OPINION – The Abuja banana peel…any escape?

Oh yes, again, the other contenders did not win the election (according to INEC) but following the provision of the Constitution, Mr. Tinubu did not, either

By Igbonekwu Ogazimorah

The framers of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), could not have meant any ambiguity in Section 134 (1) b: “a candidate to the office of the President shall be deemed to have been duly elected, where…he had not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the federation AND THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, ABUJA.”

Check it up, the operative “AND” the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja” was not made an option, but rides the strength of conjunction, which means that in full filling the other conditions, you must also fulfill that of Abuja.

The above is not supposed to be confusing in any way. Indeed, it means that except President MBuhari is poised to destroy the law which took him to office, he ought to be exploring ways of finding a solution, first in activating Section 135(1) a: “…a person shall hold the office of the President until…when his successor in office takes the oath of that office.” This means that he is not obliged to quit office until his successor is elected and sworn in

Now, can a non-winner be sworn into an elective office? The answer ought to be “No,” even though the APC and ethnic rough drivers are screaming ‘yes’.

We know that MBuhari appears to relish muddling and pretention, but he must accept that the defence of that Constitution is one duty he cannot escape. His youthful career was in the military where the games of deception and indirection are central to advancement. He is also a Fulani who openly say that they ‘only bring to open what is absolutely necessary, and as it suits their interests, and no more.”

The scenario of MBuhari operating the Constitution in breach was the reason for the unspoken anger of Datti Ahmed when he made the succinct taunt: “dare swear in a non-winner into the office.”

Oh yes, many emotional Nigerians will feel an attack on their ethnicity if you insist on the law being observed as intended by the drafters of the Constitution, but truth remains that it is a scenario we cannot take down the path of sentiment now.

Oh yes, again, the other contenders did not win the election (according to INEC) but following the provision of the Constitution, Mr. Tinubu did not, either.

This leaves the door open to options or cards on offer. If the government projects to offer the Presidency to Tinubu as the body language shows, let it conduct another election, only in Abuja, rig it, and now “lawfully” install Tinubu.
Second option is to take down the election in its entirety, fire Mahmoud, and have replay in the next six months, to at least assure Nigerians that government takes the principles of rule of law seriously.

Of course, there is the option of carrying out a forensic evaluation of the last Presidential election, in which a winner riding the wave of confidence of the people emerges.

The best option is the only track left for the government, if it wants a stable polity, post-MBuhari.

Strangely, present Nigerian political leaders appear to have not even realised how fast things have changed. The youths – aged between 18 and 55 – are not people or a generation you can truffle with. They have amassed some astounding electronic media power that they can easily overwhelm any administration. They are so wide spread and focused that those who see Obidients as just Igbo youths just fresh out of Biafra agitation trenches are indeed missing the point. They are the collective downtrodden and they are not yielding a quarter in their fight.

Pray, they do not take the violent track. If they do, you will realise that the Igbo being targeted in Lagos and elsewhere are just a fraction.

A word ought to be enough for the wise…otherwise, clad yourself in the garb of an ‘ofeke’ and find yourself in the ditch.

Ogazimora, a journalist and lawyer, wrote from Enugu.

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