The death of Prince Abubakar Audu not only created a constitutional crisis, it also appears to have split the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the party set to produce a substitute candidate for its deceased flag bearer in the December 5 supplementary governorship election.
While the APC in Kogi East has nominated Mohammed Audu, the eldest son of late Audu, who was the party’s candidate and already coasting home to victory before he passed away last Sunday, the Kogi West APC has made a case for Hon. Abiodun James Faleke, the running mate to Audu.
In a petition to the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the Kogi West chapter of the party expressed sadness over the death of Prince Audu.
Former Acting Governor and Speaker in Kogi State, Chief Clarence Obafemi, who signed the petition on behalf of the party stakeholders in the senatorial district, advised the national leadership of the party to allow Hon. Faleke inherit the governorship mandate of the APC based on the need to ensure equity, fairness and justice.
While acknowledging party supremacy in the choice of a candidate in any election, they expressed their belief that the consideration of Faleke would ensure that the owners of the mandate were not deprived.
“It is on record, and it is common knowledge that about 95 per cent of the process had been completed and the party had substantially complied with the electoral law before the election was declared inconclusive.
“Also very well-known is the fact that the APC governorship mandate is jointly held by the late Prince Audu and Hon. Faleke. And more than 240,000 votes given by the good people of Kogi State are for the two of them. Now, Hon Faleke is still alive.
“We acknowledge the fact that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the Electoral Act as amended did not envisage this unfortunate situation, therefore did not make any provision to remedy it.
“We are drawing the attention of the National Working Committee to the need to avoid the mistake of compensating those who worked against the party and who will want to take advantage of the new primary being organised by the party and reap from where they did not sow.
“On this note, we as loyal party members enjoin the national party leadership to use its good offices to ensure that Hon. Faleke is made the governorship candidate of the party. This will promote loyalty and hard work among the rank and file of members of the party”, the petition read in part.