Electoral Act: Lawyers differ on Buhari’s N45m form
By admin On 7 Sep, 2018 At 03:43 AM | Categorized As News | With 0 Comments

Lawyers have expressed divergent views over the legality of the purchase of presidential nomination forms by a group to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act said: “An individual or other entity shall not donate more than N1,000,000 to any candidate.”
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But the Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network on Wednesday purchased the expression of interest and nomination forms valued at N45.5m for the president.

Earlier, a group led by Princess Adekemi-Adesanya Eboda, National President and Global Coordinator for Women and Youth Support for Atiku (WAYS), purchased the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Nomination and Expression of Interest Forms for Atiku at the sum of N12m.

Speaking with Daily Trust yesterday, Dayo Akinkaja (SAN) said the purchase is a violation of the Electoral Act.

“Who is the beneficiary of the form? It is just like asking somebody to pay a hotel bill for somebody else. The beneficiary is the president. So no matter how you look at it, it is a violation of the Electoral Act,” he said.

Also, Abeny Mohammed (SAN) said there is no doubt that it is a breach of the Electoral Act.

He said though the donation may have been made by one or two persons who may not be aware of the provisions of the law, prosecutors will find it difficult to prosecute because it was done in the name of a group.

“If you hold them they will tell you that it was done by 45 persons and each of them contributed N1m each and that is how we breach the laws in Nigeria,” he said.

However, Emeka Ngige (SAN) stated that the action of the group does not constitute a violation of the law.

“Unless where you prove that the number of people who raised the money is less than 45, that is where the corruption lies. As long as we don’t know the number, we cannot make a categorical statement on that,” he said.

He also said the network cannot be viewed as a single corporate entity since they appeared as a group.
Speaking in the same vein, Abel Ozioko Esq. said it is not stated expressly in the provisions of the Electoral Act in terms prohibiting someone from sponsoring or purchasing such forms for someone.

On the provision of Section 91 (9) of the Electoral Act, he said “This section envisages candidates who are already standing for an election. I do not think that construing it to apply to the internal pre-election selection process of candidates by political parties would be proper.

“That being the case, the donation or purchase of APC presidential forms to the tune of N45 million or so, by an individual, is outside the ambit of Section 91 of the Act.”

Daily Trust

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