Kogi state was thrown into a total confusion, especially the loyalist of All Progressives Congress (APC) over the sudden, shocked and unbelievable death of Prince Abubakar Audu.Before His death, Prince Audu was the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Saturday governorship election in Kogi State
The reason for huge shock mostly in the APC Camp was that the News came immediately after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the governorship election inconclusive. The reason given for the cancellation was based on the ground that the number of cancelled votes was greater than the margin between the duo, Prince Abubakar Audu of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the incumbent governor Idris Wada of People Democratic Party (PDP)
According to the emerged result, Abubakar Audu polled 240,867 votes, while Idris Wada polled 199,514. Showing the difference between the scores of the two candidates totaled 41,353 votes.
Position of the Law as enshrined in the Constitution of Federal Republic Nigeria . Human rights activist, Mr Festus Keyamo, explains the legal implications of Audu sudden death.
Justice A.M Liman delivered the judgement.
The reported death today on Sunday, November 22nd, 2015, of the APC candidate in the Kogi State Governorship elections, Prince Abubakar Audu, is extremely shocking and sad. I would like to express my condolences to the entire family of Audu and to the people of Kogi State.
However, the real question agitating the minds of everybody is the legal implication regarding the inconclusive Governorship elections at the time of his demise. To state it correctly he was said to have died AFTER the announcement of the results by INEC and after INEC had declared the elections inconclusive. Admittedly, this is a strange and novel constitutional scenario. It has never happened in our constitutional history to the extent that when an election has been partially conducted (and not before or after the elections) a candidate dies. What then happens?
This is a hybrid situation between what happened in the case of Atiku Abubakar/Boni Haruna in 1999 and the provision of section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2010.
In the case of Atiku Abubakar/Boni Haruna [which is now a clear constitutional provision of section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)] the Supreme Court held, in effect, that “if a person duly elected as Governor dies before taking and subscribing the Oath of Allegiance and oath of office, or is unable for any reason whatsoever to be sworn in, the person elected with him as Deputy governor shall be sworn in as Governor and he shall nominate a new Deputy-Governor who shall be appointed by the Governor with the approval of a simple majority of the house of Assembly of the State
In the case of section 33 of the Electoral Act 2010 it provides, in effect, that if a person has been duly nominated as a candidate of his party and he dies before the election then the political party has the right to replace him with another candidate and not necessarily the Deputy Governorship candidate
Now, does the Kogi situation fit into section 181(1) of the Constitution as quoted above or section 33 of the Electoral Act mentioned above?
My simple position is that the Kogi situation fits more into section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and as such James Abiodun Faleke automatically becomes the governorship candidate of the APC. This is because even though the election in inconclusive, votes have been counted and allocated to Parties and candidates. As a result the joint ticket of Audu/Faleke has acquired some votes already. James Abiodun Faleke is as much entitled to those votes already counted as much as the late Abubakar Audu. He has a right to cling to those votes going into the supplementary election.
There is only one problem, though. Who nominates Faleke Deputy? Unlike section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution, he cannot approach the House of Assembly of the State to approve a nomination by him of a Deputy. This is because, in reality, he is not duly elected yet. Therefore it is only reasonable to conclude that it is APC (Faleke political party) that should submit the name of a fresh Deputy Governorship candidate to INEC for the supplementary election.
This is the only position in this situation that accords with reason and good sense.
The James Faleke and Yahaya Bello supporters both of the All Progressives Congress clashed. They practically engaged in a violent face-off, at the party secretariat in Abuja amidst the Security agents that brought normalcy and calm.
The reason was the struggle on who replaces the deceased candidate , Audu Abubakar of the All Progressives Congress in the Kogi governorship supplementary election slated to hold on Saturday, December 5.
The controversy on ground which only the constitution, electoral act and the party itself can harmonize together by means finding a way out of this dilemma for the sake of the Ordinary Kogi people. It may interest you to know that Faleke was Audu running mate, while Bello was the second runner-up to the late Audu, in the party primary election while in the governorship election of November 21.
Posted in World News Today on December 2, 2015 by Saliu Emmanuel.