National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has accused the judiciary in the country of rubbishing the democracy by making an “April Fool” of the electorate.
He therefore wants the electoral laws to be amended, “such that no matter what happens, when people have voted, they cannot be dismissed as ‘April Fool’.
“You can’t say that although you have voted, and at the time you did so, you voted in good faith, believing that the candidates before you on parade were competent to be so paraded and as a Nigerian voter you voted, then at some other time some other person tells you that the man you voted is not qualified either because of error in his name or because of chieftaincy title or whatever reason as to lead to disqualification: that cannot be the reason why a man who was rejected by the electorate would be imposed on the electorate.”
Oshiomhole, who answered reporters’ questions today, March 3 at the presidential villa in Abuja stressed: “court should not impose. If the court finds out that the preferred candidate did not win, for me the only democratic option, legal option will be to repeat the exercise. Nothing should empower the court to impose a man rejected by the people, on the people. That goes to the heart of democracy and it destroys the fabric of our democratic process.”
He wanted the parliament to be serious about amending the Electoral Act to make it clear that in the unlikely event that the people have voted in good faith, for a candidate that was validly put before them by INEC, and looking at the faces of the candidates they opted for a particular one, if anybody has any issue with that one that the people prefer and has won, the court cannot impose the person that was rejected.
The APC boss who said that his party would make strong representation on this matter, said that the very best the court should be made to do is to order that the exercise be repeated “because in a democracy, nobody, other than the people, can choose who governs them, not the courts.
“For me this is fundamental when it comes to who actually won the election. The issue of whether Muhammed, Muhammadu or Momoh, whether they are one and the same person is too technical for the real electorate to bother about, when there are no two people parading themselves as to suggest whether there’s a case of impersonation. “This system should not be detained by technicalities.
He insisted that at the heart of every judicial pronouncement on elections, it must be who actually won the majority of lawful votes and if for any reason they found themselves compelled to nullify that person, they should not be empowered to award governorship to a man rejected by the electorate, otherwise, what is democracy about?
“Now, the man in Bayelsa is going to govern a state that did not mandate him, purely on technical grounds. Nations are not governed by technicalities, they are governed by people popularly elected. “That is the democracy we chose. This is not partisan issue at all, it’s about democracy. Court cannot impose losers as winners, for me it’s too fundamental.
“They must take advantage of the amendment to make it impossible for anyone to be so imposed on the basis of technicalities. We can do a rerun ten times, but only the man popularly elected can govern, otherwise, in a democracy, as they say, the people deserve the government that they have.
“In this case, you are going to have a government which the majority didn’t vote for superintending over their resources and presiding over their lives. I think that is the kind of amendment I’ll like to see.”