Oct 24, 2014


Cross-section of Nigerian Governor Forum (From vangaurdngr.com)

This is the second post in a series of articles informing about the requirements for contesting elections in Nigeria. Last time, I wrote on the requirements for contesting presidential  elections in Nigeria, while this post will be treating the constitutional requirements for contesting Governorship elections in Nigeria. 

The position of a State of Governor is provided for by the Constitution in Section 176. It provides that – there shall be for each State of the Federation a Governor and the Governor shall be the Don Dada Chief Executive of that State. The only persons qualified to be Governors are- Citizens of Nigeria by birth; persons who have attained the age of 35 years; members of a political party & sponsored by that party; and such candidate that has been educated to at least School Certificate Level or its equivalent. 

It should also be noted that the following persons are not qualified for election to the position of the Governor-

  • Persons who have voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country;

  • He has elected to the position 2 previous times;

  • A lunatic or person of unsound mind;

  • Persons under a death sentence;

  • Persons who have been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty within the past 10 years of the election or has contravened the Code of Conduct;

  • An undischarged bankrupt;

  • Persons employed in public service;

  • Member of a secret society;

  • Persons who have been indicted for embezzlement or fraud; and

  • Persons who presented a forged certificate to INEC.

It is the duty of INEC to appoint the date for the elections though such elections must be held on a date not earlier than 60 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of the office. Section 178 states that a candidate for the Governorship elections shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, being the only candidate nominated for the election –

  1. He has a majority of YES votes over NO votes cast at the election; and 
  2.  He has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two –thirds of all the local government areas in the State, but where the only candidate fails to be elected in accordance with this provision of the law, then there shall be fresh nominations.

Where there are 2 or more candidates, one will be deemed duly elected if –

  • He has the highest number of votes cast at the election; and

  • He has not less than one –quarter of all votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the State.

If no candidate is elected by virtue of the foregoing provisions, there shall be a second election at which the only candidates shall be – the candidate who secured the highest number of votes and one among the remaining candidates who secured majority of votes in the highest number of local govt areas.

Section 185 states that the Governor shall not begin to perform the functions of office until he has declared his assets/liabilities and subscribed to the oath of allegiance and Oath of office.  

Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq.