Ike Okwuobi, the APGA candidate for the October 25, Chairmanship election at Oshimili South Local Government, who was recently endorsed by APGA Chairman Chief Victor Umeh at a blowout rally in Asaba, Delta State has said that his Constitutional Rights are denied under the current local government election process.
“As it stands, I have no constitutional rights to equity, justice or equal opportunity under this process” he said.
He said while the constitution under 17(1) claims to afford him Rights & Justice, and 17(2) attempts to confer Equal Rights and Opportunities, sections 7(1) and 197 make those rights ineffectual and redundant, specifically and only at the local government level by giving Nigerian States powers to finance, organize, undertake and supervise the same elections in which they are participating.
Using an analogy of a soccer match, Mr. Okwuobi, a Diasporan Technologist, who is no stranger to constitutional rights, having fought a celebrated and highly referenced Canadian constitutional case on Language Rights up to the Supreme Court of Canada, asked.
”How can a referee also be a player in its own match?”
”No where in the world do you have a soccer match where the referee, his linesmen and the arbiter (like FIFA) are also part of the team against which one is playing”
He argued that for his constitutional rights to be restored, either the state will not field a contestant; or the electoral body will be independent of the state; or the constitution declares it a one-party election where all will have the opportunity to vie under a single party platform.
The caveat is that without one of these, his rights are lost to what he calls a “Lack of Constitutional Best Practices” in this section of the Nigerian constitution.
”It is really a shame that the Senate would allow such a gap to exist for so long” he said, referring to the constitution which has been in effect since 1999.
”The net effect is that elections and the aspirations of millions of people are lost because the gatekeepers of the constitution have looked the other way while others raid the farm.”
”I think the Senate owes Nigerians an apology” he concluded.