Friday, 25 February 2011

Abuja Federal High Court has exempted five governors from April election

Abuja Federal High Court has exempted five ruling party governors from facing re-election in April, as their terms have not yet expired. Judge Adamu Bello said the governors, who took up their posts a year after most of their colleagues, could not participate in the election "until 60 days to the expiration of (their four year) tenures."

Bello added that it would be "unlawful" and "illegal" for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stage elections in Kogi, Adamawa, Sokoto, Bayelsa and Cross River states.

Speaking about his decision, Bello noted: “There is nowhere in the world where a constitution takes retroactive effect as erroneously held by INEC. The said amendment cannot be used to determine the tenure of the governors who took oath of office in 2008…INEC cannot validly conduct elections in the five states until 60 days to the expiration of the tenures of the present occupants. The notice of elections, received nominations, and timetable issued by INEC for the April 2011 elections are unlawful, illegal and contrary to section 180 of the constitution.”

The five governors who went to court to prevent the INEC from forcing them to take part in the elections before they had completed their full terms are: Ibrahim Idris of Kogi state; Timipriye Sylva, Bayelsa state; Liyel Imoke, Cross River state; Murtala Nyako, Adamawa state and Aliyu Wammakko of Sokoto state.

Sources: The Washington Post, My Joy Online, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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