A Bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act 2010 to give additional power to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2014”, scaled second reading at the Senate yesterday.
Senator Hadi Sirika (Katsina North), who sponsored the Bill, said if passed into law, it would place the burden of proof of the regularity of any election before any election petition tribunal or courts on the shoulders of INEC, instead of the litigants.
He said it would also reduce the difficulties petitioners face while trying to get documentary evidence in support of their petitions.
Sirika noted that the process of proving the regularity or otherwise of an election was burdensome, as it was vested in the petitioner, who did not conduct the poll but only participated in it.
He said: “The onus of proving the regularity of an election ought to be a burden to be discharged by the body or organisation, which prepared and arranged for the conduct and thereafter went ahead to conduct the poll.
“It is settled under the law of evidence that ‘he who asserts must prove’. However, this bills seeks otherwise, that is, that the burden of proof of the regularity of the conduct of an election must first of all, shift to the body that conducted the election. “