When I write here, I write with no agenda. I am apolitical and non-partisan. My efforts are always geared to see a better Nigeria. The latest ruling where a governorship tribunal ruled that NYSC is not a requirement and cannot be used to annul an election surprised me. It came the same way as the one in Kano where a candidate was punished because INEC neither stamped nor signed some documents.
Good People, note this: if you go to the presidential IREV, there are thousands of polling units across Nigeria without results, not to talk of being un-signed or unstamped. So, how did the same judiciary allow those units without results to stand, but went to punish a candidate in Kano because INEC presented results, though unsigned?
My message is clear: the judiciary has to be consistent in these rulings. That a tribunal is saying that NYSC is not a requirement is not my concern. My burden is that the judiciary has not been consistent.
The Supreme Court sacked Abdulra’uf Abdulkadir Modibo of Adamawa State in 2019. In a unanimous judgment, a five-man panel held that Modibo was not qualified to stand for election, having not properly participated in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme. What would they tell Modibo now they are saying NYSC is never a requirement?
As I have said, INEC needs to be reformed. It needs to do some fundamental checks on the forms these politicians submit. If the minimum requirement for presidency is WAEC or equivalent, it can at least verify that . In other words, Tinubu and Atiku will not be embarrassing Nigeria in Chicago, if INEC had done its job: verify all secondary school education since university degrees are not even required! In other words, only those who meet the minimum requirements (WAEC) will progress.
Comment 1: Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe,
Contrary to your claim, you certainly have an agenda, albeit misplaced and misinformed. And I worry about the subtle shaping of public opinion against the judiciary by your so called “unbiased” call out of the Nigerian judiciary, which sadly is borne out of your interpretation of recent rulings on electoral issues.
With respect to the case you reference, i.e. case of Abdulrauf Abdulkadir Modibbo vs Mustapha Usman, the Supreme Court ruling was NOT that the NYSC is a compulsory requirement for elective office!
The Supreme Court simply upheld the Petioners claim that AS A SERVING NYSC MEMBER at the time of the primaries, Modibbo was NOT qualified to contest the primaries by virtue of the NYSC Act.
Effectively, the Supreme Court ruling means if you are a serving NYSC member or yet to finish your NYSC mandatory service, you are ineligible to contest for an elective position by virtue of the non partisan requirements of the NYSC.
In refencing the Supreme Court ruling, you should have provided this crucial and salient background to your readers. Note this is not same as the Mbah case, which the petitioners claim Mbah forged the NYSC certificate.
My Response: “With respect to the case you reference, i.e. case of Abdulrauf Abdulkadir Modibbo vs Mustapha Usman, the Supreme Court ruling was NOT that the NYSC is a compulsory requirement for elective office!…The Supreme Court simply upheld the Petioners claim that AS A SERVING NYSC MEMBER at the time of the primaries, Modibbo was NOT qualified to contest the primaries by virtue of the NYSC Act.”
I do not understand what your issue is. You believe that the Supreme Court is right to annul an election, positing that someone was yet to complete a process which is NOT even a requirement. That is the Nigerian problem: yes, Modibbo cannot keep his job for not doing something which is NOT even required for that job. You simply made my case.
How? If the Supreme Court is telling us that NYSC is not a requirement, it should not have even cared if someone was enrolled or not enrolled in it, because it is immaterial. But what happened to Modibbo was that he was enrolled in something which is not a requirement and that disqualified him.
Comment 1R: My intervention is not to interpret the Supreme Court ruling on the Modibbo case.
The ruling and the basis for it is clear. Modibbo wasn’t eligible to contest the APC primaries (not the election even) at the time he did. At no point did the Supreme Court say that a NYSC certificate is a mandatory requirement to stand for election. That is your own (mis)interpretation of the SC ruling.
On the SC ruling, I expect NYSC members at some point to challenge the jurisprudence on this ruling as I believe it is discriminatory to serving Corp members. However, one also recognises that serving officers and men of the police force and armed forces are also precluded from contesting electoral positions while still serving.
My Response: “My intervention is not to interpret the Supreme Court ruling on the Modibbo case.” – you did when you said that my interpretation was wrong. So, you did.
“The ruling and the basis for it is clear. Modibbo wasn’t eligible to contest the APC primaries (not the election even) at the time he did. ” – again, you have cleverly picked sections of the NYSC and Electoral Acts as they favoured you, dismissing the NYSC Act which said that all qualified youth must have NYSC to get a job in Nigeria. (I extrapolate that because I argued that the Tribunal is wrong to write in Enugu that NYSC was not required because it was not listed on the Electoral Act, even though the NYSC Act has that. You cannot claim that Modibbo wasn’t eligible to contest because he participated in NYSC)
“At no point did the Supreme Court say that a NYSC certificate is a mandatory requirement to stand for election. ” – it does not have to say it when it can rule that not completing it disqualifies someone.
Comment 1RR: I read the This Day article you posted, and Ndubuisi Ekekwe is correct about the inconsistencies in judgment.
In the Modibo case, the appellant posited that falsified NYSC documents were presented, and this led the court to consider if Modibo has breached the NYSC act.
In the Mbah case, the appellant also claimed that NYSC certificate was falsified, similar to the Modibo case, but the tribunal refused to consider if the forgery was true or not, based on their belief that NYSC isn’t a requirement.
In summary, the issue of NYSC was considered in the first case, but not in the second despite both having a common denominator, which is falsified information.
The article you posted also referenced the Omehia vs Amaechi case, which was an error in judgment that was corrected in the Modibo case.
Comment 2: A – Governor of a state
- (1) There shall be for each state of the Federation a Governor.
(2) The governor of a shall be the Chief Executive of that state
- A person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a state if
(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) he has attained the age of thirty-five years;
(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
C – Qualifications for Membership of national assembly and Right of Attendance
- (1) Subject to the provisions of section 66 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified for election as a member of:
(a) the Senate, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 35 years; and
(b) the House of Representatives, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 30 years;
(2) A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if:
(a) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent; and
(b) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.
This is the constitution which is the supreme law in the country.
Comment 3: I have stopped taking Nigeria judiciary seriously. They are one of the biggest problems of the country and I am sometimes ashamed of the kind of judgments that emanates from them.
The way they change the law through several funny and ridiculous judgements is very ridiculous. Sometimes, they do not even employ common sense in dispensing judgements and you wonder what the heck is going on.
Oyetola won in court the lady time because, one of the tribunal judges missed a sitting, and ruled in Adeleke’s Favour, but Appeal and Supreme Court stated that, since the judge was not on sit on a particular day, he cannot entered a judgment and consequently returned Oyetola as governor.
I mean, how does that make sense? If a judge refused to do his work, should another person bear the brunt of that?
Another one is how Orji Uzor Kalu won in court because a particular judge who have been promoted to a higher court sat and gave judgement, and Kalu was set free! How does that make sense?
We will continue to even see more ridiculous judgments in the coming days because the guys at the Aso now understand the game even better.
I can only wish Nigeria and Nigerians the best of luck.
Comment 4: In a case where the candidate did not submit any document showing that they met the minimum but included a document signifying that they have a higher qualification, would that not amount to a breach of the procedure?
I think that it is wrong to assume that they have met the minimum qualification or have documents to back up the minimum qualification just because they have tendered a higher certificate.
My Response: That is the reform I have been pushing. Just verify the minimum requirements and leave the rest. But INEC does not care. It is easier to verify WAEC than university degrees because only one or two bodies handle the secondary level while at the university level, you have thousands.
Comment 5: SC did not state that NYSC is mandatory to contest. However, NYSC act states that serving corps members are to be non-partisan. So contesting an elected position as a serving corps member violates the NYSC act. This will nullify the electoral steps taken at this point.
My Response: ” So contesting an elected position as a serving corps member violates the NYSC act. ” – now that you’re quoting the NYSC Act, let us focus on it. That Act also says that any grad below the age of 30 must do NYSC to work in Nigeria, including a governor and House Rep.
I hope you will agree that the Supreme Court cannot pick that NYSC members should be non-partisan (from the Act) while ignoring where the same Act says if you graduate before 30, you must serve.
Book a 1:1 (one-to-one) live video consultation and get personalized professional & business advice with Prof Ndubuisi Ekekwe here.