February 2020

Muiz Banire > 2020 > February

Imo and Bayelsa conundrums: Where are the Lawyers?(1)

“The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we have to have an independent judiciary, judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing.” – Caroline Kennedy In my last writeup on the issue, I addressed largely the indiscretion of politicians in decisions made by the judiciary. In this piece, however, I intend to evaluate the role of lawyers in the conundrum as well as in the administration of justice and the rule of law in recent times. I must confess that, in the last few weeks, I have had sleepless nights...

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Oshiomhole, APC and Bayelsa conundrum

Just a few days ago, the apex court in Nigeria upheld the disqualification of the Deputy Governor-elect of Bayelsa State who came on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Consequently, the court voided the election of the party’s candidates in the gubernatorial election on the simple ground that no valid ticket existed at the time of the election by the ruling party. The electoral jurisprudence is settled for decades now that, for there to be a valid ticket, both the governorship and deputy governorship candidates sponsored by a political party must be qualified in all ramifications. Once there...

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Voter Apathy: Albatross of Nigeria’s political representation (3)

The people have cited several instances where the judiciary has been helpless in safeguarding their votes. However, I shall deal with this separately in another column, as several factors account for this. Sponsorship of unqualified candidates and the failure to disqualify them: it is now the norm in Nigeria for political parties to sponsor unqualified or incompetent candidates, or fail to comply with the applicable laws, rules, regulations and their own constitutions in the process leading to the nomination of candidates. Where this occurs (as it normally does), the electoral body, INEC, more often than not, would allow these unqualified nominees...

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Voter Apathy: Albatross of Nigeria’s political representation (2)

Such government, upon election, should immediately make it a focal point to identify the factors that necessitated the apathy, and find a cure for them. A failure to do this could cause a section of the citizenry to believe that voter apathy is a deliberate policy being encouraged by government. The most disturbing part of this saga is the stark nakedness of INEC’s assumption of pretentious ignorance. INEC has persistently sought refuge in a manufactured state of helplessness. I say “manufactured” because INEC is equipped with the wherewithal to address these situations but has (maybe deliberately) failed in this regard. I...

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