- NO POLITICAL PARTY CONSTITUTION OR ELECTORAL GUIDELINE CAN TRUMP A CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED AND INALIENABLE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT
The right to freely participate in the political process is a fundamental and inalienable human right universally accorded recognition under the International Bill of Rights.
In Nigeria, this is guaranteed and made justiciable under section 40 of the 1999 Constitution as amended as the *”Right to peaceful assembly and association.”*
Furthermore, under the *”Right to freedom from discrimination”* guaranteed under section 42 of the selfsame 1999 Constitution, no person shall be discriminated against on account of his or her place of origin among other things.
For those brandishing the provisions of APC Constitution (and particularly article 20(vi) thereof), as a shortcut or surreptitious avenue to deploy to deny other members of the party the right to participate in elections, they must be made to know, and very clearly too, that the said article 20(vi) of APC Constitution is not and cannot afford the ill-fated luxury of being in violent conflict with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution on the inalienable and fundamental rights of all citizens to political participation and freedom from discrimination on account of place of origin.
It is settled in our constitutional law jurisprudence that any law, rule, regulation or guideline that is contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended remains null, void and of no effect to the extent of its inconsistency.
Section 1(1) and (3) the 1999 Constitution as amended clearly validates this position of our law by providing that-
“This Constitution is
supreme and its
provisions shall have
binding force on the
authorities and persons
throughout the Federal
Republic of Nigeria…
(3) If any other law is
inconsistent with the
provisions of this
prevail, and that other
law shall, to the extent
of the inconsistency,
Conclusively therefore, a political party constitution cannot trump the provisions of the almighty 1999 Constitution.
The national constitution is and remains the _grundnorm_ or _fons et origo._
These were the kernel of the May 2017 decision of the Supreme Court in the famous case of CHIEF OGAH v GOV IKPEAZU & ORS where the apex court vehemently rejected the flowery invitation to allow the provisions of PDP Primaries Guidelines to overrule or modify the established qualification for contesting the post of Governor as stipulated in the Nigerian Constitution.
Let us be properly guided on rule of law and supremacy of the Nigerian Constitution.
A new normal is possible!