Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of setting the country on the path of anarchy by using his personal lawyer and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to railroad the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, into taking an unconstitutional decision on the inconclusive governorship election in Kogi State.
The governor specifically accused the president of “fraudulently using the AGF to carry out an act which amounted to amending the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and the Electoral Act 2010 to advance his ambition and that of his party to turn Nigeria to a one party state”.
In his reaction to the announcement by INEC that it would go ahead with the supplementary election in Kogi while allowing the All Progressives Congress, APC, to substitute its dead candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, Fayose noted that “only the Supreme Court can resolve issues not envisaged by the Constitution like the one that happened concerning the Kogi State governorship election”.
“INEC further exposed its partisanship and undependability by relying on legal advice from the AGF, a man who has disobeyed the court severally and an interested party in the Kogi State election being a personal lawyer of President Buhari and a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC)”, the governor said in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.
Fayose vowed to use all legal means at his disposal to fight what he termed the kangaroo decision on the Kogi State election.
According to the statement, President Buhari and the governing party took to illegal amendment of the Constitution and the Electoral Act owing to the fear of facing a fresh election as a result of the malpractices perpetrated by the APC in the inconclusive election.
Governor Fayose said it was shameful that the first election conducted by the new INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu ended in controversy, adding that the manipulation of the Kogi State election and the electoral commission’s illegal position on the substitution of APC candidate, had confirmed his fears that Yakubu was appointed just to do the biddings of President Buhari and his party.
Fayose, who said the fact that Audu died in the early hours of last Sunday and his death was kept secret until later that day was a pointer to the ulterior motive of the Presidency and the APC, adding that, “Having manipulated the election substantially, what they plotted by covering up Audu’s death for hours against Islamic injunction, was to declare a dead candidate as elected governor of Kogi State so as to pave way for the emergence of his running mate as the governor-elect”.
He called on Nigerians to rise against what he described as systematic dictatorship, saying, “If all noble men should keep silent and get cowed by this rampaging beast that is ready to consume democracy and rule of law in Nigeria, ordinary Nigerians will sooner than later end up in the belly of the beast”.
He also claimed to be aware of the various sinister plots against him by those he said were plotting to turn Nigeria to a one party state, but declared that “the Lord will consume anyone plotting against me as He has always done”.
Governor Fayose, who said only two options were available to INEC on the Kogi State election crisis, noted that; “INEC should either conclude the election with APC not having a candidate or hold a fresh election with APC nominating a new governorship candidate. Anything outside these two options will mean that the Supreme Court must intervene”.
According to him, “Section 33 of the Electoral Act only provided for substitution of a dead candidate before election, not during election. Also, the running mate would have become the governor-elect if the governorship candidate had been duly elected before he died. But in this case, the election was still in progress, meaning that Audu was a candidate like others when he died.
“Therefore, what INEC has done will mean that votes have now become an inheritance that the late APC governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu has willed to whoever that emerges as his substitute.
“It is like saying that Audu’s votes in the inconclusive election will now be inherited by another person. How logical is that?
“In a democracy, how can the Attorney General of the Federation and INEC turn themselves to the National Assembly that amends laws and the judiciary that interprets laws?
“The implication of all these is that it has become obvious that no one can get justice under this APC government and if this is the change they promised Nigerians, it appears that Nigeria is in serious trouble”.