Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Tuesday spoke on the controversy generated by the sudden death of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, Abubakar Audu.
He said since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the governorship election held in the state last Saturday inconclusive, the election must be concluded.
Malami said the APC would have to substitute its candidate for the purpose of the supplementary elections.
He spoke in Abuja at a seminar organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC) on the review of the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act.
Malami was silent on the possibility of the party’s deputy governorship candidate, James Faleke, automatically becoming the governorship candidate.
On whether the substitution could result in Faleke becoming the governorship candidate, he said the choice was for the party to make.
“The issue is very straightforward. Fundamentally, Section 33 of the Electoral Act is very clear that in case of death. The right for substitution by a political party is sustained by the provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act.
“And, if you have a community reading of that Section with Section 221 of the Constitution, which clearly indicates that the right to vote is the right of a political party and, the party in this case, which is the APC has participated in the conduct of the election.
“It is therefore apparent that the community reading of the two provisions does not leave any room for conjecture.
“APC, as a party, is entitled to substitution by the clear provisions of Section 33 of the Electoral Act. Also, Section 221 of the Constitution is clear that the votes that were cast were cast in favour of the APC.
“Arising from that deductions, it does not require any legal interpretation. The interpretation is clear, APC will substitute, which right has been sustained by Section 33 of the Electoral Act. So be it.
“The supplementary election has to be conducted along the line. It all depends on the appreciation of issues arising from the primaries conducted before now.
“There was a first and a second candidate. The primaries that had taken place over time had not by anyway been nullified. And it is recognized by law.
“But then, a further consideration would be the idea of conducting another primary, but that is not envisaged in view of the sustainability of the first primaries,” Malami said.