Connect with us

Daily News

THE JUDGEMENT SACKING UMAHI IS CORRECT BUT CONFUSING

Published

on

By P. D. Pius, Esq

This case has it origin in the defection of Governor David Umahi from PDP to APC. Umahi was lured to APC in November 2020. He was actually elected on the platform of PDP in 2019. Although there have been many cases of defection by other Governors, this particular defection agitated the PDP which led to it’s law suit seeking a determination of who owns the votes between PDP and Umahi and invariably who should be in the office.

There are a number of legal issues upon which the case oscillates. One important issue worthy of mention is the question of who owns the votes cast at the election? There are two school of thought. There is a school that support the Political Party as owner of all votes cast. There are those who speak in favour of candidates. They maintained that votes are casted for a candidate and not political party. According to this thought, a candidate will therefore continue to benefit of the votes he scored at election irrespective of his subsequent decision to abandoned the platform or political party that sponsored him for the election. There are of course a number of decisions of the Court that tacitly support this view. I will refer you to just one to drive home the point. That is the famous Atiku cases. In the case of AG FEDERATION & ORS v. ABUBAKAR & ORS (2007) LPELR-3(SC) the seat of the former Vice President was declared vacant for defecting from PDP to AC, the Supreme Court reluctantly upheld his contention that his his seat is not vacant on a very narrow ground. Be mindful of the choice of words because in law, one word can make all the difference.

The issue in this case was whether Atiku’s act of leaving the sponsoring party that is PDP for another political party that is AC, coupled with public denunciation and condemnation of the sponsoring political party, the President and their Government do or do not constitute constructive resignation, withdrawal or abandonment of the office of the Vice President.

The Supreme Court however per SUNDAY AKINOLA AKINTAN, J.S.C approached the issue on the question of whether the President can declare the seat of the Vice President vacant or remove him from office for defecting to another political party. The Supreme Court made two crucial findings:

1. It stated that Atiku was wrong to defect. It held as follows:

“The Court below was therefore wrong in holding that the 1st respondent could, while the Vice President still retained his office as Vice President, openly criticize the same government; or join another political party and start to campaign for election to the office of President. The action cannot be justified by the fact that he (1st respondent) had been suspended or expelled from the ruling political party under which he was jointly elected with the President or that he was exercising his fundamental right of association guaranteed by the Constitution. What is required of him is to first resign and even after resigning from that office, he would still be precluded from dissociating himself from the collective responsibility for decisions taken by the cabinet while he was in office.

Thus, the Supreme Court finding was that in fact, he was wrong to defect. In law where there is a wrong there must be a remedy. The law cannot be helpless.

2. The second important finding by the Supreme Court was that ” In spite of the above, it is not the duty of the court to pronounce on his behaviour or actions or declare his office vacant. But that decision is that of the National Assembly. ”

Thus, the Court declined jurisdiction and push the job to National Assembly to commence removal proceedings against Atiku for his wrongful or political sin of defection.

In order words, the Court agreed that it was wrong to defect from the sponsoring political party but the decision to remove President or Governor from office should be left for the National Assembly or House of Assembly as the case may be.

This case does not answer point blank who owns the votes cast at election and what happens if there are is contention or dispute as to ownership of those votes between the party that won the election and the candidate. The position that the Court has no jurisdiction on removal or impeachment proceedings can not be useful in this case as there is a real dispute as to who owns the votes between PDP and Umahi. It is simply a dispute between a corporate individual and natural person that can be accommodated under section 6 of the Constitution.

Fast forward to the case of WADA & ORS v. BELLO & ORS (2016) LPELR-47015(SC) it was the theory that votes belong to political parties that was sustained. In this case it was decided by the Supreme court thus:

I think that the decision of this Court in Amaechi v. INEC (supra), encompasses the situation created by the death of the 2nd respondent’s candidate. The decision finds support in Section 221 of the Constitution (supra) hereunder reproduced: “S.221: No association, other than a political party, shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the funds of any political party or to the election expenses of any candidate at an election.” A political party is an abstraction. It has to canvass for votes through its members as agents, in the same way it contests, wins or loses elections through a candidate it nominates who acts as its agent. There is no provision for independent candidates. The candidate nominated to contest at an election by his party acts as an agent of his party. *He is, as it were, an agent of a disclosed principal and as far as third parties are involved, benefits and liabilities accruing to the candidate (as agent) belong to his party (the disclosed principal).*

If an agent (candidate) of the party dies, or withdraws from the contest, the political party can substitute the dead candidate or the candidate who has withdrawn from the election with another candidate (agent) subject to the provisions of the Act. There is continuity as the new candidate starts and continues from where the previous candidate stopped.

Thus, the vehicle which is the political party keeps moving though different persons may be passed the steering to keep the car moving on track.

It should be noted however, that in the case of David Umahi, there is no express provision of the Constitution on what amounts to resignation or what steps should be taken in the case a Governor wishes to resign. There is therefore a lacuna in law which the court may be required to resort to doing justice according to the spirit and principles of the Constitution as against express provision that is not available. The earlier decision of the Supreme Court that defecting from sponsoring political party does not amount to resignation may not be conclusive as resignation was not the main issue considered in that case but removal. Further, there was no dispute about ownership of the votes cast. It was a case filed by Atiku Against Obasanjo contending that Obasanjo cannot remove him from office. This is different from this case where PDP is laying claim to it’s votes. There is a world of difference between removal and resignation. The constitution has elaborate provisions on removal which is the function of House of assembly in the case of Governor as provided in section 188 but merely mentioned resignation in section 180(1)(c) as mode of ceasing to be Governor without any further particulars.

Unfortunately, even the Interpretation Act does not make provision for resignation to fill in the gap in the Constitution. Thus, a resort to sound constitutional principles of our democracy may not be out of order. Therefore, a resort to resolution of the Supreme Court in Yahaya Bello’s case that votes casted belong to the political party for the purpose of taking benefit or liabilities of such votes is in order. Thus, the requirement for qualification to be Governor must remain through out the term of office. If you loose a requirement then you have lost the foundation to stand. It is for this reason that the Constitution requires a Governor who lost mental capacity to be removed. By parity of reasoning the requirement that a Governor must be a member of a political party and sponsored by that party must be met through out the period in office. You cannot divorce your wife and still enjoy her claiming conjugal rights at night. Leave her and leave the “oza room”.

In the absence of any specific legislation, the Federal High Court is in good footing to rely on previous judicial precedent to hold that the 393, 042 votes casted to the PDP in 2019 election belong to the PDP alone and cannot be transferred to APC. Incidentally in PDP v. INEC Buni Haruna of Adamawa was allowed to inherit the votes of his Party PDP when Atiku left vacant the Governor’s seat without resignation to become Vice President. The argument that Umahi has immunity and should not be sued is a big joke. The law is settled that once your seat as Governor is challenged, then your immunity is challenged and cannot be a cover for you. This is why I was able to summon a Deputy Governor a couple of years back when I was doing a Petition against him. His argument on immunity was discarded with wave of hand. It is also preposterous to suggest that this type of dispute between political party and it’s erstwhile candidate over ownership of votes be referred to House of Assembly. The House of Assembly has no jurisdiction to determine this question. It is a suitable dispute for the court to exercise jurisdiction. Thus, head or tail, the case is within jurisdiction of the Court.

What is however confusing from newspaper report of the judgment of the Federal High court is the allusion to suppose alternative orders made by the Court. With profound respect to the Court, if the report is anything to go by, it fell into grave error making alternative orders that PDP should nominate fresh Governor and Deputy Governor or INEC should conduct fresh election. This has set in confusion and rendered the judgment ambiguous without knowing which specific order to obey. It would have been neater for the Court to make one bold stand of making one specific order. As it stands, it appears the Court is submitting it orders to whims and caprices of the INEC or PDP to decide what happens as we do not know which of the alternative orders they may pick to obey. That should not have being. Least I forget this decision and the earlier decision of the Federal High Court on Zamfara State which ran contrary to this are all appealable and subject to review by the Court of Appeal. They may also end up in Supreme Court where a final decision will be made.

For now, it is enough, logical and sound to remember that in a battle between the political party and candidate as to who owns the votes cast at election, the law will favour the political party. This is also in accord with new proviso to section 136(2) of Electoral Act 2022.

I shall be reviewing the provisions of the new Electoral Act 2022 this Saturday and Sunday. Keep following for update.

P. D. Pius, Esq
Abuja, Nigeria
piusdanba@gmail.com

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Daily News

HOW CP YUSUF KOLO IS CHANGING THE SECURITY  NARRATIVE IN ZAMFARA STATE

Published

on

Monday Editorial

—————————————————————

It has become clearly imperative for this medium to blow the trumpet for the newly deployed Commissioner of Police Mr. Yusuf Kolo who since his deployment has helped change the security narrative about the genuine fight against armed banditry in the state.

 

The deployment of this experienced Police officer has no doubt assisted greatly in improving the security situation of Zamfara state especially the stellar measures he adopted which are increasing social and economic stability in the state.

Reading about his CV and the career he has built in the service of the Nigeria Police Force, it has no doubt raised the hope of the people because for sometimes now Zamfara people had been agitating for deployment of capable Police officer who is vast in terms of security management and fighting insecurity.

 

For sometimes now, Thunder Blowers had carefully observed that, there is effective patrol and surviellance along the major highways in Zamfara State From Gada-Biyu Round about to Bimasa the Zamfara border town with Sokoto, one may clearly understand that this fine Police officer and gentleman Mr. Yusuf Kolo is ready to deliver his best to the restoration of security architecture  in Zamfara state.

This strategy is also effective at the Gusau-Kaura-Namoda and  Gusau-Gurbin Bore border with Katsina and Gusau-Tsafe-Yankara highways respectively. Within the capital city of Gusau again, there are various check-points mounted within all the strategic positions of Gusau and criminality has really reduced to the barest minimum.

 

It is evident that, there is serious stop-and-search operations in all the strategic locations in the state. and the recent arrest of some miscreants involved in various criminal activities is a clear indicator that, things are getting better with the new Police Commissioner’s arrival.

 

It is on record that, since his  assumption in office there has never been a major armed banditry attack in Zamfara except that of Zugu which took place at the bridge of his taking-over of the mantle of leadership of the State Police Command.

His tour of the divisions and formations across the state and his interaction with the officers on Duty Posts has really risen the hope of the people of the state. More importantly, the visitation to the traditional institutions and his engagement with them which had surely manifested in his recent achievements recorded.

 

We were keenly apt at the manner at which the Police Commissioner is personally moving round the streets of Gusau at the dark of the night to monitor the conduct of the operations of his men. His pictures are all over the social media moving with the other galant police officers working with full force to ensure that people slept with their two  eyes closed.

Residents of  areas of Gusau and outskirts including Damba, Tsunami, Mareri and  the rest are all grateful to this visionary tactical Police officer Mr. Yusuf Kolo for his commitment to ensuring that their hearts are at rest. For instance,from Lalan  to Damba,the level of Police enforcement along that area in the night is adding to the relative stability of the people.

 

What inspired people more is the manner at which the Police Commissioner Mr. Yusuf Kolo has effectively but tactically engaged the Nigerian Bar Association to develop strategies on how to jointly speed up the administration of criminal justice system in the state.

Our prayer is for the Police Commissioner to passionately sustain the momentum and continue to work hand in hand with the critical stakeholders to double this commitment, It is indeed wonderful and promising if the momentum is sustained.

 

Our conclusion on the steawardship of Police commissioner Mr. Yusuf Kolo is that his achievements speak volumes that he is matching his  academic credentials, his experience with these practical achievements.

 

We at Thunder Blower wish  you all the best as your partners in the fight against crime and insecurity in Zamfara  State.

Continue Reading

Daily News

ONLY GENUINE MECHANISM OF RECONCILIATION CAN ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF APC IN ZAMFARA

Published

on

 

—————————————————————
By virtue of the reconciliation we are all part of Governor Bello Matawalle family and he needs to treat all of us with justice and fairness. It is only justice and fairness that can guarantee solidarity and peaceful political atmosphere.
———————————————

Hon. Abubakar Yanware is a die-hard supporter of the former Governor of Zamfara Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar and a strong stakeholder in the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in Zamfara state.

He was among the APC aspirants that contested for the State Assembly post from Tsafe and wanted to contest the APC Primaries for 2023 elections with the current Deputy Speaker of Zamfara Hon. Musa Bawa Tsafe before the APC reconciliation dashed away the hope of  people like him.

He shared his perspectives with the Managing Editor regarding the political reconciliation in the Zamfara APC and raise his concern on matters arising and also shared his perspectives on what is to be done to ensure that the party remains strong and united.

—————————————————————

WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE ON-GOING RECONCILIATION IN ZAMFARA APC?

Well, people have their own ways of assessing a political situation or rather have their different ways of reacting to a situations especially when issues involved politics and political developments but for me, there are more to see than one can understand about the Zamfara APC reconciliation.

The leaders namely former Governor Yari, Governor Matawalle and Sen. Kabiru Marafa may be entering into the peace deal with all sense of sincerity because they may want to bring an end to the lingering crises in the APC, but that may not be a true reflection of the mindset of their supporters.

And remember, they have a limit to which they can influence the same spirit into the minds of their supporters because decision-making in politics goes with the perception of the game players here I mean the party supporters.

So, the leaders of the APC in Zamfara, especially Governor Matawalle and former Governor Yari need to take time and make review of the progress recorded from the reconciliation and begin to reach out to their genuine supporters.

I will say this with clear voice our supporters from the site of Yari the former Governor still have reservations with this reconciliation arrangement within Zamfara APC and something very urgent needs to be done to save the party from collapsing.

FROM YOUR PERCEPTION, IT SEEMS MANY PEOPLE WITHIN THE APC ESPECIALLY FROM THE CAMP OF YARI AND MARAFA HAVE NOT ACCEPTED THE RECONCILIATION?

This is the reality of the situation many people have reservation about this Zamfara APC reconciliation and our leaders need to accept this as the true reflection of what is on the ground and begin to reach out to their supporters.

I am not part of those objecting to the reconciliation and all my supporters are with the reconciliation move hundred percent because I make sure that the moment the political reconciliation was perfected by our leaders I came back home and put my house in order by appealing to my supporters to forget the differences and join hand with the former Governor Yari in the new move.

But I am telling you, many of my political status across the (14) local governments especially those from the camp of former Governor Yari can not convince their supporters to accept the peace initiative entered into by our leaders and this shall be seen as a big problem because you cannot be relying on uncertain political structure to win election.

The feedback we are receiving from the communities is that people cannot be forced to continue to accept decision in the APC without them being properly consulted and this is the exact problem with the current arrangements entered into by our leaders, and for me, their resistance is a concern that need to be addressed with all sense of urgency.

BUT ARE YOUR POLITICAL LEADERS ESPECIALLY FORMER GOVERNOR YARI AWARE Of THIS DEVELOPMENTS?

I am sure he must be aware because he has ears to the ground and I believed from the exit of strong party men like Maibuhu Gummi and rest the former Governor must understand that all is not well with the reconciliation move within his camp.

The Governor, on the other hand, must understand that Yari is facing resistance from his supporters because steps that are supposed to be taken to ensure justice and fairness to all party members were not instituted.

Former Governor Yari may not speak this out for some strategic reasons but as wings to the politics of Yari we have to say this with all sense of modesty that politicians from Yari camp need to be accommodated so that their supporters can feel a sense of belonging politically.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU WANT GOV. YARI TO DO IN MANAGING THIS TYPE OF SITUATION.

I think the former Governor has done his best because since when the political reconciliation started he has been taking steps to ensure that his supporters are contacted, and I know how active he has been working to ensure that sanity is restored within his camp.

I believe it is not enough because time is not on our site and campaign will soon start and there is strong need to reach out to the people because the resistance is really telling bad of our political chances.

Recently, we have lost many people to PDP, and it is not to our best interest politically and all these are happening because there are no extended consultations with the members of the party at the grassroots.

If it means the former Governor should form a committee of consultation, so be it because it is important we get this problem addressed before the main campaign started.

WHAT DO YOU THINK, GOV. MATAWALLE SHOULD HAVE DONE TO SUPPORT YARI CAMP WHO ARE MOST AGGRIEVED IN THIS ARRANGEMENT?

The Governor needs to open his government and accommodate those serious hands from the camp of Yari so that they can have a sense of belonging politically.

By virtue of the reconciliation we are all part of his family members and he needs to treat all of us with justice and fairness and it is only justice and fairness that can guarantee solidarity and peaceful political atmosphere.

We knew the Governor may be facing similar challenges from his camp also, but that is the spirit of political reconciliation because the arrangements shall be “no-winner-no loser”.

Yari camp shall be given posts of Commissioners, Special Advisers and Council Sole Administrators that is justice and if this is done many concerns coming from supporters that have made sacrifices for Yari can be addressed.

Many of my readers would be looking at my position to be too primitive, but that is the only way out. If you go to my local government Tsafe, there are many powerful political forces from Yari and even Marafa camps that are abandoned to their fate, and you think this is healthy democratically?

At least certain percentage of appointments need to be sacrificed to Yari camp so that he can be able to step into the heart of his people, but for now, the Governor had to understand that there is no magic Yari can do to bring stability into his political camp than getting his supporters accommodated.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CHANCES OF THE APC CANDIDATES IN THE FORTH-COMING 2023 ELECTION IN ZAMFARA?

My answer to this question may not be different from my earlier position. Let the APC leaders in Zamfara- the Governor, former Governor Yari and rest put in genuine mechanism of reconciliation and be just and fair to their followers. Anything short of this no one can predict the end result of the APC political journey in 2023.

I am saying this because I know the kind of reaction that is coming from the people, and it is only justice that can help resolve the current state of uncertainty in the APC of Zamfara.

We know there are many candidates that are more popular in their respective constituencies, but the reconciliation had dashed their hope and political chances and these candidates are left without any arrangements.

You know this is a fact that those who had the opportunity to secure the ticket were only considered for some strategic reasons of reconciliation, not because they are better than the rest in terms of their political popularity.

YOU CONTESTED FOR THE POST OF STATE ASSEMBLY BEFORE THE RECONCILIATION EDGED YOU OUT OF THE ARITHEMETICS WERE YOU CONSULTED BY THE PARTY ORTHE CANDIDATE WHO HAPPENED TO BE DEPUTY SPEAKER?

Neither the party nor the candidate reached out to me since after the party primaries and it was the same thing with all the other aspirants that were aged out as a result of the political reconciliation.

What I expected the party to do was to set up a genuine reconciliation mechanisms that will make people like us who invested in the development of the party have a sense of belonging.

The implications of what is happening within the APC Zamfara is that people like us will be made to move aside and be watching things as they unfold, since the party does not consider us as stakeholders that are needed to win election.

But the APC needs to know that stakeholders like us cannot be abandoned to their fates because it can constitute a political redline to to the party.

It has been the same complaint all over but I wish the party can see reason why it shall reach out to us and carry us along as critical stakeholders.

Continue Reading

Daily News

POWER OUTAGE: ZMSG TO FIX BRAND-NEW ELECTRIC TRANSFORMER IN TSAFE

Published

on

Zamfara state Governor had deployed a powerful delegation to inspect the condition of power distribution transformer at Tsafe power station on Monday.

The delegation was headed by the State Commissioner for Health Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe, Special Adviser to Zamfara Governor on Urban and Rural Electrification (DURET), technical staff of the Directorate as well as some powerful politicians in the local government.

The Commissioners who listen to the technical brief by the Directorate officials said the Governor of Zamfara Bello Matawalle was deeply worried when he received the news of the power outage at Tsafe and instantly ordered for on the spot inspection of the power transmission station.

Aliyu Abubakar Tsafe said based on the briefing by the DURET, the transformer which is measured at 2.5 (mba) was too small for the power consumption of Tsafe town, and it’s environ.

He said hence it was suggested that the new transformer to be installed be upgraded to at least 7.5(mba) he will intimate the Governor immediately and get the commitment of the state government in making sure that the problem is addressed out rightly.

He assured that the Governor will do what is right for the people of Tsafe local government by fixing brand-new transformer of high capacity since the existing one is no longer serviceable.

Furthermore, he thanked the people of Tsafe for sustaining their loyalty to the government of Bello Matawalle and assured that the government will do all that are needed to making Tsafe people comfortable.

In a remark, the Special Adviser Directorate of Urban and Rural Electrification (DURET) Alh Muhammad Shinkafi commended the Governor for his prompt response to the plight of Tsafe people and urged them to continue to extend their support to the government.

One of the elder statesmen in the local government Samaila Mudi Tsafe commended the Governor for taking the appropriate step of responding to the complaint of power problem in the Tsafe local government area and urged him to speedily fulfilled the pledge so that citizens of Tsafe can have a sight of relief.

Continue Reading

Trending