Patrick Osadebamwen in Abuja an Joseph Amedu in Lokoja report
Alongside the lawyers who are dusting their books to give judicial interpretation to the electoral fiasco looming In Kogi State following the death of APC governorship candidate in the November 21 inconclusive elections, the two major political parties involved have raked up their demands. For the Peoples Democratic Party, their governorship candidate in the inconclusive elections of Kogi state, Captain Idris Wada should be sworn-in following the sudden death of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) candidate, late Prince Abubakar Audu.
National caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party made this demand yesterday stressing that this call draws legitimacy from section 33, 36 of the electoral Act and section 181 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
To do otherwise 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.
For the the Kogi East APC, Mohammed Abubakar Audu son of the late candidate of the party, prince Abubakar Audu in the just inconclusive governorship election should become the sole candidate from the zone to participate in the fresh primaries along with others from central and western senatorial districts of the state.
The decision was taken after due consultation with the party executives, delegates and stakeholders from the eastern flank of the state as compensation to their deceased political ICON, prince Abubakar Audu.
In a communique issued by the leadership of the Kogi East APC after an enlarged meeting at the APC Secretariat in Lokoja on the endorsement, the zonal chairman of Kogi APC, Comerade Isah Daniel who read the communique affirmed the unanimous consideration.
He said the consideration of Mohammed Abubakar Audu as sole candidate from the zone to participate in the fresh primaries was aimed at sustaining the prevailing peace, unity and progress of their great party put in place before the sudden demise of the late prince Abubakar Audu.
“Mohammed Abubakar Audu is considered under special waiver following the circumstances that gave room for the fresh primaries” the APC zonal chairman explained.
Isah Daniel further explained that Mohammed Abubakar Audu is a card carrying member of the APC and fully elegible to participate in the fresh primaries.
He thanked INEC and the National Working Committee of the APC for taking the option of substituting the candidate of the party in the inconclusive governorship election which he died while in progress.
“We will communicate the National Working Committee on this resolution for onward convey to INEC” Daniel said.
But for the PDP, “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 Progressive Congress should replace the late Prince A b u b a k a r Audu candidature 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.
The party “Insists 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 than to declare the PDP candidate, Capt. Idris Wada as the winner of the election. “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.
“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 PDP Caucus further called on the international community to prevail on the APC government to stop thisw move which it described as ceaseless assault on Nigeria’s democracy.
Meantime the National leadership of the APC is still looking at the books to sustain its argument to field a fresh candidate rather than go for the deputy governorship candidate, Faleke. Their main fear is because of the constituency powerlessness of Faleke who is from a minority area and so would not be able to swing the required votes in the conclusive polls fixed by INEC for December 5.