The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that Abubakar Audu, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Saturday, November 21, 2015 election, who died on Sunday, November 22, 2015 was still the party’s candidate for now.
INEC’s Director of Voter Education, Publicity, Civil Society and Gender Liaison, Oluwole Osaze-Uzi who sposke to Vanguard availed that the commission was studying the situation and would come up with a fair, lawful and acceptable position.
“When something like this happens, the party on which platform the candidate contested will need to notify the commission; of course, we have heard and read like everyone else but we need to be notified.
“Once the commission is notified, it will look at relevant clauses of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and also the Constitution of APC itself.
“All these relevant laws will be looked at with a view to determining what to be done to ensure that whatever is done subsequently is done within the ambit of the law.
“INEC as a law-abiding body will do everything prescribed by the law.
“Thankfully we have a consortium of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) that provide counsel to the commission. We also have a very vibrant legal service department, headed by a SAN.”
Meanwhile the APC said it would act within the stipulations of the constitution in finding a replacement for the late Abubakar Audu.
Speaking through a statement issued by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, the party said: “On INEC’s position that the November 21, 2015, governorship poll in Kogi State was inconclusive, APC is studying the declaration of the Returning Officer, Prof. Emmanuel Kucha, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, based on Section M, Paragraph 4(Page 22) of INEC Approved Guidelines and Regulations for the Conduct of the 2015 General Elections.
“APC believes in the rule of law, strict adherence to 1999 Constitution and Electoral Act 2010(as Amended).
“Our government is a product of the rule of law. We have absolute faith in the nation’s law, and we will not in any manner undermine the law. Our observations and position will be within the laws of the land.
“The situation in Kogi State is a test case for the rule of law and our growing democracy. APC is committed to its pledge to ensure a sustainable democracy in the country.”
In another statement issued by the APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank, the party said: “We are exploring all known choices and alternatives to us in line with our party’s dictates and respect of the rule of law as is in conformity with laid down laws and rules of our country.
“To say that we are shocked and dumbfounded at Audu’s death is to scratch our pains on the surface as the Kogi Prince typified what a real democrat radiates. A politician who chose to remain in opposition after losing his governorship in 2003 despite the intimidations on him but rather chose to see the nation get its deserved change in leadership.”