By Festus Ahon
UGHELLI—A constitutional lawyer, Dr Akpo Mudiaga-Odje, has urged the Federal Government to tell Nigerians which constitution it is applying in respect of the 2011 elections.
Odje, who stated this while fielding questions from newsmen, yesterday, said “if the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, sticks to the guidelines of January 2011 to commence presidential and governorship elections, then it is obviously applying the Amended 1999 constitution, which efficacy and effectiveness is currently being challenged by the Federal Government.
“Under the existing Unamended 1999 constitution, the earliest time to commence presidential and governorship elections is March 29, 2011 whilst the latest time is April 29, 2011 by the combined provisions of Sections 132 (2) and 178 (2) respectively.
“I therefore call on the Federal Government to urgently clarify to all Nigerians, the constitution it is applying for the forthcoming elections, having regard to the fact that the Deputy President of Senate, Senator Ekweremadu, said recently that the Amended Constitution is now in force.”
On the Electoral Act 2010, Odje said, “the document is too technical and unwieldy. The inclusion of INEC functions, finance and powers in the Act has made it too bulky to read. The Electoral Act sets out to regulate too many things at the same time and within a very short period.”
The Electoral Act, failed to legislate the ‘one man one vote’ slogan into law, thus leaving the masses to the whimsical mercy of a candidate who contested the election and his political party as the only institution recognized by law to file election petitions in Nigeria.”
On the tenure of the Governors as announced by INEC, Odje said; “the true intentions of the draftmen of the Constitution was not to permit any person under any guise whatsoever to elongate his or her tenure. The interpretation of the Supreme Court in the Governor Obi case was a different matter and person all together.
“The simple legal arithmetic is that once it is the same person, we will definitely subtract his previous days in office before the re_run, in calculating his total years in office after the re_run. Any other interpretation will be an act of constitutional shenanigans against the electorate and the sovereign will of the people who they derived their powers from under Section 14 of the 1999 constitution.”