Abubakar Audu’s Death: INEC confused over fate of inconclusive Kogi governorship poll
Abubakar Audu buried. Sand poured into grave amidst tears
There are indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission has been plunged into confusion, following the constitutional logjam created by the death of Abubakar Audu of the All Progressives Congress, who was on the verge of winning Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State.
The election was however declared inconclusive following cancellation of elections in 91 polling units.
According to results so far declared by the Returning Officer, Emmanuel Kucha, Mr. Audu of the All Progressives Congress scored 240,867, while Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party polled 199,514 votes.
A top official of the electoral agency told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that his commission was in a ‘deep state state of confusion’.
“I can tell you that everyone is confused,” the official said, asking not to be named because he had no authority to make that disclosure to the media.
“We don’t know how to proceed at this point. We have been consulting extensively, but we have been unable to reach any conclusion.”
“Several meetings have been held here but no conclusion has been reached.”
When contacted, the commission’s Director of Voters’ Education and Publicity, Ozaze Uzzi, confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that the commission was yet to reach any position regarding the election.
He said consultations were still ongoing and the commission would hold some meetings to reach a decision.
“We should be able to say something between 24 and 48 hours,” Mr. Uzzi said.
The returning officer at the election, Mr. Kucha, had, citing INEC guideline, declared the election inconclusive, saying the margin of votes scored between Messrs Audu and Wada was less than the number of registered voters in 91 polling units were elections were either cancelled or did not hold.
Mr. Audu had 41,353 votes more than Mr. Wada, while the total number of registered voters in the affected polling units is 49,953.
Nigerian law did not provide for the kind of political logjam that has developed in Kogi, where a governorship candidate died before conclusion of the election.
Legal experts have expressed divergent opinions on the matter.
Lagos-based constitutional lawyers, Jiti Ogunye and Festus Keyamo said Mr. Audu’s running mate, James Faleke, should automatically be made the APC’s governorship candidate while the supplementary election in the affected 91 units continues.
On the hand, Muideen Olagunju, a lawyer, holds different opinion, asking the Attorney General of the Federation to approach the Supreme Court to determine the way out.
He argued that Mr. Faleke could not automatically continue with the election as the governorship candidate since there was no provision in the constitution to that effect.
The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Candidate, Abubakar Audu, who died on Sunday while vote counting in the elections was still ongoing, would be buried in his hometown, Ogbonicha, today.
PREMIUM TIMES Reporter, Josiah Oluwole is in the village to witness the burial and is providing live updates from the community.
Gridlock as sympathisers and visitors depart. Motorists frustrated at street leading away from Ogbonicha, Audu's village.
Lucky Igbinedion and Rabiu Kwankwaso do the 3km trek as traffic snarl becomes more biting.
People are departing from grave site but a lot of sympathisers are still weeping profusely.
Suratul Fatiha, the first chapter of the Quoran has been rendered. Sympathisers dispersing.
Final prayers as Audu goes home.
Abubakar Audu buried. Now laid in grave as Imams offer prayers. Sands poured into grave amidst tears and sorrow.
Abubakar Audu not risen. Corpse set for Burial
Saminu Turaki and other APC leaders have arrived Ogbonicha in a helicopter.
Two young men engage in a fight over food.
Heavy security deployed at Audu's compound ahead of burial. The crowd here is insisting he is alive.
Former governors George Akume, Abdulkadir Kure, Lucky Igbinidion and Rabiu Kwankwaso arrive, to pay homage. Dino Melaye has been with corpse since morning.
Dignitaries troop in to pay homage.
While jubilation over rumoured resurrection continues, burial is still fixed for 2.00 p.m. as grave diggers complete work.
The burial has been officially fixed for 2.00 P.M.
Imams retire to small mosque in compound as rejoicing continues however no one has confirmed seeing him.
Thousands troop into Ogbonicha as rumours of revival spreads. Rejoicing continues but Audu not in sight.
A mammoth crowd besieged the residence of the late Abubakar Audu as they await the corpse to be brought out of his room
Angry friends and relatives try banging hard at the door trying to force it open
Interesting twist as prophet seeks to pray for Audu's corpse and bring him back to life Security inside and family members would have none of it but angry youths break the door open
The prayer man has successfully been forcefully taken in by the wish of the crowd and they have all joined in the prayers for the resurrection of Audu with Holy Ghost fire renting the air as well as shouts of Allahu Akbar .
Dino Melaye and some family members came out through the back door to calm the angry crowd. While they are largely engaged in fervent prayers others are weeping loudly by the door
There is no word as to what the programme of burial is. No official word only a shut door and a waiting crowd Both Christians and muslims I meant to say
As men and women of faith engage in fervent prayers to bring Audu back to life others are digging his grave in one end of the compound
Uproar as news filters in that he has risen. No confirmation yet.
Grave diggers discouraged. Slow down work as people keep asserting that Audu is being revived.
Grave diggers redouble work as doubts spreads.