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No! Rev. King ‘On Death Row’ wasn’t a Presidential Candidate during the 2019 polls

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CLAIM: Condemned prisoner on the death row, Reverend Emeka King was a presidential candidate in the March presidential election

CONCLUSION: FALSE

EVIDENCE: Reverend King was not a presidential candidate in the last presidential election, and by the provisions of our constitution, could never have been a candidate!

FULL TEXT: 

In the wake of Nigeria’s presidential campaigns in November 2018, posters of Reverend Emeka King Eseuko, better known as Rev. King, who is currently on death row at the Sokoto prison flooded major streets across Nigeria as the presidential candidate of the National Action Council (NAC).

The convicted clergy man was said to be a candidate for the presidency of Nigeria in the 2019 election under the platform of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (ABDA). Later in 2019, King’s campaign posters were seen bearing the logo of another political party, the National Action Council (NAC).

It would be recalled that King, who was the General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly (CPA) was arraigned on September 26 2006 on a six count charge of attempted murder and murder. He was sentenced to death by hanging in 2007 by Justice Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole, of a Lagos high court after being tried for the murder of a church member Ann Uzoh.

The judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal Lagos Division and by the Supreme Court.

While in prison, Rev. King’s supporters flooded the public space with his campaign posters making Nigerians believe the convicted clergy man was running for the seat of the President of Nigeria.

The pidgin arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on 14th August, 2018 reported that the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA) through one of its executives, Pastor Daniel, said ‘Rev. Dr King is the best choice in the presidential election in Nigeria.

At the peak of the presidential campaign, Rev. King’s campaigners took to both the social and traditional media insisting the convicted clergy man was a genuine presidential candidate.

The ‘New Telegraph’ of 31st January, 2019 had a window caption on its front page: ‘Drama as party Insists Rev. King on Death row is Presidential Candidate’. Other main stream media like the ‘Peoples Daily’ and ‘Leadership’ had similar stories published on January 31 and February 2, 2019 respectively. The Voice of Nigeria published the same story on 1st February, 2019 on its website. 

Reacting to the development, a factional leader of the National Action Council (NAC), the party King was alleged to be flying its banner, Olapade Agoro, denied endorsing the convicted cleric as the presidential candidate of the party. He did this in a post on the NAC website on 5th February, 2019.

Dubawa contacted a good number of persons involved in the claim. First was some of the members of the National Executive Committee of the National Action Council (NAC) made up of the National Secretary, Remi Ayanlade, the deputy National Legal Adviser, Johnson Omede and a host of other NAC members. All of them disclosed that the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) didn’t recognise Rev. King as the Presidential Candidate of NAC.

Dubawa approached Alhaji Ibrahim Ali who claimed he was the Director General of Rev. King’s Presidential Campaign. Alhaji Ali told Dubawa that Rev. King was not recognised by the election umpire, INEC.

What are the qualifications for the office of the President of Nigeria? 

Section 131 of the constitution states that a person may be qualified for election to the office of President if:

  • he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
  • he has attained the age of forty years;
  • he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party;
  • he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.

A person who meets the above requirements is disqualified from holding the office of the President, according to section 137 if:

  • he is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or for any other offence, imposed on them by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal.

The provisions of Section 131 and 137 of Nigeria’s constitution disqualify Rev. King from being a candidate in any election, talk less of the presidential election. He is not only a prisoner; he is on the death row.

CONCLUSION:

Totally false. Reverend King was not a presidential candidate in the last presidential election, and by the provisions of our constitution, could never have been a candidate!

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