Some Political Parties Involved In The Kogi Governorship Election Fault INEC, APC And AGF Position On The Poll And Insist On Fresh Election As PDP Seeks Judicial Interpretation
A serious constitutional battle is set to open in determining what ought to be the actual constitutional and legal order in what appears to be a stalemate at the inconclusive Kogi state governorship election as National Caucus of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), mulls option of judicial interpretation.
Alternatively, the caucus asked that Governor Idris Wada be declared as winner as the lead position had been voided by nature.
This is as Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC), has called for the conduct of fresh election in the state. As opposing voices rise, House of Representatives Caucus of the PDP, also lent its voice to the call for the conduct of fresh elections in the state. National caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party made this demand yesterday stressing that its position drew legitimacy from Sections 33 and36 of the Electoral Act and Section 181 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
To do otherwise, it said, would be to set a negative tone in the polity where losers in the primaries would plot the death of a winning candidate in elections. “Caucus also alerts that the AGF, INEC and APC are creating a scenario where a loser in a primary will patiently wait for the winning candidate to finish election and then have him either poisoned or assassinated before the final collation of results,” the caucus stated.
According to the party, the sudden death of the APC candidate whilst the process was on, disqualifies the APC from the election and makes the PDP candidate the only contender for the office of the governor and stands qualified to be sworn in as governor in the circumstance. The party rejected the position of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) that the All Progressives Congress should replace the Late Prince Abubakar Audu with another candidate for the supplementary elections in Kogi.
The caucus further resolved and “insists that with the death of its candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC has legally crashed out of the governorship race as no known law or constitutional provision allows the substituting of candidates, once the ballot process has commenced. It also argued “that with the unfortunate death of Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC has no valid candidate in the election, leaving INEC with no other lawful option but to declare the PDP candidate, Capt. Idris Wada as the winner of the election.
It “notes that the combine reading of the provisions of the constitution and Electoral Act does not in any way whatsoever support the substitution of candidates for election in the middle of the ballot process. PDP “notes that if 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 our electoral laws and to any known democratic norms and practice world-over.
“Caucus observes that the APC, fully aware that it has no case before the law is now orchestrating confusion in the polity with a view to diverting attention from its glaring incompetence and failure of governance. “Completely rejects the decision of INEC in yielding to the unlawful prompting of a clearly partisan Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami, to allow APC to substitute a candidate in the middle of an election, even when such has no place in the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“Observes that the leadership of INEC as presently constituted under the Chairmanship of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has demonstrated that it is incapable of neutrality and as such cannot be vested with the conduct of the Kogi governorship supplementary election as well as the December 5, 2015 Bayelsa governorship election. “As a result, caucus demands the immediate resignation of the chairman and all national commissioners of INEC to pave the way for a new non-partisan commission to conduct the forth-coming elections.
“Caucus also demands the immediate resignation of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami for deliberately misleading INEC into arriving at the unconstitutional decision of allowing APC to substitute its candidate in the inconclusive election. “Notes that in order to save the nation’s democracy from imminent collapse, the PDP as a critical stakeholder will immediately challenge this unlawful and unconstitutional decision by INEC in the court”, the party insists.
The PDP Caucus further called on the international community to prevail on the APC government to stop this move which it described as ceaseless assault on Nigeria’s democracy. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives of the party also accused the Attorney General of Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami of misleading the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the replacement of the late Prince Abubakar Audu who was the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Kogi election.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the Minority leader of the House Hon. Leo Ogor said that the laws quoted by Malami had no relation with the matter on ground. According to him, the Attorney of the Federation should have approached the Supreme court to get a better interpretation of the law adding that he acted in a hurry which made INEC ask the party to get a new candidate.
“We believe that the attorney general of the Federation clearly misled INEC and the Nation in general. “First and foremost the attorney general referred to section 221 of the constitution viz-a-viz section 3 of the INEC act, where he directed INEC to go and continue with an election where somebody with all respect due to the person died in the process.
“The laws that the attorney general quoted has no relation with the various issues on ground. Section 221 orders clearly on the modality in which votes can be canvassed by the political party. “Section 33 of the INEC act states very clearly that where a candidate in an election or in a primary dies before the election the option is there for the party to substitute that and that election will be held within 14 days.
“Unfortunately the scenario clearly as you have seen does not relate with the subject matter and the question here is, you have an attorney general of the federation carrying on as if he is the attorney general of a political party becomes very worrisome. “I believe that what the attorney general would have done under these circumstances is to approach the supreme to seek some level of interpretation and the necessary steps to take”, he said.
Ogor emphasized that at this point it would be impossible to replace a candidate through a primaries saying that the time for that is gone. “The attorney general is acting like he has the powers to interpret our laws, he ended up interpreting laws he has no control over and I believe that this is clearly the usurpation of the powers. “I appeal to my party to be patient; nobody should take the laws into their hands but approach the appropriate authorities to arrest this very embarrassing situation”, Ogor told journalists.
Also, the Democratic People’s Congress (DPC) says a fresh governorship election in Kogi State would suffice for now. The party, in a statement signed by its National President, Rev. Olusegun Peters, said it “rejects the Independent National Electoral Commission’s position to continue the 21st November poll by conducting a supplementary election for 91 polling units on 5th December, 2015”.
According to DPC, “it is inappropriate for INEC to direct APC to choose another candidate to substitute the late Audu and continue the governorship election when the people voted for the candidacy of Audu and not the yet to be selected candidate the electorate did not vote for”.
-Patrick Osadebamwen and Dyepkazah Shibayan, Abuja