Posted by News Express | 24 November 2015 | 3,898 times
A lawyers group has declared illegal and unconstitutional, the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a supplementary election to be held on December 5 in the 59 polling units where the Kogi State governorship election of last Saturday was cancelled due to irregularities.
INEC this evening asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to substitute its erstwhile candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, who died shortly after the election the ballot was declared inconclusive on Sunday afternoon, for the supplementary poll.
However, according to Abdul Mahmud, Esq., President, Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL),
“there is no provision in our extant electoral laws that empowers INEC to order or conduct supplementary polls. The order made by INEC for supplementary poll to conclude the Kogi governorship poll is unknown to the Electoral Act. The Electoral Act is very clear in Section 70: fresh election can only be ordered where there is equality of votes cast for two candidates with the highest or majority of votes.”
Barrister Mahmud insisted in a written statement to News Express: “As it stands, what should serve as the icebreaker of this seemingly intractable legal and constitutional logjam is the interpretation the court places on Section 36(1) and Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2011. My sense, here, is that in resolving the conundrum and breaking the logjam, our court cannot go beyond the purview of Section 36(1) of the Electoral Act, which deals with the death of a candidate and Section 33 of the Electoral Act which sets out the right of a political party to substitute its candidate who has withdrawn his candidacy or has died. The questions our court must address itself to therefore are: 1) What nature of poll does Section 36(1) envisage- fresh election, re-run, or bye-election? 2) Does the INEC-ordered “supplementary poll” fall within the purview of this section? 3) What does the phrase, “dies before the poll” mean?
News Express reports that though ex-governor Audu polled 240,827 votes to beat incumbent Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 199,514 votes, INEC declared the process inconclusive as the number of voided votes were more than the margin of victory.
•Photo shows Abdul Mahmud, Esq., President, Public Interest Lawyers League.
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