Osun Guber: When Prince Azubuike has become Nostradamous

The Osun State gubernatorial election held last year precisely on the 25th of September, 2018 will go down memory lane as one of the most fascinating election with perhaps an uncertain outcome in the polity of our dear nation.

The intrigue started when the Returning Officer Prof. Joseph Adeola declared the election inconclusive. The political cum legal space of our dear nation was embroilled with arguments for and against the decision of INEC to declare the election inconclusive. I was not Left out in that debate. See http://www.barristerNG.com/help-help-an-inconclusive-election-a-compromised-inec-is-murdering-nigerias-hard-earned-democracy-a-rejoinder-by-prince-azubuike/.

In my own submission, I had argued that INEC was in order both morally and constitutionaly to have declared the election inconclusive on the authority of Falake v. INEC (2017) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1543) 16 because the margin of victory between the two leading contenders was less than the number of cancelled votes.

For a candidate to be declared winner in an election, S. 179(2) of the CFRN 1999 (as amended) provides that the candidate must score the highest number of votes.

Surprisingly, when the Judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal was delivered few months ago, the victory of Oyetola was nullified and Adeleke was declared winner. I knew such victory will be short lived because the reason for declaring the election inconclusive was not based on invalid votes as was erroneously held by the Tribunal.

Moreso, INEC’S guideline is integral to the conduct of elections. In fact, the Supreme Court has strenghtened this position of the law in CPC v INEC (2011) LPELR 8257 to the effect that resort to INEC’S manual for the conduct of election cannot be wished away by any logical argument not matter how brilliant.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal has only re-iterated the position of the law with respect to inconclusiveness of elections and the sacrosant nature of INEC’s manual in the conduct of elections.

Ofcourse, this judgment will be tested at the Supreme Court but I bet you, it will come out standing stronger.

Prince Azubuike Esq
(Distinguish Member of NBA Degema Branch)
The author writes from Port Harcourt and divides his Research interest in International Law (with a bias for Afro Centric views), Constitutional Law, Commercial Arbitration and Oil and Gas Law.

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