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CONSTITUTION CANNOT TAKE RETROACTIVE EFFECT

By Lere Olayinka

Even as we are not afraid of standing for elections anytime provided the Constitution is followed, it must however be stated that laws are not known to take retroactive effect.

“Though the issue of tenure of office of the States where by-elections were held is still a subject of various law suits, we must state without fear of contradiction that tenure of Governor Oni and other governors whose elections were nullified and returned to office after winning by or rerun elections is not for the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) to fix. It is simply a constitutional matter.

“In the case of Ekiti, there is still a pending case at the Appeal Court and INEC has been informed accordingly.

“Governor Segun Oni was sworn-in on May 29, 2007 based on the results of the April 14, 2007 governorship election. When the election was nullified by the Court of Appeal, Ilorin on February 17, 2009, the governor left office and another person took over as acting governor.

“The acting governor was in office for 79 days before Governor Oni was sworn into office again based on the results declared by the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) on May 5, 2009.

“If it is now being said that the tenure of office of all the governors that won rerun elections should be counted from May 29, 2007, what is going to happen to the period spent in office by the acting governors in those States? Who is going to account for that period?

“It is therefore commonsensical that his tenure of office must start from May 6, 2009 that he took oath of office as provided in Section 180 (subsection 2a) of the 1999 Constitution that the governor shall vacate office at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date when he took the Oath of Allegiance and oath of office.

“Constitution is not a document that takes retroactive effect and in this case, even if Section (subsection 2a) of the 1999 Constitution has been amended, it cannot have effect on actions taken before the amendment. It is like a game of football, you don't change the goalpost during a match.

Wale Ojo-Lanre,
Chief Press Secretary