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March 4, 20207min1710

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Tuesday, said that the victory of his party in Imo State was “very sweet” but the apex court decision in Bayelsa was a stolen mandate.

He took a swipe at the Court saying it was not the duty of courts to award victory to a candidate who had not initially been declared the winner of an election.

Oshiomhole stated this after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja after the Supreme Court ruling.

He hinted at plans to propose an amendment to the Electoral Act where, in the case of a dispute rather than award of victory to a different person, the court will only be capable of ordering a re-run.

Oshiomhole said: “I think it is refreshing and quite predictable in the sense that from the attitude of the Supreme Court, last week, on Bayelsa that nothing was wrong with the candidate. The lower court did not disqualify the candidate, the issue of the candidate was not before the Supreme Court and yet the Supreme Court made a decision which we thought that the PDP benefited from, in the words of Mr. Olanipekun, some human corrections and the court said no whatever they have done was final.

“If that is the tradition of the court unless they want to be changing it every other day I do not see what has happened today as strange. We know that Ihedioha did not have the required number and that is a fact that nobody has ever disputed.

“How anybody thought he can impose someone who did not meet the spread is only known to PDP because they specialize in rigging and they see rigging as their birth right.

“And that is why they could have the guts to be protesting in front of foreign embassies as if Nigeria is a colony under the supervision of some foreign powers.

“So I think what the Supreme Court has done today is just to reaffirm that they are Supreme and whatever they did the last time was on the basis of what was before them.

“They did not make mistakes, there are no gaps, no ambiguity and therefore there was no basis to re-approach them to sit on the appeal in their own judgement. I think they are just being consistent with the position they took in previous cases.

“Of course as a party chairman, APC members and indeed all Democrats and all those who believe in the rule of law, who believe that as imperfect as the Supreme Court can be, they remain Supreme.

“ We are happy and we thank God that the whole litigation process has come to an end. Because like Justice …said in that judgement that there has to be an end to litigation, and I cannot agree less so that the people of Imo state can relax, sit back and work with their governor and that all hands are on deck to fill up the gaps so that Imo people will witness sustainable growth and development.”

“You have made an assumption which is not supported by fact, mainly by the speculation and the roadside talks by some elements in PDP, suggesting that there was over-voting if you add the votes that were ignored.

“Those are not proven because if they were, it was up to their counsel to provide evidence that it was more than the registered votes, not to go and sit on television.

“Matters before the court are canvassed before the court. Issues not raised in the court cannot be raised on television. I assume your question is informed by those uninformed, self-serving speculations. They don’t merit my reaction.

“What I think that we must discuss as a people, which concerns you and I as Nigerians, who believe in democracy, is that the law should be amended, such that no matter what happens, when people have voted, they cannot be dismissed as ‘April Fool’.

“You can’t say that although you have voted, and at the time you did so, you voted in good faith, believing that the candidates before you on parade were competent to be so paraded and as a Nigerian voter you voted, then at some other time some other person tells you that the man you voted is not qualified either because of error in his name or because of chieftaincy title or whatever reason as to lead to disqualification.

“That cannot be the reason why a man who was rejected by the electorate would be imposed on the electorate. Court should not impose. If the court finds out that the preferred candidate did not win, for me the only democratic option, legal option will be to repeat the exercise.

“Nothing should empower the court to impose a man rejected by the people, on the people. That goes to the heart of democracy and it destroys the fabric of our democratic process.

“So in amending the Electoral Act, one of the things I’ll like to see the Parliament do and we are going to make a representation, is that in the unlikely event that the people have voted in good faith, for a candidate that was validly put before them by INEC, and looking at the faces of the candidates they opted for a particular one, if anybody has any issue with that one that the people prefer and has won, the court cannot impose the person that was rejected.

“The very best the court can do is to order that the exercise be repeated because in a democracy, nobody, other than the people, can choose who governs them, not the courts. For me this is fundamental when it comes to who actually won the election,’’ he said.

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