Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) will substitute its candidate as a result of the death of Abubakar Audu last Sunday, after leading in the Kogi state governorship election.
This is a just as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed December 5, 2015 for the supplementary election in Kogi State.
Making the clarification on Tuesday at a seminar in Abuja, organised by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission on the reform of the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act, the AGF said the election has to be concluded.
He said since the primary conducted by the APC prior to the election is still valid, the candidate that came second may have to be considered as replacement.
Malami said, “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, the APC has participated in the conduct of the election.
“It is therefore apparent that the combination 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 deduction, 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.”
Asked if that substitution should automatically benefit the deputy governorship candidate, he said: “It all depends on the appreciation of issues arising from the primaries conducted before now.
“There was a first and a second candidate. Those 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.”
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed December 5, 2015 for the supplementary election in Kogi State.
In a statement signed by INEC Secretary, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, on Tuesday, the commission said it had on November 23 received formal notice about the death of Abubakar Audu, the APC governorship candidate.
“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 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 5th December, 2015.”
It could be recalled that the November 21 governorship election which the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, late Abubakar Audu won was declared inconclusive by INEC.
The Returning Officer, Prof Emmanuel Kucha, had declared the election inconclusive because the 49, 953 votes that were cancelled were more than the margin of votes with which the APC candidate emerged winner.
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