With the situation brought about by the inconclusiveness of the November 21 gubernatorial polls in Kogi state, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday said it would apply relevant legal provisions to address the development.
The electoral body will announce its decision before the end of this week ahead of the two weeks stipulation by the electoral laws. It also assured that the Kogi election would not affect that of Bayelsa election coming up early December.
Deputy Director of Publicity of the commission, Nick Dazang, stated however that the All Progressive Congress (APC) will have to inform the commission of the death of Abubakar Audu, the party’s flag bearer in the election.
“APC has to do proper notification, and accompany it with the certificate of death issued by a medical doctor,’’ he said.
Audu was leading Idris Wada, his main opposition and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and incumbent governor of the state in the election which was declared inconclusive by INEC before he died suddenly on Sunday in his home in Ogbonicha.
He was buried on Monday according to Islamic injunction.
Dazang said that INEC would apply relevant laws and make a pronouncement on its position on the election immediately it received official notification of Audu’s death from his political party.
He said that there were legal provisions to address such incidence in the country’s electoral process.
“When something like this happens, the party on which platform the candidate contested will need to notify the commission; of course, we have heard and read like everyone else but we need to be notified.
“Once the commission is notified, it will look at relevant clauses of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and also the Constitution of APC itself.
“All these relevant laws will be looked at with a view to determine what to be done to ensure that whatever is done subsequently is done within the ambit of the law.
“INEC as a law-abiding body will do everything prescribed by the law.
“ Thankfully we have a consortium of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) that provide counsel to the commission. We also have a very vibrant legal service department, headed by a SAN,’’ Dazang said.
He said that before the report of the death of Audu, INEC, on the directive of its chairman, was already making provision for a supplementary election.
He said that the commission would follow the Constitution and not the opinion of people on the election, saying there were legal provisions for such incident.
The director assured that because of the urgency of the issues involved in the supplementary election, INEC would prepare itself to commence consultation.
According to him, INEC will not fold its arms in a very serious incident like this.
He expressed hope that the commission would come out with its position about the election before the end of the week, saying that the Electoral Act prescribed 14 days for the conduct of supplementary poll.
He declined comment on whether the commission would proceed with a supplementary election or conduct a fresh poll in Kogi.
Dazang, however, said that whatever the situation would be, Kogi election would not affect that of Bayelsa as the commission had the capacity to handle the two elections.
“Assuming the two states’ elections coincide, the commission has the resource to conduct them. Don’t forget we have conducted national elections before and we are just talking about election in two states,’’ he said.
On efficiency of the card reader for the Kogi election, he said that available statistics revealed that less than one per cent of the deployed card readers failed.
According to Dazang, about 53, out of the 6, 0066 card readers deployed to the state malfunctioned in the exercise.