Thursday, 3 December 2015

Kogi Election: Faleke Should Be Declared APC Candidate - Ozoh

Frank Ozoh, a former coordinator of the Independent National Electoral Commission Institute, on Thursday, December 3, said James Faleke should be declared governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the electoral commission.

According to him, since Abubakar Audu, the APC governorship candidate died before the Kogi election was concluded, his running mate should replace him in the supplementary election, NAN reports.

Audu died on Sunday, November 22, a day after the inconclusive gubernatorial election and his party has replaced him with Yahaya Bello, who will contest on Saturday, December 5 in the supplementary election.

Ozoh argued that if the party was not fielding Faleke as its candidate, a fresh election should be conducted, saying: “It is not possible for the votes of late Audu to be transferred to another person who did not contest in an election since our electoral system is not based on transferable vote system like we have in India.”

He explained that the votes during an election are for the candidate and not for the party.

“Once we are making a return, we say this candidate, having polled majority of the votes and having met the constitutional requirements; we don’t say this party. Therefore, the votes are for the candidates and not for the party,” the former INEC coordinator said.

Ozoh added that there should be a rerun so that all aggrieved persons will participate.

He therefore called on the electoral commission to ensure that political stakeholders in Kogi state adhere to due process during Saturday’s supplementary election.

The death of Audu created a constitutional quagmire being that there was no provision for such in the Nigerian constitution. The dilemma arose from the 1999 constitution which obviously was silent on what should happen in a situation where a governorship candidate dies before being declared winner of the election as was the case in Kogi state. The fact that the election was declared inconclusive seemed not to have helped the matter either.

However, INEC came up with a solution, asking the APC to pick a replacement for Audu in a supplementary election which is scheduled for Saturday.

The emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the governorship candidate of the APC did not go down well with some people and it said to be causing division among supporters of the late Audu.