A Constitutional Lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, says the consensus arrangement by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its national executive officers is a violation of the Electoral Act 2022.
Ajulo made this assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, making reference to Section 82(3) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“It provides that the election of members of the executive committee or other governing body of a political party, including the election to fill a vacant position shall be conducted democratically.’’
He said the section further allowed members of the party or duly elected delegates to vote in support of a candidate of their choice.
Ajulo, who has a PhD in Law, said that the provision means that the only mode of election of members of the executive committee or governing body of a political party shall be by direct or indirect election.
“It therefore implies that the Electoral Act, 2022 has expressly abrogated consensus mode of election of members of the executive committee or other governing body of a political party.’’
The lawyer said that the position of law was clear to the effect that the provisions of the constitution or a statute should not be interpreted in isolation.
“It is settled that in interpreting the provisions or section of a statute or indeed the constitution, such provisions or sections should not be read in isolation of the other parts.’’
He said that the statute or constitution should be read as a whole in order to determine the intendment of the makers of the statute or constitution.
According to him, it is therefore apposite to draw inference from other provision of the Electoral Act, 2022 in order to arrive at a holistic conclusion.
“Section 84(2) of the Act provides that the procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct, indirect primaries or consensus.
“Section 84(9) of the Act further provides that political party that adopts a consensus candidate shall secure the written consent of all cleared aspirants for the position,”
According to him, this indicates their voluntary withdrawal from the race and their endorsement of the consensus candidate.
He said that the provisions of sections 84(2) and 84(9) of the Electoral Act specifically deal with conduct of party primaries
“One point that is clear is that if the drafters of the Act would have permitted consensus mode of election of members of the executive of a political party, it would have been stated.”
Ajulo however said that it was safe to conclude that the drafters never intended that consensus mode should be applied in the election of members of executive of a political party.
He said it was imperative to advise decision-makers of APC to be wary of the harms that would be occasioned if the members of the executive of the party were elected by consensus mode.
He said that if the consensus was used at the National Convention of the APC, it could be challenged by appropriate party members with potential disastrous consequences for the party at the general election.
He therefore admonished the party to immediately resort to direct or indirect mode of electing members of the executive at the National Convention.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the APC has adopted a consensus mode of electing its party executives ahead of its national convention slated for March 26.
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