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Judicial Corruption, Institutional Reform and the Electoral Process in Nigeria

Shortly after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the demise of several African one-party regimes, leaders of a number of African countries began the process of reconstructing the postcolonial African state by embarking on policy and political reforms. This decision was informed by the fact that, since independence, many African countries have been wracked by political and economic crises that have prevented the state from pursuing the rapid growth and economic development needed to fight poverty and material deprivation on the continent. This study argues that while corruption has contributed largely to the development crises in post-independence Nigeria, the problem of judicial corruption is a major impediment to the attainment of sustainable electoral reform in Nigeria. The study substantiates this hypothesis by citing instances of corruption in the Election Petition Tribunals of the 2003 and 2007 general elections in Nigeria.

It is submitted that corruption in the judiciary helps to undermine electoral reform by ensuring that the decisions of the Election Petition Tribunals are compromised and the mandate of the people is subverted. Suggestions are offered to reform of the Nigerian electoral process with a view to fighting corruption in the judiciary.

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