Should the Supreme Court rule in favour of the 2023 presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, in their respective cases contesting the results of the February 25th election, Senate President Godswill Akpabio may succeed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Interim President.
As the Supreme Court begins hearing appeals filed against the decision of the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC), which recognised Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the legitimate victor of the 25th February 2023 presidential election, there is suspense and palpable tension throughout the nation, according to Anaedoonline.ng.
President Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shettima, would have to leave their positions if the court rules in favour of the applicants, which includes the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM).
In such a scenario, the Senate President, who is third in power in the country’s political structure according to the constitution, would take over their posts.
There is absolutely no debate regarding who assumes control of national leadership in the event of such an incident, according to lawyer Akan Udoh, who spoke to journalists about the subject.
“The 1999 Constitution (as amended) explicitly stipulates that the Senate President (in this case, Godswill Obot Akpabio) would act in that capacity for 90 days, within which an election must be held.
The Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Law are clear that the President and his deputy, as well as a State Governor and his deputy, are on a joint ticket, campaigning and standing for election together, and therefore, have similar mandates from the electorate.,” Udoh reportedly said while interacting with the Daily Times.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is anticipated to hold a new election for the country’s two highest posts within three months (90 days), according to Naija News, as the Senate President is taking the oath of office.
The Senate President is specifically granted the Presidency’s powers for a three-month period under Section 146(2) of the Constitution.
The Section states: “Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (1) of this section during a period when the office of Vice-President is also vacant, the President of the Senate shall hold the office of President for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new President, who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.
“(If the President either dies, or resigns, or is impeached, or is removed or is permanently incapable and the Vice-President is not available to become the President, The President of the Senate would become the President for 3 months during that period, there would be an election for a New President who completes the tenure of the former President.)”
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