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FCT council election: Group issues 7-day ultimatum to INEC

Written by silvernewsng

A GROUP Concerned FCT Voters and Residents, on Thursday gave a seven-day ultimatum to the Independent National Electoral Commission to issue election guidelines for the 2025 FCT Area Council Elections.
The spokesperson of Concerned Voters and Residents, Mr Chuks Akamadu, speaking on behalf of the group, told newsmen that the tenure of the FCT Chairmen and Councillors in the six Area Councils has elapsed.

INEC recently said that the tenure of the incumbent chairmen and councillors of the six area councils of the FCT would expire in June 2026.
NAN also reports that INEC said that though the incumbent executives of FCT area councils were elected with 2010 Electoral Act as amended, they were inaugurated on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended).
The commission added that based on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), the current elected executives of FCT area councils have a four-year tenure.

It said that the tenure does not start on the day of election, but the day of inauguration.
Akamadu said the last FCT Area Council Elections were conducted under the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended), which means they were to spend three year in office.
According to him, it is not right for INEC to seek a tenure elongation for the current chairmen and councillors seats by interpreting that the 2022 Electoral Act had given them the right.

”Can the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and enactment of the 2022 Electoral Act which now provides a 4-year term of office for chairmen and councillors, annul the 3-year mandate of the current chairmen and councilors.

”We are responsible and well-meaning voters and residents of FCT who are mindful of the dangers of how ignoring one voter impairs the security of all in a democracy.
”We therefore cannot sit idly and watch the travesty of justice go unaddressed to the detriment of not just FCT residents but our democracy,” he said.
Akamadu said the group as patriotic citizens, that are alive to their responsibilities, as voters and residents, needed to intervene as INEC tried to stand the laws in their head.

He said the decision of INEC not to release election guidelines was not in the interest of the masses.
Akamadu said, ”Our inquiries are based on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which was the subsisting law at the time elections to the area councils were held on Saturday, February 12, 2022.
”The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides for a three-year tenure for chairmen and councilors.”

”The argument that tenure is not defined by the date of election but the date of oath of office is neither here nor there, because whilst we grant that the coming into force of the 2022 Electoral Act preceded the date of oath of office,”he said.
Akamadu said the group contend that the will of the people which they freely exercised on February 12, 2022 by giving the current FCT chairmen and councillors a 3-year renewable term of office cannot be overthrown by subterfuge.
He said, ” It is trite law that the validity of a law, under a democracy, is derived from the people.

” Fundamentally, it is also beyond debate that statutes including the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) derive their potency from the will of the people – not the mere words contained therein,,” he said.
NAN reports that the National Assembly has since repealed and re-enacted the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) as the Electoral Act 2022.

Akamadu said, “In particular, in the exercise of its powers as the law-making body for the FCT, the National Assembly extended the tenure of the Area Councils from three to four years, thereby aligning it with executive and legislative elections nationwide.

“This is one of the important provisions of the Electoral Act 2022. The Act came into force on Friday Feb. 25 2022, two weeks after the last Area Council elections in the FCT.
“By the time the elected Chairmen and Councillors were sworn-in four months later on June 14, 2022, they took their oath of allegiance and oath of office on the basis of the new electoral Act (i.e. the Electoral Act 2022) which provides for a four-year tenure.” (NAN).

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