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THE ILLEGALITY OF THE PRESIDENCY ZONING ARRANGEMENT IN NIGERIA IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF 1999 CONSTITUTION

PHOTO: ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, MR MOHAMMED ADOKE, SAN.
PHOTO: ATTORNEY GENERAL AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, MR MOHAMMED ADOKE, SAN.
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Thursday, 24th June, 2010.

The Honourable Attorney General of

the Federation & Minister of Justice,

Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Federal Secretariat Complex,

Maitama-Abuja.

Attention: Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, S.A.N.

Dear Sir,

THE ILLEGALITY OF THE PRESIDENCY ZONING ARRANGEMENT IN NIGERIA IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF 1999 CONSTITUTION

Recent political events in Nigeria, particularly the battle cries and reasons for and against the applicability of the Zoning Arrangement to one particular section of the Country to the detriments of others, obliged me to take a deep insight into the legality or the otherwise of the so-called principle of zoning of the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria towards the 2011 general election.

This zoning arrangement is gradually permeating through our political psyche and with no much resistance by the innocent and uninformed public of the embedded illegality.

It is apt, though not obligatory because of its trendy nature, to make a little exposition of what the arrangement; "presidency zoning" has in form and content.

This is a political culture recently pronounced as one of the fundamentals of the wheel that pushes the internal kits of one of the most popular political institutions in Nigeria. The crux is that, occupation of the office of/nomination of candidate to contest for and/or assume the position of the president of Nigeria should be in a rotational order, in such a manner that when a candidate from the Southern part of Nigeria assumed the office for the specified constitutional term, the next president must always come from the Northern part of the country vice versa, irrespective of the competency/incompetency of the person so in concern.

As inquisitive as one may be, detailed legal query of this arrangement, especially as to explore its basis in the Nigerian Laws has therefore made me to take the liberty of our mutual noble profession to use this medium to frankly express my legal opinion on the illegality or otherwise of this convention in our political catalog.

Sir, you will agree with me that, it is the Law that Laws do not exterminate or question any convention or political culture, unless and until such convention is found manifestly inconsistent with the Laws of the land especially the grund norm, i.e. our Constitution. However, when a practice evidently shows an overt inconsistency between the Constitution and such convention, the Constitutional provision(s) should prevail. This is the basis for Repugnancy and Inconsistency Doctrine in our jurisprudence.

It is apt, to bring to the fore the provision of Section 1(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states

"if any other law is inconsistent with the provision of this constitution, this constitution shall prevail , and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistence be void. Therefore it would be proper to jettison totally."

Though, Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution gives every Nigerians right of association and peaceful assembly towards actualization of one’s economic, social and political aspirations.

This right is not without qualification(s).

Section 42 of the same Constitution regulates such assemblies’ activities in the course of achieving these economic, social and political aspirations especially within our political parties, among other congregations. Section 42 clearly stipulates that no assemblage, among other platforms, shall establish a convention or arrangement which, in its content, discriminates against any Nigerian based on the ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions of the members.

The provision of Section 131 of the Constitution is clear on the eligibility of candidate to aspire to the office of the President of Nigeria. Hence all citizens are at liberty to contest for any positions without impediment save for the provision of the constitution and other related laws. Any other principles, convention and/or arrangements contrary to this provision, to the extent of their inconsistencies, are null and void.

It is abundantly clear, therefore, that the so-called "presidency zoning" arrangement which has obviously emerged from our political parties is not only repugnant to the foundation of Nigerian unity, but inconsistent with our grund norm. It is unconstitutional, felonious and treasonable in all ramifications.

The reality is that, if not well managed and immediately corrected, can lead to balkanisation of our dear country, ineptitude, continuous breeding of monstrous corruption and nepotism.

Sir, you have a singular honour of occupying the exalt and sacred office of the Attorney General of the Federation which made you the Chief Law Officer and Custodian of our Law and it is on this foundation that I cannot but employ your Oath of Office as basis to call on you to use the instruments of your good offices to ensure the proper correction of this glitch.

It is important that you ensure arresting this hybrid-headed situation in our political atmosphere for the sustenance of our Laws and maintenance of Order in our polity.

I thank you, Sir, for your mutual belief in the supremacy of the rule of law as I urge you to accept, please, the firm assurances of my highest regards.

Yours truly,

 

Kayode AJULO, ESQ.

Principal Partner

Chairman, Egalitarian Mission Africa.

C.c.:

1. The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Thru’: Secretary to the Government of the Federation,

Abuja.

2. National Security Adviser, Abuja.

3. Inspector General of Police, Abuja.

4. Ag-Chairman, INEC, Abuja.

5. Chairman, PDP, Abuja.

6. President, NBA, Lagos.

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