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Ondo guber election: Let the will of the people count always

Ondo guber election: Let the will of the people count always
July 30
09:51 2021

BY ABIODUN PABIEKUN OLUFOWOBI

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With due respect to the sacrosanct position of the supreme court on this and other Sui generis emerging issues of technicality bestriding our electoral jurisprudence like a colossus, I respectfully plead that the SC hold tenaciously to the substance and spirit of the electoral laws in these election petitions and push back hard against the voracious contention of the parade of technical justice otherwise, one day a passer-by will be pronounced winner of an election or governor merely because he is a taxpayer in the state and he witnessed the election.

Extremely incredible as that may sound, the quantum of “technical” judgments being pursued by our politicians pursuant to legal technicalities and political expediency may just lead us to that damning position one day.

Albeit, I agree with the locus classicus in UAC vs Mcfoy that nothing can be built on a void. I also agree with the dated maxim of “Quod Ab Initio Non Valet In tractu temporis non convalesait” (That which was originally void does not by lapse of time become valid.)

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However, I am strongly of the opinion that by the substance and critical nature of elections to our nascent democratic structure, no tenuous technicality shall be allowed to override the will of the people as expressed in an election.

On that count, I further humbly submit that even if the APC Interim Chairman Mai Mala Buni had violated any law in holding a parallel office leading to the Ondo state election complained about, it is gratifying that the SC patriotically acquitted itself by holding that such a deficiency was not weighty enough or occasioned any injustice for such to defeat the will of the people who voted without any knowledge of Buni or his office.

Moreover, what injustice did the person holding the chairman of the APC constitute to the opposition PDP candidate in the election? Nothing but a straw near a drowning person. We should as a matter of urgency seek a cap to the judicial intervention in the electoral process on the altar of technicality and political expediency otherwise we shall one day hand over Oba’s baby to Osun.

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Imagine if the Adams Oshiomole had approached the courts to shoot down the imposition of Buni on the APC and Buni had gone ahead to have acted in the capacity of chairman of the APC in the Ondo state election. If the court agreed with the Oshio push, then on the altar of technicality, Rotimi Akeredolu’s election may just have been nullified and the popular vote of the Ondo people rendered impotent. That in my estimation will have been a political tragedy.

Methinks, we should rejig our electoral laws to dwell principally on victory only upon the quantum of valid votes of the people. Once majority voted for the candidate of a registered political party in an election, the only ground available to vitiate those majority votes should be cogent issues about the voting process e.g proved electoral malpractices and not some technical issues extraneous to the voting process.

The average Ondo voter does not know Buni or his office and it would have been criminal disenfranchisement to deprive such the power of his vote on the altar of a political shenanigan outside and independent of his will. I salute the majority decision of the SC to uphold the popular vote and the will of majority of the Ondo people in the governorship election.

Abiodun Pabiekun Olufowobi, a lawyer and public affairs commentator, can be reached on Twitter @pabiekun

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