The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed December 5 as date for a supplementary election to determine the winner of the inconclusive Kogi State governorship poll which held Saturday. The Commission also said it will allow the All Progressives Congress (APC) to fill the vacancy created by the sudden death of its candidate in the election, Prince Abubakar Audu.
In a statement signed by the Commission’s Secretary, Mrs Augusta C. Ogakwe, Tuesday, INEC also acknowledged that the APC had notified it, Monday, of the death of Prince Audu, against the backdrop of reports that the Commission was unaware of the incident.
This is as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s National Working Committee, NWC, in reaction to the decision by INEC to opt for a supplementary poll, has summoned an emergency National Caucus meeting of the party for Wednesday, to deliberate on what it termed ‘obvious threat to our democracy.’
The decision by INEC to fix the supplementary election on December 5 means the electoral body will juggle two governorship elections on the same day, as the Bayelsa State poll falls on December 5.
It would be recalled that INEC, Sunday declared Saturday’s election inconclusive as the number of cancelled votes was more than the 41,353 votes with which Audu was leading his main opponent, the incumbent governor, Capt. Idris Wada, of the PDP.
The Returning Officer of the election, Prof. Emmanuel Kucha, had disclosed that Audu scored a total of 240,867 votes and won majority of votes in 16 Local Government Areas, while Wada polled 199,514 votes and majority of votes in five LGAs.
Rising from an emergency meeting at its headquarters, in Abuja, therefore, INEC, Tuesday, said: “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 INEC 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 5th December 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 5th, 2015,” the statement concluded.
The APC candidate, Prince Audu died, Sunday, at his hometown, Ogbonicha in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State, a day after voting in the election through which he was seeking to return as governor of the state.
Meanwhile, reacting to the decision of INEC to allow for a supplementary election in Kogi State, the PDP’s National Working Committee summoned an emergency National Caucus meeting of the party for Wednesday.
“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 to take a decision on this obvious threat to our democracy,” said a statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, Tuesday.
In a related development, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Tuesday, backed the decision of INEC to opt for a supplementary election in the Kogi poll, adding that in effect, the ruling APC would have to substitute its candidate for the purpose of the process.