6 September 2018
Bianca Ojukwu, the widow of Emeka Ojukwu, is seeking the nomination of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to represent Anambra South in the Senate in 2019.
Ojukwu was the leader of the breakaway Eastern Region that failed to secede from Nigeria between 1967 and 1970. His two sons from a previous marriage, Ike and Emeka Jnr, came out strongly yesterday in opposition to their step-mother’s ambitions to secure the Senate seat on the grounds that she comes from Ngwo in Enugu State.
Ike Ojukwu said: “Is she from Nnewi? She is from Ngwo in Enugu State. I would prefer someone who is a son of the soil, and because I come from Nnewi, I would like an Nnewi indigene to represent us.” His brother, Emeka Jnr, added: “She is apparently coming out on the platform of APGA and that is APGA’s business. They can decide on whoever they want to bring out. That should not be my business but I find it curious that they want somebody from Enugu State to represent us in Anambra South. This is a young woman, who was supposedly married to my late father. A young woman who could remarry tomorrow maybe from Abia State or later from Sokoto State. And they want her to represent us. I wonder if there are no other people in Anambra South, who can represent us”.
There are clearly issues in the family, but that should be none of our business. However, the argument that because she comes from Enugu State, she can’t represent Anambra South is pure ignorance. Sections 65 and 66 of the Nigerian Constitution state the qualifications to become a member of the National Assembly:
65. (1) Subject to the provisions of section 66 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified for election as a member of:
(a) the Senate, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 35 years; and
(b) the House of Representatives, if he is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 30 years;
(2) A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if:
(a) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent; and
(b) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.
66. (1) No person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the House of Representatives if:
(a) subject to the provisions of section 28 of this Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, has made a declaration of allegiance to such a country;
(b) under any law in force in any part of Nigeria, he is adjudged to be a lunatic or otherwise declared to be of unsound mind;
(c) he is under a sentence of death imposed on him by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or any other offence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court;
(d) within a period of less than 10 years before the date of an election to a legislative house, he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or he has been found guilty of a contravention of the Code of Conduct;
(e) he is an undischarged bankrupt, having been adjudged or otherwise declared bankrupt under any law in force in any part of Nigeria;
(f) he is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment 30 days before the date of election;
(g) he is a member of a secret society;
(h) he has been indicted for embezzlement or fraud by Judicial Commission of Inquiry or an Administrative Panel of Inquiry or a Tribunal set up under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, a Tribunals of Inquiry Law or any other law by the Federal or State Government which indictment has been accepted by the Federal or State Governments respectively; or.
(i) he has presented a forged certificate to the Independence National Electoral Commission.
There is clearly no requirement for a senator to be indigenous to the community that they seek to represent. As long as Bianca Ojukwu satisfies the above provisions, she can run for Senate in Anambra South and it is up to the people of that constituency whether they want to vote for her or not.
The position of Ojukwu’s sons against their step-mother’s senatorial bid is another indication of the chronic ignorance of many Nigerians about the Constitution and why Naijiant.com has insisted that every literate Nigerian should devote some time to reading it. The country’s attempt at democracy is doomed with so much ignorance within the electorate.