OrderPaperToday – Following the conclusion of Saturday’s supplementary governorship election in parts of Kogi, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Yahaya Bello, the winner of the election.
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the electoral commission of partisanship and favouritism, saying the declaration will not stand as nothing short of declaring its candidate, Idris Wada winner of the polls, is the legal thing to do.
Mr. Bello replaced late Mr. Abubakar Audu who died shortly posting a comfortable lead over incumbent Governor Wada who came second before the November 21 election was declared inconclusive.
INEC Returning Officer for the Kogi governorship polls, Professor Emmanuel Kucha, said Bello polled a total of 247,752 over the 204,877 votes garnered by Wada after conclusion of the supplementary election yesterday.
But the PDP in a statement Sunday derided INEC for seeking “to satisfy the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Federal Government” but “succeeded only in making a mockery of itself and the entire electoral process, by trying to illegally install an individual who, apart from not being a valid candidate, scored, under his name, a paltry 6885 vote in the so-called supplementary election as against the 204,877 votes polled by the PDP candidate, Governor Idris Wada in the overall election.”
The party insisted that “the action of INEC in trying to transfer the votes earlier garnered by the dead APC candidate, Prince Audu Abubakar to another individual is completely impractical and alien to the nation’s Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
The statement read in part: “The declaration by INEC that one Yahaya Bello polled the highest number of votes is an embarrassing travesty of the nation’s democracy and electoral process. Not only that this individual is not in any way a valid candidate in the election, he also did not score the overall votes declared against his name by INEC and cannot be declared winner under any circumstance within the provisions of our laws.
“The provisions of the constitution and the electoral act are clear to the effect that with the unfortunate death of Prince Abubakar Audu before the conclusion of the election, and the fact that the laws do not permit the replacement of candidates once the balloting has commenced, the APC crashed out of the race, leaving the PDP candidate, Governor Idris Wada as the clear winner, having garnered 204,877 votes to top all other contestants since, Prince Ababakar, the hitherto leading contestant died with his votes.
“We all, including INEC and the APC know that nothing other than declaring Governor Idris Wada winner of the election fulfils the requirements of the law under the circumstance. APC cannot have two candidates in one election and the bitter in-fighting within their fold shows the absurdity of INEC’s decision in that regard.
“Indeed, we remain shocked that INEC could elect to create such embarrassing and inciting setting just to show its ‘friendship’ with the ruling government. Our advice to the APC, Yahaya Bello and their co-travellers in illegality is that theirs is a mere pipe dream as Governor Wada remains validly elected within the dictates of our laws under the circumstance.
“Finally, we charge all our members and supporters to remain calm and resist all provocations from the APC, which is now seeking the opportunity to trigger violence in the face of their misfortune, especially as the law will soon take the centre stage, right the wrong created by INEC and declare Governor Wada winner.”