The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded the resignation of the Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami and Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu over alleged conspiracy on the Kogi governorship election to derail the democratic enterprise.
“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,” the party said through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh in a statement issued in Abuja.
“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 advise 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 bare-faced 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.
“In view of the developments regarding Kogi Governorship election, the National Working Committee of the PDP has summoned an emergency National Caucus meeting of the party on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 (today), to take a decision on this obvious threat to our democracy,” the PDP said.
Malami had, while speaking at a seminar organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission on the reform of the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act , said the Kogi gubernatorial election must be concluded within the next 14 days.
Specifically, the AGF said his position on the matter was fortified by a combined reading and application of Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution and Section 33 of the Electoral Act.
Also, INEC in a statement issued by the secretary of the commission, Augusta Ogakwu, put all the political parties on notice that the supplementary polls would hold on December 5.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, conducted governorship election in Kogi State on 21st November 2015, which was declared inconclusive,” the commission said.
“On November 23, 2015, the All Progressives Congress, APC, notified the commission of the death of its governorship candidate in the election, Prince Abubakar Audu.
“The commission has after due consideration of the circumstances, decided as follows: To conclude the process by conducting election in the 91 affected polling units as announced by the Returning Officer;
“To allow the All Progressives Congress to fill the vacancy created by the death of its candidate;
“To conduct the supplementary election on December 5, 2015.
“Accordingly, notice is hereby given to all the 22 political parties participating in the Kogi Governorship Election that supplementary election in the 91 affected Polling Units shall hold on December 5, 2015.”