Thursday, June 1, 2023

Reviewing Kano governorship election amounts to gross illegality, by Abba Hikima

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tiamin rice

Various sources confirmed to me that the powers that be have relocated to Abuja to mount all sorts of pressure on INEC and others in order to get Kano’s election reviewed and people’s mandate thwarted.

This they expect to realise before the end of the 7 days review window which empowers the electoral umpire to review declaration and return made either involuntarily or illegally.

INEC must resist all temptations in this direction. Reviewing any state’s electoral status quo after voluntarily declaration will not only be the height of malfeasance on INEC’s part, but will most likely culminate into a serious security blunder which the electoral body will forever live to regret. This I believe is the logic behind Section 65 of the Electoral Act rendering INEC’s power in this regard purely discretionary.

In Kano’s case, the APC will be calling on INEC to commit a flagrant illegality by asking it to review its declaration evidently founded on the law ab initio. Whether rightly or wrongly, the returning officer for the state relied on the provisions of law to return Abba K Yusuf elected. It is not therefore within INEC’s power, for any reason, to reinterpret or reapply the law in Kano’s situation.

The INEC does not have the vires to sit on appeal on its on decision which ab initio was premised on legal considerations. We all heard the REC when he relied on scenario number 2 of the election manual on management of lead margin to make his decision on behalf of electoral umpire. Whether or not he was right in such consideration, it is a case for the courts to adjudicate. It the reason why courts are inherently imbued with the power to apply laws and factual circumstances. The INEC must not ridicule itself by assuming and usurping the courts’ power of review of administrative actions.

On the moral side, Kano REC’s decision last Saturday was what redeemed the commission’s lost glory in the eyes of Kano people after its 2019’s daylight electoral robbery. It’s such a feat that mustn’t be tampered with. INEC must guard its sanctity and integrity jealousy. More so that the APC is not devoid of options to ventilate its grievances and get the same result.

Mr Hikima, a lawyer, writes from Kano

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