Rights Advocate and constitutional lawyer, Dr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has predicted danger ahead of the 2019 election following Sunday’s declaration of Osun State governorship election as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Ozekhome in a statement made available to newsmen said that the action of INEC was a blow to the nation’s constitutional democracy, adding that ‘Section 179(2)(a)(b) of the 1999 constitution proves that Adeleke and the PDP won and met the electoral requirements to be formally declared winners of the Osun State election.”
According to him, Osun election is an ominous sign of the farce to expect in 2019.
Ozekhome further accused APC of using “Electoral arm, INEC, to do the unthinkable, that which is clearly illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and a brazen assault on our sensibilities and constitutional democracy.”
His statement reads in part: “INEC has earned for itself the inglorious reputation of holding inconclusive elections (Kogi, Bayelsa, et al), and working in cahoots with the ruling APC, always eager to do its dirty electoral bidding, to commit daylight robbery of votes.
“This, they have just done to Adeleke’s votes, to defeat the will and legitimate franchise of the good people of Osun state. I wholly condemn this ludicrous mockery of our electoral process and constitutionalism.”
“There was no legal, constitutional, or moral basis for the electoral umpire to have declared the election inconclusive since the country’s constitution only recognised lawful and valid votes in declaring a candidate winner of an election.
“This presupposes that some votes would be unlawful and invalid. Consequently, where votes are cancelled or invalidated for any reason, howsoever, including for being invalid and unlawful, such votes are immediately and automatically cancelled, deducted and consigned to the dustbin of history.
“In any case, it was not wholesale results in the election that were voided and cancelled. Only votes that INEC had adjudged illegitimate due to irregularities were voided and cancelled.
“This cancellation and voidance of illegitimate votes affected all the political parties, not just APC and PDP, but especially Omisore’s SDP whose two strongest fortes in Ife axis were badly affected.
“Such voided votes are ignored and unreckoned with, for they are a non sequitur. They are as dead as dodo.
“Having failed to viciously intimidate and rig the elections as they did in Ekiti State, due to the people’s courageous resistance, the APC has now used its electoral arm, INEC, to do the unthinkable, that which is clearly illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and a brazen assault on our sensibilities and constitutional democracy.
“Section 179(2)(a)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (the grundnorm and supreme law of the land ), is crystal clear and unambiguous that Adeleke and PDP have won and met the electoral requirements to be formally declared winners of the Osun State election.
“It provides: “A candidate for an election to the office of a governor of a state shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being two or more candidates: (a) he has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and (b) he has not less than one-quarter of all the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the state”.
“Adeleke satisfied the provision. In Osunbor v Oshiomhole (2007) 18 NWLR (part 1065) 32, cancelled votes had been counted and added to PDP/Osunbor’s scores.
“The courts, up to the Supreme Court, held that when votes are cancelled, they are not reckoned with in determining the outcome of such an election. The courts thereafter deducted the invalidated votes and this gave victory to Oshiomhole in the hotly contested election.”