A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ntufam Mba Ukweni has disclosed that the protest of All Progressives Congress (APC) regarding the nullification of their governorship candidate David Lyon is futile as the party never had a governorship candidate in the first place.
Ukpeni made the disclosure during an interview with Daily Post. The legal practitioner cautioned protesters to accept the verdict of the Supreme court and avoid destabilizing the governance of the newly sworn-in Governor, Douye Diri.
Ukweni said: “Nobody is complaining that APC won the election but APC was from the beginning not supposed to be in the contest because they had no candidate. The candidate they presented was not qualified for the position, so the court has removed them, the next person, the next highest votes is automatically taking the position because, in the eye of the law, APC did not participate in the election.”
“Before a person goes to pick a deputy, he should be sure that the deputy is qualified to occupy the position, a deputy governorship candidate must be as qualified as the governorship candidate because whatever affects the deputy governorship candidate affects the governor; that is precisely what has happened”.
“So the protest, as far as I am concerned, goes to nothing, it doesn’t make an impression in any person’s mind because the court has spoken, and they are not saying that what the court said was wrong. It would have made some sense for them to say ‘No.’ What the court says or decision of the court is wrong but to go and start protesting that the court should not have removed their candidates when they know themselves that their candidate was not qualified at the first place, is a wrong preposition.”
“So the protest is an attempt to play to the gallery. We should play down on this issue of protest. Even when PDP was going to protest and have been protesting, some of us held the strong view that we should not go into the Street to protest the decision of the court because you will ridicule the process.”
“The court system is built on the reputation of the court, the judiciary, so if a decision is given today against you and you go to castigate the court for giving that decision and tomorrow, a decision is giving to favour you, that is precisely what is playing now.”
“There are procedures; judicial procedures and mechanism for one to express his dissatisfaction with a decision of the court. The judicial system is completely at a parallel angle with the political system.”
Addressing the issue that Lyon’s sack should have been a pre-election decison, Ukweni said, “It doesn’t matter; it was a pre-election matter challenging the legibility of the candidate. The matter went from the trial court to the court of appeal up to the Supreme Court and Supreme Court is the final court on the issue and has taken that position. The matter arose from a pre-trial election dispute,”
“That was the decision of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the final court, they have reviewed the entire case and came out with a position that the deputy governorship of the APC was from the beginning not qualified to be a deputy governorship candidate.
“So they have nullified whatever votes were given to APC because both the deputy governorship candidate and governorship candidate have a joint ticket, it is not separated, it is inseparable. So if there is any virus that affects the Vice, that is the Deputy candidate, it affects the Governorship candidate”.