By Prof Chika Moore.
Let me first assume that there is an error in filling the INEC EC9 form by Prof Soludo. That means that the Constituency required is with respect to the office contested for (the preceding question). In this case, the correct response would have been “Anambra” or “Anambra State”. Thus, there is an error in filling “Aguata II – Anambra”. The question now becomes “Is his victory at the gubernatorial election legally voidable on this ground alone?” I think NOT. Why?
(1) There is no Governorship office to be contested for in Aguata II, so there is no confusion neither is there any deceit nor discernible intent to deceive. In fact, confusion and/or deceit become an issue, in this instance, only if the office in the contest is State Assembly.
(2) The “Anambra” in the response, therefore, becomes a fair and reasonable identifier of the Constituency required. This is in line with the rule of reasonableness.
(3) I think that the position of the law, as distilled in Supreme Court ruling, (apologies to counsel in the house, I am merely looking inside from the outside) is that any technicality that can be used to void such a mandate must go to the meat of the mandate; that is, must deceitfully misrepresent in order to confer an undue and unfair advantage or create manifest confusion with regard to the mandate not resolvable by recourse to reasonableness.
(4) I am persuaded that INEC must have applied the reasonableness (no mischief rule) in this instance and in many other instances.
(5) I am further persuaded that the electoral act and relevant provisions of the law have purposely given INEC reasonable latitude (within confines, of course) to deal with such matters as an “independent” body. Not that such determinations are ipso facto not justiceable but that courts take due cognizance of the latitude given.
My point, therefore, is that even when one allows that an error has occurred in the completion of the INEC EC9 Form, it will be an “actus futulus”, waste of resources and destructive distraction to approach the courts seeking to void Prof. Chukwuma Soludo’s and APGA’s victory at the polls. Normally. Unless an Imotype (sincere apologies to ndiImo) ambush/mischief is afoot! I will, however, quickly allow that it is completely within their rights to approach the courts for such determinations.
My angst is not directed at those whose purpose is to deepen our democratic tenets and rule of law; it is directed at mischief-makers and chance fishers who are just looking for any straw to grab. They should let Soludo and APGA be. The expectations of the people, not just NdiAnambra but NdiIgbo, Nigerians and more from Soludo are extremely high. He needs this time of calmness, after the euphoria and celebration of the victory and before he actually assumes office, to make detailed plans for his governance.
Could we stop the noise and let him THINK!
Just my tukkobo!