Thursday, January 28, 2016

Appeal Court ruling dangerous for Nigeria’s democracy

A group, Youths for Democracy, has called on the Supreme Court to save the nation’s democracy by upturning the ruling of the Appeal Court on Taraba State, which returned Darius Ishaku as governor.
 The group in a statement by its President, Titus Gambo, said allowing that ruling to stand will be dangerous for the nation’s democracy just as it would send the wrong signal to politicians. He said the tribunal ruling which returned Hajia Aisha Alhassan of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as governor of the state should have been upheld, “as it was in tandem with the provisions of the law.
He said based on the provision of Section 138(1) (a) of the Electoral Act, 2010, qualification of any candidate for an elective post extends to compliance with the mandatory provisions of Sections 87(1) of the Electoral Act. He said “the bone of contention here is whether or not the party on whose platform the governor, Darius Ishaku contested the election conducted Primaries. And the answer is No, even the Appeal Court recognised that fact but argued that the candidate of the APC shouldn’t be the one to complain.
The danger of allowing such a ruling is that it would encourage parties to break the law. The issue should not be about who made the complaint, but on the legality of the issue”. He said it was important for the court to upturn the election of Darius Ishaku, to serve as a deterrent to other parties who engage in imposition of candidates rather than following Due Process.
“We are not talking about this matter in respect to Taraba alone but as it concerns the entire nation. If we want credible people to occupy leadership positions, then the apex court must do the needful and upturn the Appeal Court ruling and declare Hajia Aisha as winner of the election. We cannot continue to allow people to get away with impunity. The law is the law, nobody is above it and it must be obeyed. Too many things are wrong with our electoral process in the country and we have to start getting it right”, he said.
He said despite the fact that the PDP did not have a validly nominated candidate for the election, there were cases of violence and malpractices in parts of the state, “so anyway you look at it, Darius Ishaku was not the peoples’ choice and as such should not have been returned as the duly elected governor”. He called on the Supreme Court to restore the peoples’ faith in the judiciary, “ by looking into the facts of the matter instead of technicalities”. He noted that sacking Darius Ishaku will help to entrench the nation’s democracy as well as check erring politicians.

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