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28 – 01 – 2019

This is Zikoko’s Game of Votes Weekly Dispatch. We share the most important things leading up to the 2019 General Elections, and why they matter. 5pm. Every Monday. Stay woke. 

And 3 days till the end of January. How did those gym-going, healthy-eating,new-year resolutions hold up? 🙂


If you missed it, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has embarrassingly been standing trial since January 14th for under-declaring and failing to declare his many assets.
Now President Bubs is either really super-pissed about this, or he just plain misses the good old dictatorial days of 1983, because he side-stepped the laid down law, and chose instead to wuru-wuru his way to a suspension of the CJN. The Chief Justice was suspended from office on January 23rd by the president, acting on an order of the Code of Conduct Tribunal. The CCT has since adjourned the trial of the CJN indefinitely.

Can He Do That? 

The answer is a big, fat, no. Buhari’s suspension of the CJN is problematic for a number of reasons.  But don’t take our word for it, here’s what the law has to say:
To begin with, Buhari acted on the orders of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (which, miraculously investigated, arraigned and gave orders on the CJN in just 2 weeks! Ganduje and Obono-Obla’s trials could never!) to suspend the CJN pending the determination of his trial. Only problem is, it doesn’t have the powers to do so. S18 Part 1 of the 5th Schedule to the Constitution  restricts its powers to ordering the vacation and disqualification of public officers from office. As well as ordering the forfeiture of ill-gotten funds only. No powers of suspensions in sight. Worsening matters still, the CCT ignored court orders to suspend the trial, and carried on to suspend the CJN with its full, unqualified chest..

Only the National Judicial Council could have recommended the suspension of the CJN, in accordance with S292 of the Constitution. The CJN’s removal in turn, can only be made by the President on a ⅔ majority address of the Senate.


How Does This Affect The Coming Elections? You Might Ask.

With the 2019 elections coming up in just 2 weeks, the executive pretty much unilaterally removing the head of the Judiciary is definitely the last thing you want to see when hoping for a free and fair election. The US and UK share the same sentiments, believing the suspension of the CJN so close to the 2019 elections, brings a sense of foreboding to how fair the elections will be.



In the wee hours of January 25th – jaws were dropped and many a Twitter thread was spun when Oby Ezekwesili — the candidate of the ACPN, and foremost female presidential contender, announced her departure from the 2019 race to join a coalition, .

What followed played out like a tired Nollywood trope.

Her Party Spurned Her.

Not to be outdone by her announcement, the ACPN, in a press address given by her running mate (?!) and party chairman — Abdul-Ganiyu Galadima, denounced her as candidate and pledged support for President Buhari. Her lobbying for a ministerial post, beating down the nomination form prices (debunked here) and poor campaign strategy were the reasons given for her denunciation. Remember when she called him a man of integrity? Good times.
But she didn’t let it slide.
Reacting to this needless dragging, Oby Ezekwesili, on Jan. 25th, took off the kid-gloves and explained the real reason for her departure from the race — her discomfort with the party leadership and its transactional approach to politics

“Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In”.

As it turns out, INEC has other plans for Ezekwesili’s withdrawal. Put simply — they aren’t having it. As her exit comes 2 weeks to the presidential race –  two months too late from the November 17th, 2018 deadline for withdrawal as stipulated by INEC, Mrs Ezekwesili will be receiving votes, whether or not she’s interested. Ditto the fact that ballot papers bearing her name and party have been printed. Re-printing is a headache INEC is trying to deal with right now, okay?


Giving Donald Duke, an early birthday, Easter and Christmas present — the Court of Appeal on January 24th, set aside the court judgement confirming Jerry Gana’s candidacy and declared Duke, the presidential candidate of the SDP. He even got awarded ₦500 000 against Gana, for all the legal stress. Sweet!

Good For Him, But How Did This Happen?

Back in December 2018, Donald Duke took a major L when a court declared his candidacy null and void for contravening a zoning policy ,newly imposed by the party’s constitution. However, the court on Thursday, noted that this policy came into play on October 8th, 2018 – 2 days after Duke had already won the party primaries.To make it even clearer, the policy which prohibits the party flag bearer (Duke) and chairman (Olu Falae) from belonging to the same zone, fully goes against what the law considers for the validity of a candidate.
Duke is just happy to be back, and he wants everyone to know he remains confident of a win, despite arriving so late to the party.

Keep Your Favourites To Yourself.

Speaking of the SDP, if you tuned into the Cross River Town Hall Initiative governorship debates on January 25th, expecting to see the party’s governorship candidate – Mr Eyo Ekpo present, then so xri bou dah.

The candidate — much like a certain 6’4 president we know — failed to show up to the debates, but for reasons more cogent than scheduling difficulties. Citing the organiser’s penchant for playing favourites with a certain political party, the candidate chose to avoid that energy, and will instead debate at the event organised by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.


Following the failure of the APC to hold valid primaries in Zamfara State,  a court has upheld INEC’S decision to reject the list of candidates from the state, who claimed to have emerged from a party consensus.
Bummer for them. Better luck in 4 years guys!

Can The APC Get It Together In Imo State?

Running for governor is hard, emotionally tasking work. Just ask Hope Uzodinma, the gubernatorial candidate of the APC  — who only last week — was expelled by the APC state chairman – Daniel Nwafor, for allegedly sponsoring opps against the party.
Don’t feel too bad for him though, the same APC has since dismissed his expulsion and he’ll be candidate after all. Such a roller-coaster.

Fayemi Just Had A Great Start To The Week.

On January 28th, the Ekiti State Election Tribunal confirmed the victory of Kayode Fayemi of the APC as the Ekiti State governor, following an understandable dispute of the  election results by the candidate of the PDP- Prof. Kolapo Olusola.
And here I thought my week started great because I got extra servings of plantain at lunchtime.


To make sure Bubs is all clear on what he can and cannot do, especially when it comes to other arms of government, cough, *the judiciary*, here is a super-long list of the powers reserved for the president. We’ll be checking the most important ones out in the coming weeks:
Appointing the Supreme Court Justices of Nigeria on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council of Nigeria and subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Assenting to and signing Bills. Referring a Bill back to the National Assembly for reconsideration of the Bill’s constitutionality. Referring a Bill to the Supreme Court for a decision on the Bill’s constitutionality. Appointing commissions of inquiry.  Receiving and recognising foreign diplomatic and consular representatives. Appointing ambassadors and other federal officers with the advice and consent of a majority of the Senate. Pardoning offenders and conferring honours


Ministry is moving

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.