Nigeria

Courts’ differing views on whether independent candidates may contest elections

The role of independent candidates in elections is contested in many African countries. The Constitutional Court in South Africa issued a landmark decision on the question during June 2020. It held that the law had to be changed so that independent candidates may contest seats in elections. When a similar complaint was brought to the courts in Nigeria, however, the result was the opposite: there the courts upheld laws permitting candidates to contest political elections only via established political parties.

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This case involved seven Nigerians who want to stand for elective office as independents. They were contesting Nigerian law in terms of which an individual must be a member of a political party in order to participate in elections, and thus become part of government.

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