I have read the entire section 29 of the 2022 Electoral Act with particular attention to and several readings of sub sections 5 and 6, just to check and test my comprehension.
It all seems fairly straightforward in terms of everyday English language but social media has been awash with different interpretation of the section since news of the judgement of the Delta State PDP Governoship candidacy broke, even when the analysts have not seen the detailed text of the judgement.
As usual, most of the interpretations, debates and sentiments have been influenced by the POLITICS rather than the JUSTICE of the matter. And this tells a lot about the kind of people we are and the type of society and environment we operate in.
Learned men of the wig and gown profession have also joined in to offer their legal opinion. While some say the law is fairly straightforward, others argue to the contrary. They say there is actually more to see than what is written in black and white. With such sharply contradictory opinions amongst lawyers who “knows” the law, we are left with the only one conclusion known to law. And that is that, the position of the law is what a man or a panel of men eventually, interprets it to be.
This is where one man or a panel of men get together to weave through the “technicalities” of the law, digging beyond it’s express provision in black and white to arrive at a decision. This is what gives lawyers work to do and literally puts food on the table of judges depending on how legal decision are procured. We have seen how this has contributed in shaping our current democratic practice.
At times they talk about the canon of interpretation. At other times they talk about intendment of the framers of the law. This one is particularly intriguing, because this is when one man, or a panel of seven men get into the heads of the 109 members of the Senate and 360 members of the House of Representatives to decipher what their exact thoughts were, when they wrote a particular provision into the law! Since that intendment is not normally written into the law and the writers of the law are not always there to say what their thoughts were, whatever the judge or judges determine is what it is. When judgements are made this wise, on electoral matters, the future, fate and electoral votes of millions of can be upturned or dashed.
This is what the law is. One would have thought that, what is meant to regulate the affairs of men and to serve justice would be simple and plain as black and white to avoid ambiguity, especially when they tell us that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
But how can one really know the law, when the law is indeed what a man or a panel of men say it is! How can one know a thing when it is not objective?