Election: Stop Politicising 25% Requirement In FCT, Lawyer Counsels Colleagues
A renowned constitutional lawyer, Dr Olukayode Ajulo, has counselled lawyers in the country to be wary of politicising the issue of obtaining 25 per cent in FCT as a requirement to win the Presidential election.
Ajulo stated this while exchanging views with newsmen yesterday in Abuja against the backdrop of some lawyers insisting that securing 25 per cent of votes in FCT was necessary to secure victory for any presidential candidate.
The Tide source recalls that only Mr Peter Obi, the candidate of Labour Party secured 25 per cent in FCT in the February 25 General Elections, while the President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu, the APC candidate, scored 20 per cent
This has generated a lot of comments and reactions from legal practitioners, while some insist on the 25 per cent, others said the FCT should be treated as a state.
Ajulo, however, said politics had been mixed with law in order to please certain quarters of the political class, adding that it was a dangerous mix.
Ajulo said “there is politics, and there is law and while they can sometimes intersect, they should not be muddled up when discussing pertinent legal issues.”
He said such legal issues had the potential of affecting the nationhood of the country and the collective development of her citizens.
He stated that it was disturbing the way some of his professional colleagues analysed issues of 25 per cent requirement, saying some of the comments were uncomfortable and a gross misinterpretation.
“Some lawyers give certain legal opinions they do not even believe in because of politics, it is the common man on the streets that suffers this dangerous game of deliberate misinterpretation of our laws”, he said.
Ajulo said the deliberate misinterpretation of some lawyers was a mockery of the nation’s constitution and the legal profession, adding that such had a way of turning to hunt its makers.
He reiterated that it was imperative to set the record straight amidst the brouhaha surrounding the interpretation of section 134(2) of the Constitution and the multifarious explanations by public commentators and senior lawyers.
He further said that there was need to state the true position of the law, devoid of emotion and political sentiments.
“There are two opposing sides in the arguments, those who argue that for a candidate to be declared winner, he must get 25 per cent of the votes cast in FCT asides meeting other constitutional criteria.
“Also, there are those who contend that a candidate needs not poll 25 per cent of the votes cast in FCT to be declared winner, so far as he meets other constitutional requirements”, he noted.
“Candidate for an election to the office of the President shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being more than two candidates for the election.
“First, he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and secondly he has 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 FCT”, he pointed out.
According to him, even though the FCT is not a state, the Constitution has clothed it with the toga of a State and all the powers of a Governor in a State is vested in the Minister of the FCT.
He said, while the Houses of Assembly of the 36 States of the Federation legislate for each State respectively, the National Assembly makes laws for the FCT.
He further said that while the States had their respective Local Government Areas, the FCT also has Area Councils.
The constitutional lawyer said, “ a reasonable, just and sensible interpretation of section 134(2) would then be that scoring 25 per cent of the votes cast in the FCT is like scoring 25 per cent in any other State of the federation.”
Ahead Of Inauguration: Reach Out To Opposition, Kenyatta Urges Tinubu
Former president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, has advised President-elect Bola Tinubu to “overhaul” any “adversarial mindset” and reach out to those aggrieved by the results of the presidential poll to build a more unified Nigeria.
Kenyatta spoke on Saturday while delivering his speech as a guest speaker at the inaugural lecture preceding the swearing in of Tinubu as president of Nigeria.
He advised the president-elect to ensure his leadership encompassed all citizens, regardless of whether or not they supported him during the election process.
The former president of Kenya said Tinubu must surround himself with voices that challenge his own, adding that he will “lose nothing and gain everything by reaching out across the political, ethnic and religious lines”.
“The contest is now over. And the hard work of building a prosperous and unified Nigeria now begins,” Kenyatta said.
“Upon assuming the office of president, you would be wise to transcend from the tactical politics of an election and assume your role as Nigeria’s vision bearer. This will demand a complete overhaul of the adversarial mindset that we, as politicians, are conditioned to embrace during the electoral process.
“As president, you must learn very quickly to lead those who do not love you and those who love you with equal passion and commitment because you are now the father of all.
“Your Excellency, when countries are in election mode, the people and their leaders are more divided than ever and boxed into their various sectarian and partisan interests.
However, when you are the head of state and you take command of the country’s armed forces, you become the embodiment of the sum total of the many different ethnic groups and religions that make up your country, and you become the symbol of unity. Indeed, you have become the face of Nigeria.
“I encourage you to surround yourself with the voices of those who will counterbalance the hardliners that feel entitled to a piece of your office. You will lose nothing and gain everything by reaching out across the political, ethnic and religious lines.
“To those who may feel aggrieved by your victory in one way or another, please allow them to exhale and be part of your vision for a greater Nigeria.
“It is my hope and my prayer that the lessons from across the continent will give you the resolve to walk the difficult path of overcoming those three enemies.
“I started by mentioning the three enemies of nationhood: negative ethnicity, religious discrimination and corruption. As your fellow African, I look forward to a Nigeria that emerges from this transition, ready to flex and fight for its rightful place on the global stage with both hands at the ready.”
Tinubu was declared the winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and he’s billed to be sworn into office on May 29.
However, major opposition parties during the election have gone to court to challenge the outcome of the election.
Last Day In Office, Buhari Apologises For Painful Economic Policies
President Muhammadu Buhari has apologised for the negative impact of some his economic policies on Nigerians.
The president spoke in his farewell broadcast to the nation yesterday.
Buhari acknowledged that some of his administration’s policies caused “temporary pain and suffering” to Nigerians.
He added that although the decisions were “difficult choices, the measures were taken for the overall good of the country”.
“In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results,” the president said.
“Some of the measures led to temporary pain and suffering for which I sincerely apologise to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the over-all good of the country.”
Buhari was elected Nigeria’s president under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, ending the 16-year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
FG Confers Nigerian Citizenship On 385 Foreigners
The Federal Government has conferred Nigerian citizenship on 385 foreign nationals from different continents across the world.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made this known at the 1st 2023 Conferment ceremony of Nigerian citizenship by naturalisation and registration on Saturday in Abuja.
The minister said one of the objectives of the present administration was to lay a solid socio-economic and political foundation that would elevate Nigeria into one of the 20 great economies of the world.
He said to achieve this vision, the federal government was determined to encourage and attract foreigners, investors, resourceful individuals and people with rare talents and unbounded energy into the country.
“Today’s conferment ceremony will be granted to 385 foreigners who have gone through diligent checks by the relevant agencies of state as stipulated by the constitution and have fulfilled all statutory and administrative requirements.
“I need to state that the acquisition of Nigerian citizenship is a great privilege and not everyone that applies becomes successful.
“However, that we have a high number of foreigners willing to become Nigerians is an indication that the ongoing efforts to make Nigeria a destination for investment and peaceful coexistence is beginning to yield good fruits”, he said.
The minister said that it was under the present administration that the largest number of foreigners had been naturalised.
“Between 2011 and 2013, a total of 266 foreigners became Nigerians. In 2017, 335 people took up Nigerian citizenship.
“But last year, 286 foreigners and today at this ceremony, 385, making a total of 671 have acquired Nigerian citizenship.
“I am still not pleased with this figure. In Europe and America, thousands of foreigners are inducted into citizenship every year.
“They do this to attract youths and people in their prime who would like to contribute to the development of their countries.
“The bane of the smooth pathway to Nigerian citizenship, however, is the constitutional requirement of continuous residency in Nigeria for 15 years”, he added.
This, he said, was a huge disincentive, considering that in the U.S. and most European countries, it is five years.
Mr Aregbesola added that some of these countries have made a habit of snatching young and resourceful brains, who after four years of schooling and working for just one year, through easy pathways, obtain migration to their countries.
He, therefore, urged the relevant institutions of state to reconsider this in the next effort at amendment to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Also, while the foreign wives of Nigerian men can automatically become citizens through registration, this same privilege is not available to foreign husbands of Nigerian women”, he lamented.
Mr Aregbesola added that the ministry had been invested with the power to grant permanent residence to foreign nationals who had demonstrated exceptional talents, knowledge and skills in rare fields of Science, Technology and Medicine, among others.
He assured them that they would not regret the decision they have made to become Nigerians, reminding them, however, that every privilege goes with responsibility.
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