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A Rejoinder On Whether Ex Convicts May Seek Public Office In Nigeria - Politics - Nairaland

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A Rejoinder On Whether Ex Convicts May Seek Public Office In Nigeria by ayomidegambari(m): 8:40pm On Jun 15, 2020
One learned writer submitted that an ex- convict may contest for any public office but subject to some exceptional circumstances under section 137, 67 82. The exception would be reproduced for clarity purpose and ease of reference.



(a) where convict is under a death sentence;

(b) where less than 10 years before the date of election, he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving “dishonesty”

(c) He is found guilty of contravening the Code of conduct for public officers

By implication, the submission of the writer is that apart from those exceptions under section 137, 182, 67 of 1999 constitution an ex convict can contest for public office. Undisputably, the above cited section under section 137 can bar an ex convicts from contesting or holding any public office in Nigeria and this was rightly submitted in the case of A.P.C. v. P.D.P. ( 2015) 15 NWLR (Pt. 1480).

Hence, the focus of this article is solely on whether Nollywood actor, Funke Akindele and her husband can hold or contest for any public office as far as their conviction is still subsist until set aside by the appellate Court.
The writer submitted that the dou MAY hold or contest for any public office by relying on section 137(B) of 1999 constitution. With due respect to the learned writer, I beg to differ on this.
The writer produced the said section to substantiate his position but failed to produce same in WHOLE.

The said produced section
(b) where less than 10 years before the date of election, he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving “dishonesty”

Mr Arome Abu, further submitted to justify his position that

There is no doubt that since the offence for which they were convicted is not laced with any element of dishonesty, the fact of their conviction cannot operate as a bar to inhibit them from holding pubLIC office if they wish to do so in the future

Does the submission of the writer represent the position of the law for not producing the full section?
I would vehemently respond to this in negative.

The writer probably did shopping on the said provision of the Constitution and select the one that would favour his position and abandon the other limb of the provision.

It’s been held in replete of cases that statutory provision should not be construed in isolation but in whole in order to achieve the intention of the law makers.
See INAKOJU V ADELEKE(2007) 4 NWLR, DAPIALONG v DARIYE(2007) LPELR SC 39/2007
ABARIBE v SPEAKER *HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY (2002) 4 NWLR
DANLADI v TARABA STATE HOUSE of ASSEMBLY(2005) 4 NWLR

The subsection 137 of the Constitution whom Arome Abu fails to produce shall be reproduced in full

(d) he is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving DISHONESTY or fraud (by whatever name called) or for any other offence, imposed on him by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal

It’s very glaring beyond doubt from the above bold limb of this provision that the writer construed the above section and stopped under DISHONESTY which makes the writer to have misconceived the intendment of the law makers.

The Apex Court has poignantly addressed this issue in the case of DAPIALONG v DARIYE (Supra) that

the cardinal rule of construction is that the whole statute should be drawn upon as necessary, with its various parts being interpreted within their broader statutory context in a manner that furthers statutory purpose. I.e An holistic endeavor. we must not be guided by a single sentence or member of a sentence, but look to the provisions of the whole law, and to its object and policy.

However, since the writer intend to base his half- cited section on whether Funke Akindele and her Husband can hold or for any public office, it’s my humble submission that the dou CAN’T hold or contest for any public office in Nigeria as far their conviction is still subsist until same is set aside. It’s settled law that order, Judgement of the court is subsist no matter how wrongly delivered until same is set aside. See ELIAS V ECOBANK Nig PLC, CA/L873 2014

Though, there have been Legal debate whether Nollywood actor, Funke Akindele and her husband was legally convicted or otherwise. As it were, both CAN’T hold or contest for any public office provided their conviction is upturn on Appeal or being pardoned by State government. This shall be a subject of discourse in my next article.
Gambari S.A
A final year student at Lagos State University.

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