via Femi Akinola
In its latest political offensive in opposition to the Peoples Democratic birthday party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) issued a curious however stern warning to the judges across Nigeria not to be pliant to the influences of the PDP. To practice up on the danger, the party promised the mummy of all mass actions if the PDP and such pliant judges go ahead to conspire to declare the seats of five defecting PDP governors vacant.
in all probability, seeing the folly of progressives being perceived as threatening events to a dispute from taking legal steps, the proclamation of the birthday party’s spokesman, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was modified by means of the party’s chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, who later declared that the birthday celebration will take felony steps to protect the defecting governors. but, this is all bombast, and the APC knows it.
the explanations the APC’s claims are bombastic are twofold. to begin with, the birthday party argues albeit erroneously that the one appropriate process for casting off a state governor is by way of the provisions of part a hundred and eighty of the extant Nigerian constitution. this is a ‘giant fats’ lie. Two of the states presently managed by means of the APC, Osun and Ekiti states, have been burgeoned in court in all probability, by way of the grace of pliant judges. We may just never be aware of the entire story now that the principle litigant in the aforesaid case, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has turn into a part of the political whirlpool created by way of the defecting governors.
Secondly, the APC argues that prior to now, different governors from other events had defected to the PDP with out consequences. this is the most ridiculous prison premise for obviating a prison recourse. it is an argument that may be presented in the following syllogism: ‘A’ stole a goat from ‘B’ but ‘B’ said nothing and didn’t litigate, so why must ‘A’ take ‘C’ to court docket for stealing ‘A’s goat. That the parties from which governors defected up to now chose to be passive is not a proof that their movements were not unconstitutional or illegal. If the APC and the defecting governors feel protected enough to test it as a extra, the PDP although with an enormous moral burden, having been a beneficiary of such defections up to now, may just really feel secure sufficient to test it as a legislation. sadly, the variation between a legislation and a extra is that, whereas mores are most often widespread practices, ethical norms or customs which a society or workforce considers suitable and which they are going to deviate from with out consequences from society, rules are written, gazetted and codified physique of rules and requirements issued by using governing authorities for which negation of anticipated behaviour attracts codified consequences. The legality of defection with a birthday party’s mandate has not been thoroughly examined with the aid of judicial interpretation in Nigeria. but this does not mean that there are no consequential laws guiding such defections.
So, it should moderately be ideal follow between Nigerian politicians to defect from one party to any other, however is it the universal legislation to maintain their mandate from the events from which they defected? to search out solutions to this question, the PDP has long gone to court docket to challenge the validity of the mandate given to a PDP governor being exercised by means of an APC governor. To make stronger their prayer in court, they cited that part 177c of the 1999 structure states that; “a person might be certified for election to the place of job of Governor of a state if (c ) he’s a member of a political celebration and is subsidized via that political celebration” ; part 221 which states that “no association, instead of a political birthday celebration, shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the dollars of any political birthday party or to the election expenses of any candidate at an election.” as well as part 222 (a-e) which states that “No association by using by any means title called shall operate as a birthday celebration, unless (a) the names and addresses of its national officers are registered with the impartial nationwide Electoral fee.”
From the foregoing, without further adumbrating the provisions of subsections (b) to (e), it can be viewed that the nPDP does no longer qualify to perform as a birthday celebration, or go into a merger as a political team with an extant birthday party, because it does not have a registration with the INEC, furthermore the APC used to be now not an current entity on the time the mandates of these governors have been received via their parties. however to complicate issues further, the Electoral Act which publications the decision of electoral mandates, had the following provisions on mergers of political events and the way the mandate of a birthday party could also be carried forward within the absence of the birthday celebration. In section eighty four of the extant Electoral Act, it’s provided that for parties to merge, the present entities of the merging events must not most effective dissolve however must notify the electoral fee, INEC, of its willingness to do so and should thereafter conduct a congress of the merging parties to formalise the method. After these are performed, a formal dissolution can be licensed through INEC. These will make sure that mergers will not be a subject that is arbitrary or carried out at the spur of the second in disdain of celebration members. for this reason, assumedly from these laws, the nPDP has no powers to dissolve PDP or a hypothetical faction of it, neither is there any report of birthday celebration conventions or notices to INEC in that regard, whether or not in whole or factional section to precede such merger.
moreover, on what occurs to the apriori political mandates of the dissolved events, part ninety seven of the Electoral Act provides that the place a birthday party ceases to exist, the participants could raise such mandates except the top of the mandate. the fact, alternatively, is that, the PDP (like the other parties from which former PDP governors defected however which didn’t hassle to problem the PDP for his or her mandates) did not cease to exist and hence there was once no legal plank to defend their motion. then again, whilst the opposite parties failed to test the validity of these defections in courtroom, the PDP has decided to test it. the appropriate arbiter for this case, subsequently, is the court and no longer a mass movement because the APC has threatened to do. If in their hermeneutic wisdom, the realized judges in finding that the prayers presented to them by the PDP are cogent and verifiable, and enter a judgment in step with the regulation, that might consolidate our democracy. furthermore, impeachment proceedings are not performed recklessly in hotel rooms anymore, since the judiciary gave the regulation its full which means and function. Whichever means the court re-examines and decides this matter, it does no longer make judges pliant to political influences; fairly, it is going to be the law that used to be pliant to the problems in contest. In that regard, the voting public does no longer need to be entertained by way of any partisan rented crowds, be they APC or PDP. The vote casting public wants to know the standards for determining “faction” and/or “division” of political parties, as used in the legislation in order for periodic custodians of the mandates of political parties to be smartly guided, and for Nigeria to have a steady and sustainable democracy, as a result of arbitrary political defections have doomed several democratic regimes to the detriment of our collective construction prior to now.
•Akinola, a construction Analyst, writes from Lagos