigation.
Essien, who spoke on “ADR and Electoral Process“at an award night organised by Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, ICMC, in Uyo, noted that the resort to regular courts to settle electoral disputes was time consuming.
He said it had become imperatives to consider the resolutions of some electoral disputes through ADR mechanism given the challenges dogging the electoral process.
He warned that unless the country seeks a new constitutional framework for the resolution of election disputes outside the courtrooms, the problem of prolonged legal battle will persist.
He said: “Unless the country seeks a new constitutional, statutory and administrative framework for the resolution of election disputes, the problem of calling endless witnesses, legal manoeuvres, exhausting the appeal process and fishing for jurisdictions in election matters may continue unabated.”
Earlier in her welcome address, Akwa Ibom State chairman of ICMC, Chief Magistrate Helen Umana, noted that elections were the hallmarks of representative democracy, which enable the people decide on the choices of their leaders and policies.
She, however, regretted that the process was competitive and fraught with conflict and tension, stressing that if not well managed could potentially destabilise the fabric of the state and society.