Does the judiciary play any role in facilitating or impeding the ability of citizens to speak, organize, assemble, and associate freely during election seasons? SPACES FOR CHANGE’s | S4C’s new report interrogates the extent the Nigerian judiciary expanded and contracted the civic space before, during, and after the 2023 general elections. This report finds that the way electoral disputes between persons, or between the authorities and persons, are handled is an important indicator of the court’s role in preventing or enabling the repression of civic space during the 2023 elections. Along this line, GO TO COURT! uncovered the various ways in which the adjudicatory interventions of the Nigerian judiciary impacted Nigeria’s electoral landscape both positively and otherwise. Through the robust analysis of judicial decisions in numerous election-related disputes by courts of record in Nigeria, S4C puts forward new knowledge and evidence regarding the conditions, enablers, and drivers that asphyxiate, rather than energize civil society organizing and citizen participation in democratic processes.
SPACES FOR CHANGE conducted this research with support from Luminate. Blending different forms of expertise from several sectors, this research benefitted from the contributions of a diverse group of experts, analysts, and teams within and beyond the organization that worked together to unravel newer forms of constraints on civil society, while exploring new pathways for transformative civic action.