The decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare Kogi State governorship election inconclusive has continued to generate controversies within the party.
The running mate to late Abubakar Audu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State, has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare him governor elect.
James Faleke, in a November 26 letter to INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, insisted that under Section 187 of the 1999 Constitution, he was duly elected as deputy governor of Kogi State.
Section 187 says (1) In any election to which the foregoing provisions of this part of this Chapter relate a candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor, who is to occupy the office of Deputy Governor; and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of Deputy Governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as Governor in accordance with the said provisions.
(2) The provisions of this Part of this Chapter relating to qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualifications, declaration of assets and liabilities and Oath of Governor shall apply in relation to the office of Deputy Governor as if references to Governor were references to Deputy Governor.
While expressing sadness over the demise of his principal, Abubakar Audu, the deputy governorship candidate said INEC had no right under the law to declare the election inconclusive.
He accused INEC of deliberately creating what he called “legal conundrum” and urged the APC not to be a party to the action.
“In law and logic, no new candidate can inherit or be a beneficiary of the votes already cast, counted and declared by INEC before that candidate was nominated and purportedly sponsored,” Mr. Faleke wrote through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun.
“Assuming without conceding that INEC is even right to order a supplementary election, the votes already cast, counted and declared on Saturday, 25th November 2015, were votes for the joint constitutional ticket of Prince Abubakar Audu and our client.
“Therefore, no new or ‘supplementary’ candidate can hijack, aggregate, appropriate or inherit the said votes.”
In another letter to APC Chairman, John Oyegun, Mr. Faleke urged his party to distance itself from the “Greek Gift” being offered to it to nominate a new candidate for a planned supplementary election in 91 polling units.
He said the election had already been won and lost, and that the party should rather support him in actualizing the mandate already given to APC and its candidates.
According to the result declared by INEC, Mr. Audu had the highest number of votes thus leading the 21 other candidates, including the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, who was the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party.
However, INEC declared the election inconclusive and ordered supplementary election in 91 polling units.
The Commission also said on Tuesday that despite the demise of Mr. Audu, it would go ahead with the supplementary election and advised the APC to nominate a replacement for the late APC candidate.
The APC, on its part, resolved to organise a fresh primary election to pick a new candidate for the supplementary election fixed for December 5.
Mr. Faleke insisted the election had been completed in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
“Therefore, INEC has no alternative or discretion other than to announce the result of the election and declare our client as the winner,” he said.
“With much respect to INEC under your very distinguished chairmanship, the reasons given by INEC to declare the election as inconclusive are alien to the constitution and, therefore unconstitutional.
“With further respect to INEC, cancellation of election result by it cannot be a ground for declaring any election as inconclusive.
“INEC is enjoined to declare a winner of an election based on lawful votes cast. Thus, the cancelled results by INEC for whatever reasons and assuming without conceding that INEC could legitimately cancel such results, amount to unlawful votes, in effect, INEC cannot declare a well concluded election as inconclusive based on unlawful votes.”
He advised that INEC “should not confuse the situation with what it intended in Section 33 of the Electoral Act because the situation on ground has nothing to do with changing or substitution of the name of a candidate before election.”
“Put in another way, INEC has a burden duty to declare our client as the winner of the election. Any attempt to conduct any supplementary election in any unit whatsoever and howsoever will amount to INEC breaching and flouting the constitution, and our client will definitely challenge it.”
In the letter addressed to the National Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, Mr. Olanipekun, on behalf of Mr. Faleke, said the scores already announced for APC was final and binding.
He suggested that by parity of reasoning, the APC should be declared the winner of the election while Mr. Faleke is declared as governor-elect.
He questioned why the APC should conduct a fresh primary election to nominate a candidate for a supplementary election in 91 polling units where only about 25,000 PVCs are available: whereas the APC is already leading by the announced results with over 40,000 votes.
“In parenthesis, we urge the APC, under your able leadership, to speedily look into and act on our client’s position as stipulated in this letter.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) critical stakeholders and delegates from Kogi East Senatorial District have resolved that the late political icon and APC candidate in the November 22 governorship election that was pronounced to be inconclusive, Mr Abubakar Audu, be substituted with his son Mohammed Audu in the event that the party goes for fresh primary.
This was contained in a communique read by Daniel Isah, the Kogi East Zonal Chairman at the party secretariat in Lokoja, Kogi State.
In addition to this, Some youths under the auspices of Kogi APC Concerned Youths took to the streets with placards, demanding that the son of the late Abubakar Audu should be the substitute governorship candidate.
They claimed the son has been working closely with his father and understands his plans.
PDP Asks INEC To Declare Wada Winner Of Kogi Governorship Election
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the decision to replace the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the supplementary election slated for December 5, saying there is no provision for such in the constitution and the electoral law.
The party made its position known in a twelve point communiqué issued at the end of its emergency national caucus meeting on Wednesday.
In the communique signed by the party’s spokesman, Mr Olisa Metuh, the PDP responded to various statements that followed the death of Abubakar Audu, including that of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Mr Abubakar said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) could substitute its candidate, who died a day after the November 21 poll, in the supplementary elections.
The party insists that with the death of the APC candidate, Abubakar Audu, the APC has legally crashed out of the governorship race, and that has left INEC with no other lawful option than to declare the PDP candidate, Captain Idris Wada as the winner of the election.
The PDP noted that if the APC is allowed to substitute its original candidate, then the party would have fielded two separate candidates in the same election, a scenario that is completely alien to the electoral laws and to any known democratic norms and practice world-over.