OrderPaperToday – Imprisoned Senator Joshua Dariye may be eligible to contest to retain his senate seat if a Court upturns his conviction.
Dariye was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment earlier this year by the Federal Hight Court in Abuja for diverting N1.162 billion state geographical funds when he was governor of Plateau state between 1999 and 2007.
His nomination forms for the APC ticket surfaced online on 8th of September, drawing public outrage which forced the APC to clarify that the party’s regulations do not permit a convicted felon to contest election.
A legal expert, Kelechukwu Eni-Otu told OrderPaperNG on Friday that the Senator remains a convict until another ruling has been delivered by a court.
He said: “As at today, he is convict and there is no stay of execution in the sentencing of the court. The court did not state the execution of the sentence. Since the court did not state the execution of the sentence and also a court of record and the conflict of time is the decision of the FCT high court, as of today, Joshua Dariye is a convict. By tomorrow, it may change.”
But the legal practitioner equally informed that Dariye can still contest even while in prison. According to Eni-Otu, what the Plateau Senator’s lawyer may do is to file a motion before the court of appeal for accelerated hearing considering the fact that it is time bound.
He said “if the court of appeal within its power decides to exercise its power by granting accelerated hearing, then after listening to his prayers, if they think or believe that the court of first instance i.e. the FCT High court is wrong in its decision, they may decide to set aside the decision and at that point he becomes eligible.”
Eni-Otu also revealed that there are prisoners who are eligible to be voted for.
Those in this category should not have committed an offence in respect to “dishonesty and fraud”.
“This means if the offence you committed was road traffic offence that would not disqualify you from contesting an election. If it is also that you conspired with someone that may not be dishonesty or fraud, depending on gravity of the offence.”