The greatest menace and grave vice of the world is when one whose position is to feed the public with a right information and wholesome enlightenment choose to be perfidious and lead the same people speedily on a wrong lane. This is what the likes of Oluwole Oladimeji, Esq via the above subject matter as posted on kogireports did and are doing. I say this because as the “learned”, he has violated the 11th commandment. He has misled the public on the point of law as canvassed through his piece.
In as much as I want to believe that there is nothing novel about the inconclusive election in Kogi State, he erred when he surmised that “inconclusive election” has no place in Kogi State scenario and hasten to conclude that INEC violated the provision of Section 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as such INEC has added to the provision of the law as decided in the case of INEC v. Musa.
Therefore, according to him and his legal permutations, which is fundamentally faulty, James Faleke must be declared the winner of the election, all thanks to the death of Prince Abubakar Audu too, no pun intended. Barr. Oluwole Oladimeji failed to be truthful about the law. He closed his eyes to the exceptions to the general provision of section 179(2) of the 1999Constitution.
This I will explain thus:
The section relied on has an exception clause in section 179 (3a &b; 4a & b and 5) which is the proviso to the general provisions of section 179(2a & b), and in essence give credence to the INEC’s action to announce the election “inconclusive.” It is safe to hold that the “default” (as provided in the section 179 (3a &b; 4a & b and 5) of a candidate who is “deemed” or “duly” elected by reason of having a highest vote or otherwise, implies a situation where any event or situation impinged the credibility or soundness of being declare the winner of the election. For instance in this scenario where the INEC announced that the election is “inconclusive”, because, according to the Returning Officer, Professor Emmanuel Kucha, the collation of results from the 21 local government areas of the State showed that the cancelled votes were higher in number than the margin between the leading candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu of the APC and the PDP candidate, Captain Idris Wada who was the runner –up. This same scenario played out in Taraba State and Abia State, and the “inconclusiveness” of the election was never a subject of contention or being declared as illegal or unconstitutional by the Court, even though there were candidates with highest votes in the respective States. In fact, during a suit filed in the Federal High Court, FCT, to determine whether or not to stop INEC from proceeding with planned supplementary governorship election in Kogi State, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that it was incumbent on the Court to take a position on the matter “to enable INEC to conduct the election without a grave shadow of doubt as to the legal or constitutional validity of the said exercise.”
Therefore, there is nowhere in the law where INEC is under legal compulsion or obligation to declare the candidate with “highest votes” a winner without putting into the consideration the whole provisions of the laws and valid Electoral Guidelines, neither is there any law or decision of the Court which suggests that it is illegal or unconstitutional to declare an election “inconclusive.”
INEC being the electoral umpire and having considered all the requirements of the enabling laws cannot be faulted when it took decision to announce the election as inconclusive as empowered by the law.
Aderemi, JCA (As he then was) in Dr. Chris N. Ngige Vs. Mr. Peter Obi & Ors (2006)14 NWLR (Pt. 999) 1 at 183 held that, “I hasten to say that it is not only essential that a candidate who wishes to be declared the winner must have a majority of the votes cast, it is of importance that such votes are lawful and/or valid..”
Hence, sentiment aside, it is difficult to see how my learned colleague legal reasoning adds up considering a holistic provision of the law.
– Barr. Omeiza Shadrach, E.