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2023: Ajulo advises APC to accept constitutional eligibility for presidential aspirants

By Femi Ogunshola

A Constitutional Lawyer, Dr Kayode Ajulo, has advised the All Progressives Congress (APC) to accept Constitutional eligibility for all its presidential aspirants ahead of the upcoming party’s presidential primaries.

Ajulo gave the advice in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the APC on Sunday in Abuja

He said that the APC must take a cue from the fate that befell it in Bayelsa in the 2020 governorship election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the APC lost Bayelsa to the PDP due to the ineligibility of the party’s candidate, Biobarakunu Degi, as the deputy governor over certificate scandal.

He said of the 25 presidential aspirants within the APC, only three aspirants would emerge untainted, if subjected to the litmus test of the eligibility criterion.

He said that it was imperative to exercise pragmatism by examining the constituents of eligibility of a candidate within the confines of the law and as enshrined in the Constitution.

“Specifically Chapter VI, Part 1, Section 131, and 137 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) outlines the basic requirements to be met by a candidate to be eligible for an election into the office of the President in Nigeria,” he quoted.

He however said that there were very few aspirants among the motley crowd whose conduct in the public sphere over the 25 years of public participation had remained unblemished.

“At the risk of sounding partisan, wisdom behoves that I acknowledge the clear reality that Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, is perhaps the singular aspirant whose aspiration remains untainted.”

He said that eligibility remained an essential factor which must be upheld, and critically considered if the party must attain a credible process free from nullity and regrettable encumbrances.

He urged the APC leadership not to feign ignorance of the devices of its political adversary and remained cognisant of the fact that their legal advisers were keenly observing the APC’s nomination processes.

He said: “They lay in wait, with bated breath, hoping that the APC will slip and make that costly mistake of nominating a candidate who will fail the litmus test of eligibility.

“There is no doubt that the APC, being the ruling party, has access to necessary home and global security reports and information from embassies around the world.”

He added that they could help ascertain the status of its aspirants with respect to their possible multiple allegiances to other sovereign nations.

He said that the APC could not afford to scoff at the issue of eligibility and should not afford to flippantly wave away the consensus option.(NAN) (