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Group calls for amendment of 1999 Constitution for 12 months transition period


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Following the result of the recent judgement of the Justice Haruna Tsammani-led Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC), a group, Voters Rights Association of Nigeria (VRAN), has called for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria to provide for 12 months transition handover period.

VRAN made the call in a press statement signed by human rights lawyer and VRAN President, Dr. Jezie Ekejiuba, and made available to News Band.

Rather than blame the panel of judges for the correctness or incorrectness of the judgment delivered on Wednesday September 6,2023, the group urged Nigerians to channel their energies towards “agitating or campaigning for the amendment the flawed 1999 Constitution of Nigeria which has a politically motivated lacuna (gap) which need to be filled so as to be in line with the Kenyan Constitution model in which a declared winner of an election especially the presidential election will not be allowed to be sworn in or form a government until the petition against president-elect’s victory is finally determined by the apex court”.

The group noted that the Kenyan model is the same in the United States, where Nigeria borrowed its presidential system of government from.

It, first and foremost, dropped the poser: “Which judge in Nigeria will be fearless to dethrone a powerful sitting president of Nigeria who have fully formed his government?”

VRAN noted that as long as this lacuna in the 1999 Constitution continues to exist, no Nigerian judge will have the guts to pass a negative judgement.

The statement said: “As long as Nigerian National Assembly continues to allow this lacuna in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended to continue to exist, any person hoping that a Nigerian judge will have the temerity to dethrone a sitting president is only living in fools paradise.

“How do the National Assembly fill this obvious lacuna (gap) in the 1999 Constitution?

“Firstly, there is the urgent need for the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution to provide for 12 Months Transition Handover period between the Outgoing President/Governor/Legislator and the Incoming President/Governor/Legislator.

“The 12 months Transition Handover period will be utilized by the electoral body to fix and conduct the elections.

“Secondly, there is also an urgent need by the National Assembly to amend the Constitution to establish the National Electoral Court of Nigeria (NECON) to also utilise the handover period to determine all the Petitions against the President-elect/Governor-elect/Legislator-elect sitting at Presidential level at Abuja, Governorship level at State Capitals and Legislators Levels at Constituency Headquarters with the final appeal in case of Presidential election at the Supreme Court and in the cases of the Governorship/ Legislative elections at the Court of Appeal.

“All appeals must also be determined during the 12-month Transition Handover period as clearance for the elected politicians to be sworn into office. This is the only way to guarantee an independent and fearless judiciary.

“The current emergency and politically motivated empaneled judges to preside over election matters in Nigeria is an anathema.

“Indeed, the present situation in Nigeria where a presidential election was held on February 25,2023 and the swearing in of the President-elect was on May 29,2023 which is only 4 months Transition Handover period between the Outgoing President and the Incoming President-elect whose victory is subject of pending petition/litigation is to say the least suspicious and patently unreasonable.”

Dr. Ekejiuba, meanwhile, candidly advised Peter Obi and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Labour Party (LP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) respectively to, rather than appeal to the Supreme Court to procure an academic judgment, channel their resources through their opposition parties to agitating or campaigning to amend the Constitution to change the present unjust 4 months transition handover period to 12 months transition handover period as advocated above.

“Also boycotting to go to the Supreme Court of Nigeria on appeal against the just delivered judgment on the 2023 Presidential election is another way of protesting against the present unjust Presidential system of allowing the President-elect whose victory is subject matter of a litigation to be sworn relying on the lacuna in the 1999 Constitution,” Ekejiuba added. Read more.


©Copyright 2023 News Band

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