Electoral Act Amendment: Lawyer Wants Votes To Count For Candidate Not Party

ikechukwu-ikejiA Nigerian lawyer, Ikechukwu Ikeji, is of the view that votes in elections should count for the candidate of a political party and not the party.

Mr Ikeji said that with such clause in the Electoral Act, when any candidate of a political party dies, he should die with the votes he had gotten in the process of the election, as seen in Kogi State last year.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the Kogi State governorship election, Mr Abubakar Audu, had died in the course of the election and his votes were transferred to another a ‘replacement candidate’.

The decision had triggered controversy within the APC and even within the political sector.

To address the situation should such occur in future, the Senate decided to amend the Electoral Act to give a period not more than 21 days to the parties to present a replacement or take whatever  decision that should be taken before the election would continue.

But Mr Ikeji believes the candidate should die with his votes.

“It is fair that votes to be attached to a candidate and not to the political party.

“Presently, as it is, votes count for the party not the candidate.

“By the intendment of the constitution, the vote belongs to the candidate,” he stated.

The Supreme Court while giving its ruling on a suit that was filed by one of the candidates in the Kogi election against the emergence of Mr Yahaya Bello as the governor, apportioned the vote to the political party, declaring Mr Yahaya, who completed an election that late Audu started the winner.

On the decision of the Supreme Court, Mr Ikeji said: “It was strange to me that the Supreme Court will lift vote belonging to one person and give it to another.

“Some people would have voted for Mr Audu because they wanted him and not Mr Bello while some, who would not have voted for Mr Audu, will vote for Mr Bello because he is their preferred candidate,” the lawyer pointed out.

He insisted that by the operation of law,”the Supreme Court ought to have either called for a fresh election or asked that the election be concluded in favour of the people who are already candidates”.

The Senate had amended the Electoral Act to ensure that a proper procedure is followed in situations where a candidate of a political party dies in an election.

Mr Ikeji welcomed the decision of the National Assembly to amend the law to settle such circumstances, pointing out that “law making is to cure mischief or apparent defects”.

Imo Demolition: Capt. Iheanacho Vows To Sue State Govt.

Rochas Okorocha, APGA, Emmanuel Iheanacho, Imo DemolitionControversy continues to trail the demolition and urban renewal exercise of the Imo State government led by Governor Rochas Okorocha.

Former Minister of Interior and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2015 governorship election, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho, has expressed concern about the government’s decision.

Speaking through his lawyer, Ikechukwu Ikeji, the former minister condemned the ongoing exercise, saying the government did not follow due process and no clear cut plan has been put in place to compensate those affected.

The fence of one his buildings along Orlu-Amakohia road in the state capital was badly affected.

Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho has vowed to take Government to court as government insists the beautification and urban renewal exercise is in the best interest of the state.

During a routine inspection to some of the sites on Orlu road, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha appealed to the people of the state to show understanding and cooperation as the initiative is in the best interest of the state.

He reiterated his plans to dualize and expand most of the major roads within the state capital.

As a result, he explained, some fences that do not fall within the required measurement, illegal structures and shanties would be removed.

2015 Elections, One Of The Most Rigged In Nigeria – Observer

ElectionA Legal Practitioner and observer during the 2015 elections, Ikechukwu Ikeji, says the just concluded election was one of the most rigged elections he had ever witnessed in Nigeria, despite being considered free and fair.

Speaking on a breakfast show, Sunrise Daily on Channels Television on Monday, Mr Ikeji accused INEC officials of being compromised, stressing further that the politicians themselves were out to rig and those who won simply outwitted those who lost.

“Just about every politicians I came across was in the game of rigging. Nothing can be farther from the truth than that these elections were fair and free.

“In fact I have to be honest, this is one of the most rigged elections I have witnessed. I was in the field and I can tell you that electoral offences were rampant,” Mr Ikeji said.

On card readers, the election observer expressed dissatisfaction. He said that the card readers did not work in many areas he went to.

He said that they (the electorate) had agreed not to use the card readers, revealing that he clearly saw people coming back to vote twice while some voted three times in both national and state elections.

He added also that some polling units were dominated by some political parties, as they were able to buy the minds of voters and the electoral officials.

Mr Ikeji also said that all materials for the election should have been present at the commencement of the voting, including the result sheets, which various political party agents should verify.

He also indicted some election observers saying many of them were compromised and carried out their duties with bias.

He reacted to the statement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it had commenced the compilation of all electoral offences recorded in the 2015 general elections with a view to prosecuting those found wanting.

The legal practitioner said that it was a good statement by INEC that they would prosecute electoral offenders, but noted that the solution does not just lie in advocacy, pronouncement or trying to put technology in place to obviate the need for politicians to rig.

He advised that the attraction in elective and political public positions be reduced to discourage politicians wanting to get to position by all means.

Amaechi Cannot Appoint A Chief Judge Without NJC – Lawyer

ikejiA Legal Practitioner, Ikechukwu Ikeji says that the governor of Rivers State, Governor Rotimi Amaechi cannot appoint any Chief Judge without making a recommendation to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

He stated that the governor of the state should have written to the NJC, telling them that their recommendation of the new Chief Judge to the state has been rejected, “the governor should have written to that effect”

He further stated that the governor cannot appoint a Chief Judge without reference to the NJC.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Ikeji explained that the Supreme Court’s judgment was that the governor of the state cannot appoint any Chief Judge without making a recommendation to the NJC.

“The court cannot say that the recommendations by the NJC shall be dispensed, we owe it to NJC to respect their view point and then go back to find a way to re-engineer the process within NJC”.

He explained further that the suspension given to the former judge of the state (Justice Peter Agumagu) was due to the fact that he made himself available for the seat of the Chief Judge of the state.

“The NJC is acting to the letter and spirit of the constitution and is acting according to the power it has to recommend and it should be respected”.

He also noted that the NJC was not given an opportunity to make another recommendation for the position of the Chief Judge.

Rivers Raid: Police May Be Justified by Constitution – Legal Practitioner

A Legal Practitioner, Ikechukwu Ikeji, says the Police raid on the Save Rivers Movement rally in Port-Harcourt on Sunday, January 12, may be justifiable under the Nigerian Constitution.

He threw his weight behind the point of view that everybody’s right of association is guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution and those rights of association “include the right to hold demonstrations and sundry kinds of rallies.”

He, however, noted that Section 45 of the same constitution goes further to derogate from that right by saying that “nothing in the constitution or in some of the sections mentioned, including the right to freedom of association shall render invalid any law that is made by the National Assembly, that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society for the interest of public safety.”

He explained that this implied that a law could be made by the National Assembly in any form to curtail some of those rights so as to ensure public safety.

He went further to state that the Police Act is such law that the National Assembly had made which curtails the citizens’ rights of association for the sake of ensuring public safety, law and order. This according to him, empowers the Police to step in if it sees “that a particular situation may be likely to result in breakdown of law and order.”

Ikeji was asked to clarify the key elements that the Police would need to identify for it to conclude that a situation may result in breakdown of law and order, he referred to antecedents as the key elements that the Police would need to consider. These include the volatility of the polity and the environment, the parties involved, and the prevailing security situation.

Ikechukwu made this assertion on Channels Television’s daily breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’.

He insisted that it would be left for the court to decide who was right or wrong in the Rivers State crisis.

Watch this video for more of Ikechukwu Ikeji’s arguments.

Jonathan’s Promise Not To Contest 2015 Is Null, Void By Law

A legal practitioner, Ikechukwu Ikeji, on Monday said that it was wrong of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo to hold President Goodluck Jonathan’s promise not to run for a second term,  as the provisions of the 1999 constitution renders such a promise null and void.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, he stressed that any promise made by the President is null and void as long as it is not consistent with the provisions in the constitution which permits him to run for a second term if he so wishes.

“It is wrong to hold Jonathan to a promise that he shouldn’t run for a second term,” he added.

He questioned the intention of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo in writing the 18 page letter to President Jonathan, and said that there are inconsistencies between the messenger and the message.

“On what basis should an Obasanjo query the corruption level that exists today in Nigeria?” he asked.

According to Transparency International’s global corruption perception index, Nigeria was the 6th most corrupt country on Earth, as at 2005.

“As at the time Yar’adua took over in 2008, we rose to about 42. We became the 42nd most corrupt country on Earth. That was an improvement,” Ikeji said.

“During Obasanjo’s era, corruption was like oxygen in Nigeria. It was like the air that we breathed and the entire world knew about it.”

He countered that argument that the EFCC worked hard to tackle corruption within those years and said the “EFCC was not actually directly directing the fight of corruption to the appropriate quarters” during Obasanjo’s era.

According to him, EFCC’s fight was ‘selective’ in nature.


Impunity: Nigeria’s Constitution Is Built On Lies – Lawyer

A legal practitioner, Ikechukwu Ikeji, on Thursday attributed the foundation of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution to lies, describing it as a “military decree” in disguise.

While discussing the upsurge of impunity in Nigerian government on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ikeji said that “the very foundation of this present democratic dispensation is based on impunity”.

He said that the constitution upon which we are operating is telling a lie against itself and accused the the government of trying to make the people it is otherwise. “The government wants us to believe it is constitutional democracy,” he added.

“What we have is a military democracy, a military decree that is in play in the form of a constitution”.

Mr Ikeji indicted former president, Olusegun Obasanjo as guilty of impunity, stating that during his administration,  orders of the judiciary were ‘arrantly and rampantly disobeyed and disregarded by government’ citing the refusal of that administration to release monies belonging to local governments in Lagos state.

He recalled the 2012 Appropriation Act which stipulated a budget of N200 billion for subsidy, however, N2.2 trillion was spent.

“Nobody has aked questions,” he said.

Legal Practitioner Says State of Emergency Is Yet To Take Effect

A legal practioner and public affairs analyst, Ikechukwu Ikeji has faulted the manner in which President Goodluck Jonathan has handled the declaration of State of Emergency in Adamawa, Yobe and Adamawa states.

Ikeji, who was fielding questions on Channels Television’s morning flagship programme, Sunrise Daily, argued that the president should have sent a Gazette of the declaration before going ahead with the announcement.

Ikeji said “What matters is the publication of the Gazzette. As sson as you want to declare a state of emergency, you publish the Gazette and send it forthwith as soon as you have declared it to the Senate and the House of Reps”.

He further argued that political structures in the affected states should not be upstaged until the Gazzette has been published. He also said the military shouldn’t have carried on with the deployment of troops to the states.

Reacting to a press conference by the Senate Majority Leader, Victor Nodma-Egba that the senate is yet to discuss the declaration because the Gazzette has not been sent to them, he said “If somebody is saying that the Gazzette has not been published or has not been transmitted, absolutely what we are just simply saying in effect is that there is no declaration yet of state of emergency”

Ikeji described the present declaration as an improper declaration of state of emergency, saying that people can seek redress in the law courts if they feel their fundamental rights have been trampled upon.

However, he agreed that the president, empowered by Section 130 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and Section 218, can deploy troops to any part of the country.

He said the president can premise the deployment of troops on the aforementioned sections of the 1999 constitution but not on the state of emergency.

Demand For Oteh’s Removal Is Unusual – Ikechukwu Ikeji

A legal practitioner, Ikechukwu Ikeji while speaking on Sunrise Daily on Monday stated that the National Assmebly’s demand that  President Goodluck Jonathan remove the Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Aruma Oteh, is unusual.

Mr. Ikeji submitted although the demand is unusual, it is not normal for one arm of government to excercise some amount of power over another. He said that in line with checks and balances, “ it’s appropriate for some arm of government to have some form of control over the other arm.”

The House of Representatives recently called for the removal of Aruma Oteh as the DG of the commission; a petition President Goodluck is yet to grant.

Mr. Ikeji further disclosed that situation has now deteriorated such that the National Assembly has refused to allocate funds to the SEC.


Mainstreet Bank’s ‘dismissal’ of workers is inequitable

Ikechukwu Ikeji, a lawyer has described as ‘inequitable in law and moral’, the dismissal of over 800 workers by Mainstreet Bank PLC after taking over the assest of Afribank .

He also argued that the use of the word ‘termination’ in the dismissal of the workers without prior warning is illegal.

Following their termination, former staff of Mainstreet Bank on Monday morning gathered at Channels Television to protest against the management of the bank for their unpaid salaries and other entitlements.

The protesters lamented their unpaid gratifications and alleged unfair treatment on them by the bank’s management following the mass sack of about 800 workers in June.