Rising from its Emergency National Caucus Meeting, which held, Wednesday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare it winner of the Saturday’s Kogi State Governorship election as insists that ‘no known law or constitutional provision allows the substituting of candidates, once the ballot process has commenced.’
A 12-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, and signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, therefore, rejected the decision of INEC to allow the All Progressives Congress (APC) to substitute its candidate in the scheduled supplementary election billed to hold December 5.
This is just as the PDP caucus demanded the resignation of the INEC chairman, and all national commissioners of the commission, along with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami over it described as ‘deliberately misleading INEC into arriving at the unconstitutional decision of allowing APC to substitute its candidate in the inconclusive election.’
The Kogi State governorship election was recently been thrown into controversy when the APC candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu died a day after polling with INEC declaring the election inconclusive and scheduling December 5 as date for supplementary poll in the disputed areas in the state.
The PDP said it: “Completely rejects the decision of INEC in yielding to the unlawful prompting of a clearly partisan Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami, to allow APC to substitute a candidate in the middle of an election, even when such has no place in the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“Insists that with the death of its candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC has legally crashed out of the governorship race as no known law or constitutional provision allows the substituting of candidates, once the ballot process has commenced.
“Insists that with the unfortunate death of Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC has no valid candidate in the election, leaving INEC with no other lawful option than to declare the PDP candidate, Capt. Idris Wada, as the winner of the election.
“Notes that the combined reading of the provisions of the constitution and Electoral Act does not in any way whatsoever support the substitution of candidates for election in the middle of the ballot process.
“Notes that if APC is allowed to substitute its original candidate, then the party would have fielded two separate candidates in the same election, a scenario that is completely alien to our electoral laws and to any known democratic norms and practice world-over.
“ Caucus observes that the APC, fully aware that it has no case before the law is now orchestrating confusion in the polity with a view to diverting attention from its glaring incompetence and failure of governance.
“ Observes that the leadership of INEC as presently constituted under the Chairmanship of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has demonstrated that it is incapable of neutrality and as such cannot be vested with the conduct of the Kogi governorship supplementary election as well as the December 5, 2015 Bayelsa governorship election.
The PDP caucus, therefore, demanded: ‘demanded the immediate resignation of the chairman and all national commissioners of INEC to pave the way for a new non-partisan commission to conduct the forth-coming elections.
“the immediate resignation of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mallam Abubakar Malami for deliberately misleading INEC into arriving at the unconstitutional decision of allowing APC to substitute its candidate in the inconclusive election.
The party ‘notes that in order to save the nation’s democracy from imminent collapse, the PDP as a critical stakeholder will immediately challenge this unlawful and unconstitutional decision by INEC in the court.’
It also alerted that ‘the AGF, INEC and APC are creating a scenario where a loser in a primary will patiently wait for the winning candidate to finish election and then have him either poisoned or assassinated before the final collation of results.’
Concluding, the PDP caucus called ‘on the international community to prevail on the APC government to stop this ceaseless assault on our democracy.’