- APC: We’ll hold primaries for replacement, uncertain about running mate
- PDP kicks
- INEC fixes Dec 5 for supplementary election
Ahead of Kogi State supplementary election, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has ordered All Progressives Congress, APC to substitute its candidate, the late Abubakar Audu, who died just before the announcement of the now inconclusive poll. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has fixed the supplementary election for December 5, coinciding with the Bayelsa State governorship poll holding same day.
Malami made the clarification yesterday against the backdrop of the constitutional crisis created by the death of Abubakar Audu, APC governorship candidate who died last Sunday, a day after the governorship election which he was leading with with about 41, 000 votes.
Speaking at a seminar in Abuja organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission, NLRC, on the reform of the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act, the AGF said the election has to be concluded. He explained that, since the primary conducted by the APC prior to the election is still valid, the candidate that came second may have to be considered as replacement. APC, according to its national chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, is however angling for a fresh primary to determine Audu’s replacement.
Malami said, “The issue is very straightforward. Fundamentally, Section 33 of the Electoral Act is very clear that in case of death, the right for substitution by a political party is sustained by the provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act.
“And if you have a community reading of that section with section 221 of the constitution which clearly indicates that the right to vote is the right of a political party and the party in this case, the APC has participated in the conduct of the election.
“It is therefore apparent that the combination community reading of the two provisions does not leave any room for conjecture.
“APC as a party is entitled to substitution by the clear provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act. Also Section 221 of the Constitution is clear that the votes that were cast were cast in favour of the APC.
“Arising from that deduction, it does not require any legal interpretation.
The interpretation is clear, APC will substitute, which right has been sustained by Section 33 of the Electoral Act. So be it.
“The supplementary election has to be conducted along the line.”
Asked if that substitution should automatically benefit the deputy governorship candidate, he said: “It all depends on the appreciation of issues arising from the primaries conducted before now.
“There was a first and a second candidate. Those primaries that had taken place over time had not by anyway been nullified. And it is recognized by law.
“But then a further consideration would be the idea of conducting another primary but that is not envisaged in view of the sustainability of the first primaries.”
Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has indicated in a circular yesterday that it will go ahead with the supplementary elections in the 91 polling units in the state on the 5 December, 2015 the same day with the Bayelsa state governorship elections.
PDP rejects replacement of APC candidate
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday described as “misleading and unconstitutional” the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Mallam Abubakar Malam’s advice to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to allow the All Progressives Congress to substitute its governorship candidate in Kogi state.
The party also called for the resignation of the AGF “for harrying and misleading INEC into arriving at an unconstitutional decision”.
The opposition party also lampooned the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu for dancing to the tune of the AGF and demanded for his resignation.
Addressing a press conference at the PDP national secretariat, Abuja, the party’s Spokesman, Chief Olisa Metuh said INEC has become a tool on the hands of the APC-led government.
“The party is shocked that INEC, a supposedly independent electoral umpire could allow itself to succumb to the antics of the APC by following the unlawful directive of an obviously partisan AGF to substitute a candidate in the middle of the ballot process.
“We are all aware that the two legal documents guiding INEC in the conduct of elections; the Constitution and the Electoral Act, have provisions for electoral exigencies as well as empower the electoral body to fully take responsibility for any of its actions or inaction without undue interference from any quarters whatsoever.
“We are therefore at a loss as to which sections of these two relevant laws, INEC and the AGF relied on in arriving at their bizarre decision to substitute a dead candidate in an on-going election even after the timelines for such has elapsed under all the rules.
“INEC as a statutory body has the full complements of technical hands in its legal department to advice it appropriately and we wonder why it had to wait for directives from the AGF, an external party, if not for partisan and subjective interest.
“Consequently, the PDP rejects in its entirety, this brazen move by the APC and INEC to circumvent the laws and ambush the yet-to-be concluded election by introducing a practice that is completely alien to the constitution and the electoral act.
“The clear implication of this action of the AGF and INEC is that the APC would be fielding two different governorship candidates in the on-going Kogi election, meaning that INEC would be transferring votes cast for late Prince Abubakar Audu to another candidate, scenarios that have no place in the constitution of the land.
“Whereas the PDP, in honour of the sanctity of human life and respect for the dead, had since Sunday refrained from making comments on the conduct of the election, we can no longer maintain such in the face of the barefaced attack on our democracy.
“This INEC under the leadership of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has shown itself as partisan, morally bankrupt and obviously incapable of conducting a credible election within our laws.
“In view of the foregoing therefore, the PDP demands an immediate resignation of the INEC Chairman, as the nation’s democracy cannot afford to be left in the hands of an electoral umpire that cannot exert its independence and the sanctity of the electoral process.”
Kogi APC to conduct fresh primaries
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has announced that it will conduct fresh primaries to determine who replaces Prince Abubakar Audu, as the governorship candidate of the party in the inconclusive Kogi election.
The party has also declared that the election will determine who becomes the running mate to whoever emerges at the primaries.
Addressing newsmen at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja yesterday, APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, declared that: “as a party we are going to proceed with process of organising primaries to provide a substitute candidate for the late Abubakar Audu.”
While expressing his condolences to the family of Audu on behalf of APC worldwide, Oyegun said the Attorney General of the Federation has made it public that the APC should replace the late candidate.
“He has made a pronouncement to the effect that all that is required is for the APC to go through the processes of providing a substitute to our late candidate with the implication being that, thereafter the supplementary elections to conclude the process of electing a new governor of Kogi state will begin to be put in place.
“The INEC is also in agreement with the views of the Attorney General because we have already received a letter from them formally asking us to find a replacement for the vacancy that has been created by the passing on of Prince Abubakar Audu so that is what will engage the APC at this moment”.
When asked what will be the modalities for the fresh primaries, Oyegun said, “we have only just got notification today, so we are going to go into executive session now, to know the nature of the primaries”.
On the fate of Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, the running mate of late Audu, the APC national chairman said that the electors would determine who becomes the next running mate to whoever emerges through the fresh primaries.
INEC slates Dec 5 for supplementary election
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has slated December 5 for the conclusion of the inconclusive gubernatorial election in kogi state.
According to a statement from the office of the secretary of the commission, Augusta Ogakwu, the decision is coming after due consideration of the situation.
It said INEC took the decision to go ahead with the remaining elections in the 91 polling units where elections could not hold after the electoral body received communication from the All Progressives Congress on the demise of its gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Audu Abubakar.
INEC said the time given was to allow APC time to fill the vacancy created by the death of its former candidate. It said the statement served as notice to all political parties participating in the Kogi governorship election that supplementary election in the affected polling units would hold on the stated date.
Chief Audu Abubakar died of heart failure when INEC was releasing results of the 21st November governorship election where he was leading other political parties participating in the polls. The remaining elections will now hold on the same day with Bayelsa State gubernatorial election.
Late Prince Abubakar Audu’s death has generated a lot of controversies within the legal community, as his case remains germane to both the constitution and the Electoral Act which does not envisage the condition.