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Contentious Primaries: Ekweremadu Makes Ca

PRESS RELEASE Contentious Primaries: Ekweremadu Makes Case for Early, Staggered Process …Says 90 days for rerun elections unconstitutional Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has canvassed early and staggered primary elections as panacea for highly contentious nomination process in Nigeria's electoral system. Ekweremadu spoke on Wednesday during a webinar on “Electoral Reforms: National Assembly and the People’s Expectations”, which was organised by the Centre for Liberty, Abuja, in conjunction with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA. The lawmaker, who steered electoral reforms between 2007 and 2019, observed that the very close proximity of primary elections to main elections had always increased desperation on the part of the political actors and compounded litigations and logistical problems for both the political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. “In the United States of America (USA), presidential primaries begin about twelve months to the election, climaxing in the convention, where an already known candidate is affirmed. “In Ghana, there is no stipulated timeframe for the nomination of candidates in the country’s electoral laws. Therefore, article 11 (2)(b) of the National Peoples Party, NPP, Constitution, for instance, stipulates that parliamentary candidates shall be elected at least 12 months before the National General Election, while Article 12 provides that the party’s primary election for the nomination of the presidential candidate shall be held not later than 24 months from the date of the national elections. “The advantage is that we will not likely see court orders flying all over the place as is the case in Nigeria today because every litigation or contentious issue arising from the primary election would have been settled before the main election. “The election management body and the political parties will also have enough time to prepare for the election, while the electorate will have enough time to interrogate the manifestos of the political parties and suitability of every individual candidate”, he said. Ekweremadu also explained that direct and staggered primary elections would compel aspirants to campaign at the grassroots for the support of every party member. “Importantly, aspirants will weigh their individual popularity as the primary election train moves from state to state in the case of presidential primary or from local government to local government in the governorship primary election. “Those doing poorly will advise themselves appropriately and naturally withdraw from the race for the ticket, while the leading aspirants will continue. This will make the process less prone to the extreme contentions and litigations we see today”. The Senator, while expressing his disappointment over the denial of presidential assent to critical electoral reforms by the National Assembly, was also displeased that many of the successful reforms were continually observed in the breach. “It is one thing to reform the electoral system, but it is also another to ensure that the reformed laws are operational. “For instance, Section 76 (2) of the 1999 Constitution earlier provided that where a vacancy exists in the National Assembly, for whatever reason, such vacancy shall be filled within one month. The essence is to ensure that every part of the country is properly represented in parliament at every point in time. We amended the Section to read 30 days, for clarity. “Yet both INEC and the courts have ignored that provision. The courts order conduct of fresh elections within 90 days, while INEC conducts such elections within or even outside the 90 days. Current examples of such breach are Imo, Bayelsa, Cross River, and Plateau States where the constitutionally stipulated time to conduct fresh elections to fill vacant senatorial seats has since elapsed. "The reality is that any election conducted after 30 days from the day the vacancy occurred is unconstitutional and therefore null and void", he added. ENDS Uche Anichukwu Media Adviser to Sen. Ike Ekweremadu Former Deputy President of the Senate 24/06/2020

Charity works

Ekweremadu Visits Scene of Enugu Accident,

Ekweremadu Visits Scene of Enugu Accident, Mourns Victims Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has expressed shock and sadness over the accident that claimed lives of several pupils and staff of Presentation Nursery and Primary School, Awgu, Enugu State during the week, describing it as horrific. Ekweremadu spoke during a condolence visit to the Catholic Bishop of Awgu Diocese, Bishop John Okoye, and a visit to the scene of the accident on Friday. The lawmaker, who was accompanied by his wife, Lady Nwanneka Ekweremadu, said: “Presentation School has always been dear to our hearts as a centre for academic and moral excellence. You came first in the 2012 edition of the Ikeoha Annual Secondary School Quiz Competition and have won several of our full university scholarships. “So, it can be imagined how we have been traumatised and shocked at the news of the accident involving our children in the nursery and primary section. I have been to the scene and it is horrific. I think last Wednesday can best be qualified as a black Wednesday. “We have come to sympathise with you. The condolences and prayers of the people of Enugu West are with the families of these fine souls, the school, and the Catholic Diocese of Awgu. We pray God to grant the dead eternal rest and grant quick recovery to those who sustained injuries”. Speaking, Bishop Okoye, who received Ekweremadu and his wife, on behalf of the management of Presentation School and the Catholic Diocese of Awgu, thanked the Senator and the people of Enugu West Senatorial District for their love and support at their time of sorrow. ENDS Uche Anichukwu Media Adviser to Sen. Ike Ekweremadu Former Deputy President of the Senate 30/10/2020

National Matters

Lekki Tollgate: Ekweremadu Condemns Incide

PRESS REELASE Lekki Tollgate: Ekweremadu Condemns Incident, Says Every Restriction Must Follow the Constitution Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has condemned the Lekki Tollgate incident, which resulted in a number of deaths, saying that any restrictions on the rights of Nigerians, including the right to peaceful assembly must follow the Constitution. In a statement by his media adviser, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, on Wednesday, Ekweremadu called for justice for everyone, who had fallen victim of government’s actions or inactions in the face of the nationwide protests. He said the rights to peaceful assembly remained guaranteed by the Constitution and any unilateral imposition of curfews was unconstitutional. He, however, stressed the need to arrest and prosecute criminals, who had taken advantage of the protests to cause loss of lives and properties. The lawmaker said: “The events at the EndSARS protest at the Lekki Tollgate and use of maximum force on unarmed protesters last night is another low for our nation and her democracy and should be condemned by men and women of conscience across all political divides. “Therefore, my heart goes out to the wounded and the families of the dead. Everyone involved in this irrational and horrendous act must be held accountable in order to preserve the sanctity of human lives, our democracy, and what is left of our dignity in the comity of civilised nations”. In calling for restraint and constitutionalism in dealing with the protests, Ekweremadu said: “Times like this call for dialogue and restraint on the part of government and utmost patriotism and professionalism on the part of those charged with securing lives and property. Anything to the contrary may be tantamount to pouring petrol on a raging inferno. “Unfortunately, government in dealing with the present situation, has taken even more dangerous steps by deploying soldiers as well as by imposing restrictions on the rights of Nigerians without following the provisions of Sections 45 and 305 of the 1999 Constitution. And doing so exposes both those who are deploying the soldiers and those engaging in human rights abuses under such extra-constitutional restrictions to trial by the International Criminal Court in future. “The 1999 Constitution is very clear on how to deal with matters like this if government perceives genuine threats to the lives and properties of Nigerians. But to wake up and impose curfews is a residue of military rule that has no constitutional backing. “Also, hoodlums, who capitalised on the protest to commit violent crimes that resulted in loss of lives and burning down of public and private properties and businesses must be fished out and made to face the law”. He appealed for calm and restraint by all. ENDS Uche Anichukwu Media Adviser to Sen. Ike Ekweremadu Former Deputy President of the Senate 21/10/2020