“INEC should know that, an electoral umpire is expected to be impartial unto death. INEC is like a judge, required to do justice and be fair to all concerned. INEC is a referee, expected to apply the rules and respect the rights of all parties. INEC is the co-ordinator of an orchestra expected to ensure the best performance of the ensemble.”
Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State has reacted to the decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission to allow the All Progressives Congress to substitute its candidate following the death of Prince Abubakar Audu, describing it as the height of mischief that has only succeeded in putting the country’s democracy on trial.
The governorship election was conducted on November 21.
Wada in a statement issued on Tuesday in Lokoja by his Chief Communications Manager, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, said INEC should not have swallowed the directive of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) hook, line and sinker, especially since it is now being rumored that the AGF’s action is part of a grand plot by the APC to grab Kogi State at all costs.
Shaibu slammed the decision of INEC to allow APC to substitute its candidate in the middle of an election, saying such directives were null and void for inconsistency with the provisions of the constitution.
He said INEC’s decision ignores the fact that its action can denigrate the Commission – and indeed Nigeria’s democracy – just because it is playing into a grand design by the ruling APC to grab Kogi State at all costs.
”There is something terribly awry in a system in which a body set up to uphold the rule of law and protect the sanctity of people’s votes is the same one that has gone ahead to undermine it,” Shaibu said.
Shaibu said the Electoral Act was clear that in view of the death of the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Abubakar Audu, Wada should be declared the winner of the election being the only surviving candidate with the majority of lawful votes cast in the election held on November 21.
He said whatever votes Audu scored in the election died with him and wondered why INEC, a body established to be the custodian of the rule of law would ignore the fundamentals of the rule of law in arriving at the decision not to issue him a certificate of return. “It is disheartening, therefore, to see an Institution that is financed by the Nigerian People to assail and flagrantly treat the constitution of Nigeria with disdain as well as arrogate to itself the powers of the Court. The Pertinent question is: What is INEC attempting to hide? Whose interest(s) is INEC trying to protect? We assert, very strongly that it is not the desire of the Nigerian People, to whom Sovereignty belongs.”
He however reiterated optimism that the courts would declare the governor as dully elected and order INEC to give him the certificate of return for the Kogi State gubernatorial polls, insisting that Captain Wada’s mandate is from God.