A prominent member of Peoples Democratic Party, Deji Adeyanju has urged the Supreme Court to set things right as the court prepares to adjudge the logjam in the state.
Deji Adeyanju in a statement made available to pressmen, asked if the Tribunal and Court of Appeal have the right to have held that Yahaya Bello could validly contest an election without nominating a deputy.
Read his full statement , “On September 20, 2016 the Supreme Court will determine one of the most brazen attempts to violate the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when it gives its judgment in the matter of Idris Wada & Others v Yahaya Bello & Others.
The facts of this case are clear and as such do not require repetition. However, the legal issues are somewhat murky. While our laws did not envisage the scenario caused by the unfortunate death of late Prince Abubakar Audu and do not stipulate the pathway to follow to resolve the quagmire, they are very clear on what not to do in pursuit of a resolution. READ ALSO: SHOCKER! £1.558m traced to Abdulmumin Jibrin’s UK account
In attempting to resolve the issues thrown up by late Audu’s death, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) aided by the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) took the option most prejudicial to democracy in Nigeria by permitting:The substitution of the late APC candidate with Yahaya Bello; Passing off votes cast for the late APC candidate as votes cast for Yahaya Bello; Permitting Yahaya Bello to contest for the supplementary elections without a deputy governorship candidate, and iv. Issuing him a certificate of return in furtherance of above.
Without prejudice to all the legal issues relating to this appeal, two fundamental issues can be distilled from the facts, both of which form the basis of our contention that Yahaya Bello ought to have been removed from office by the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. i. Were the Tribunal & Court of Appeal right to have upheld the election of Yahaya Bello in light of the provision of Section 141 of the Electoral Act?
Section 141 provides that the Tribunal or Court shall not under any circumstance declare any person winner of an election if such a person did not fully participate in all stages of the election.
This provision of law has already been applied and upheld by the apex court in a plethora of cases. These include: CPC v Ombugadu (2013) 18 NWLR (1385) 16; Gbileve v Addingi (2014) 16 NWLR (1433) 56; Eligwe v Okpokiri (2015) 2 NWLR (1443) 348; Jev v Iyortom (2015) 15 NWLR (1483) 484.
The interpretation given to this section was that while Courts listening to intra-party disputes could declare a person who had not participated in all stages of an election winner, an Election Petition Tribunal or the Court of Appeal sitting as a court of first instance cannot do so. The facts are clear and unambiguous. Yahaya Bello did not participate in the elections of November 21st, 2015 where more than 230,000 votes which were allocated to him were cast.