The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the resignation of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami, for advising that the All Progressives Congress (APC) could field another candidate to replace the late Abubakar Audu in the Kogi governorship election.
Seemingly adopting the Attorney General’s advise, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had earlier announced that it would allow the APC to substitute Audu, as a rerun election in 91 polling units was slated for December 5.
In a statement signed by the PDP’s spokesman, Olisa Metuh, the party expressed shock at INEC’s decision, questioning its credibility as an ‘independent’ body.
“INEC, a supposedly independent electoral umpire, could allow itself to succumb to the antics of the APC by following the unlawful directive of an obviously partisan AGF to substitute a candidate in the middle of the ballot process”, the statement said.
The party claimed that the move is a plot by INEC, the AGF and the APC to rob the Kogi people of their right to freely and fairly choose their leader.
The statement further read: “We are all aware that the two legal documents guiding INEC in the conduct of elections; the Constitution and the Electoral Act, have provisions for electoral exigencies as well as empower the electoral body to fully take responsibility for any of its actions or inaction without undue interference from any quarters whatsoever.
“We are therefore at a loss as to which sections of these two relevant laws, INEC and the AGF relied on in arriving at their bizarre decision to substitute a dead candidate in an on-going election even after the timelines for such has elapsed under all the rules.
“INEC as a statutory body has the full complements of technical hands in its legal department to advice it appropriately and we wonder why it had to wait for directives from the AGF, an external party, if not for partisan and subjective interest”.
It added that the development is “a brazen move by the APC and INEC to circumvent the laws and ambush the yet-to-be concluded election by introducing a practice that is completely alien to the constitution and the Electoral Act”.
The opposition party alleged that the implication of the AGF and INEC’s action is that APC would be fielding two different governorship candidates in the on-going Kogi election, a situation it said meant that INEC would be transferring votes cast for late Prince Abubakar Audu to another candidate.
Audu died from a heart attack on Sunday, Nov. 22, after INEC declared the state’s governorship election inconclusive.
After election results from the 21 local government areas were collated, Audu of the APC was leading while the incumbent Governor, Captain Idris Wada of the PDP followed by a margin less than the number of cancelled votes.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress had 240,867 votes while that of the PDP got 199,514 votes.