Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of carrying out a hatchet job by not declaring him winner of the governorship election in the state.
Wada in a statement issued in Lokoja on Sunday by his Wada’s Chief Communications Manager, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, the governor said having had more time to study the INEC’s decision; it was left with no choice but to conclude that the commission embarked on a hatchet job.
Wada said in view of the death of the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Abubakar Audu, he should be declared the winner of the botched election being the only surviving candidate with the majority of lawful votes cast in the election held on November 21.
He said the conclusion was reinforced by the fact that “whatever votes Audu scored in the election died with him, ” saying that INEC simply overreached itself, and wondered why a body established to be the custodian of the rule of law would ignore the fundamentals of the rule of law in arriving at the decision not to issue him a certificate of return.
The statement described as specious INEC’s argument that APC’s right to substitution was sustained by the Electoral Act, saying the electoral body should know that it is for the court, not the Commission, to determine which course of action is effective or not.
It said in arriving at a decision, INEC merely carried out the directives of the Attorney General of the Federation, but argued that the AGF was not competent to issue directives to INEC to allow APC to substitute its candidate for the Kogi guber poll and that such directives were null and void for inconsistency with the provisions of the constitution.
”To us as a party, the most egregious of the faux pas committed by INEC is asking the APC to lawfully nominate a candidate for the supplementary governorship election without a valid and legally cognizable primary election of the party conducted within the mandatory timeliness specified by the Electoral Act.
“It is our considered opinion that, INEC, more than any other body, ought to know that havingregards to the provisions of Section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010, votes scored by a candidate who died during an election cannot be inherited by or transferred to a person who was not a candidate at the said election and who did not participate in all stages of such election, for the purpose of concluding such election, ” Shaibu said.
He said it was on the strength of the position of the Electoral Act on the developments in Kogi state that he has asked the court to compel the INEC to issue him with a certificate of return.
Shaibu said the party was hopeful that the court will issue an order of injunction restraining APC from organising or holding a fresh primary election for the purpose of any supplementary election having regard to the immutable statutory timelines provided by enabling sections of the Electoral Act 2010 and the INEC timetable for Kogi governorship election.