The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the resignation of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), for “harrying and misleading” the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) into arriving at what it termed “an unconstitutional decision” to allow the All Progressives Congress, APC, to substitute its candidate in the inconclusive Kogi state governorship election.
The Secretary to INEC, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu had in a public notice yesterday said following the recent developments in Kogi State, the commission has agreed to allow the APC fill the vacancy created by the death of its candidate, Abubakar Audu.
“The party is shocked that 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 National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, said in a statement Tuesday.
“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”.
The opposition spokesman said 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.
“Consequently, the PDP rejects in its entirety, this 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 clear implication of this action of the AGF and INEC is that the APC would be fielding two different governorship candidates in the ongoing Kogi election, meaning that INEC would be transferring votes cast for late Abubakar Audu to another candidate, scenarios that have no place in the constitution of the land.
“Whereas the PDP, in honour of the sanctity of human life and respect for the dead, had since Sunday refrained from making comments on the conduct of the election, we can no longer maintain such in the face of the barefaced attack on our democracy”, Metuh said.
In addition to calling for the resignation of the AGF, the PDP also asked the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to immediately vacate office as the electoral body under his leadership has shown itself as partisan, morally bankrupt and obviously incapable of conducting a credible election within our laws.
“In view of the foregoing therefore, the PDP demands an immediate resignation of the INEC chairman, as the nation’s democracy cannot afford to be left in the hands of an electoral umpire that cannot exert its independence and the sanctity of the electoral process”, the PDP said.
Following this “obvious threat to our democracy”, Metuh said the National Working Committee of the PDP summoned an emergency National Caucus meeting on Wednesday to take a decision on the recent turn of events in Kogi.