The Governor of Kogi State, Capt. Idris Wada (retd.) has described the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct supplementary polls in the state, rather than declare him winner of the November 21 inconclusive governorship election, as a hatchet job.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, who was leading in the elections, died with INEC yet to conclude elections in 91 polling units where the results were canceled.
Following his death, INEC gave the APC the go ahead to field a fresh candidate for the supplementary polls slated for this Saturday.
But in a statement issued in Lokoja, the state capital by his Chief Communications Manager, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, Gov. Wada said having had more time to study the INEC’s decision, he was left with no choice but to conclude that the commission embarked on a hatchet job.
According to him, with Audu declared dead, INEC ought to have declared him winner of the inconclusive election being the only surviving candidate with the majority of lawful votes cast in the November 21 election.
Wada said the conclusion was further strengthened by the fact that “Whatever votes Audu scored in the election died with him”.
He added that the INEC simply overreached itself.
The governor wondered why a body established to be the custodian of the rule of law would ignore the law in arriving at the decision not to issue him a certificate of return even as he faulted the INEC’s argument that APC’s right to substitution was sustained by the Electoral Act.
Gov. Wada insisted that only the court, and not INEC, could determine the course of action in the matter.
He further stated that in arriving at a decision, INEC merely bowed to the directives of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), pointing out that the AGF lacked the powers to give the directive to INEC permitting the APC to substitute its candidate for the Kogi gubernatorial poll.
Governor Wada, however, expressed optimism that the court would issue an order restraining the APC from conducting a fresh primary election for the purpose of any supplementary election having regard to the statutory timelines provided by enabling sections of the Electoral Act 2010 and the INEC timetable for Kogi governorship election.