Chairman, Section of Public Interest and Development Law (SPIDEL), Nigerian Bar Association, Monday Ubani, has expressed discontent over the Kano court judgement sack of the Abia state governor-elect, Alex Otti.
On Friday, Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court Kano declared the votes polled by Alex Otti, in the last general election as wasted, but stopped short of making an order withdrawing Mr Otti’s and other affected candidates’ certificates of return.
The Justice cited the failure of the Labour Party to submit its membership registers of Kano and Abia, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) preparatory to the party’s primary election as the basis for his verdict.
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Barrister Ubani who was a guest on Channels Television Sunrise Daily on Monday, frowned at the court judgement pointing to the fact that the jubilation in Abia over Otti’s victory was unprecedented.
According to him, the job of removing a governor-elect is the responsibility of the tribunal, adding that due process was not followed by the Kano justice to issue a sack.
“It can’t stand, It is illogical, it is illegal, it is not in accordance with the electoral act and the Constitution I will call it nonsensical. You don’t do things that way.
“We must try as much as possible to do certain things that people will begin to look at us as a sane nation,” he said.
Ubani lamented that the pre-election matter ought to have been dealt with within 14 days after the grievance, adding that the results declaration and certificate of return have been given, which leaves the aggrieved to go to the tribunal.
“That is the provision of section 285, subsection 9 of the 1999 constitution. The moment you don’t do it within that 14 days timeline, it is titled as bad and it can never be revived by any motion or by any other of the court,” he said
The SPIDEL chairman said the process was validated by INEC through its internal measures to check the compliance of parties with the electoral act in submission.
‘Sacrosanct Judicial Role’
The human rights lawyer lamented that the judiciary plays an important role in the intervention of the compliance of the electoral act, but requires meticulousness.
“The judiciary plays a vital role, but provided there is compliance, there are no issues. But if there is no compliance, the judiciary will determine that,” he said.
Ubani noted that the role of the judiciary in the electoral process needs to be sacrosanct and well-defined, adding that it is not to change the will of the people.
“Their role is to correct any infractions of the electoral laws. But not for them to substitute the choice of the majority, overturning the majority votes and now giving a minority the opportunity to now elect a state or a country. Their duty is to look at if there are any infractions.” he added.