Tuesday 24 November 2015

"Abubakar Audu remains APC's governorship candidate" - INEC

Late Abubakar Audu
The anti-climax arising from the death of Prince Abubakar Audu in the Kogi State governorship election continued yesterday after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC affirmed that the dead Audu remained the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The assertion came as a meeting of senior INEC officials in Abuja called to ponder possible options on the issue was temporarily aborted after news emerged that Audu had ‘resurrected’.

The dispersal of the meeting coincided with jubilations in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital that Audu had been revived.

The news of Audu’s ‘revival’ about midday followed insistence of some prophets who stormed the late Audu’s country home in Ogbonicha, that they would revive him. The prophets, who were initially rebuffed by Audu’s family members, however, got passage into the room where the corpse was kept after desperate sympathisers overwhelmed the family members and broke the door to the room.

While they prayed, the grave diggers who all along had been busy at one section of Audu’s expansive country home relaxed. The relaxation in part gave fillip to rumours that Audu was being revived, a development that spread far and wide, even to INEC headquarters.

When they reconvened after the initial disruption, senior INEC officials affirmed that the commission was ignorant of Audu’s death.

INEC, however, said although it heard the news of Audu’s passing just like most other Nigerians, it was nevertheless meticulously studying the situation with a view to coming up with an appropriate position that would be fair, lawful and acceptable to all. Director of Voter Education, Publicity, Civil Society and Gender Liaison at the Commission, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzi told Vanguard yesterday that INEC would make its position public as soon as it was addressed by APC on the issue.
Also speaking, Deputy Director, Publicity at the commission, Mr Nick Dazang, said yesterday: “APC has to do proper notification, and accompany it with the certificate of death issued by a medical doctor.
“When something like this happens, the party on which platform the candidate contested will need to notify the commission; of course, we have heard and read like everyone else but we need to be notified.
“Once the commission is notified, it will look at relevant clauses of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and also the Constitution of APC itself.
“All these relevant laws will be looked at with a view to determining what to be done to ensure that whatever is done subsequently is done within the ambit of the law.
“INEC as a law-abiding body will do everything prescribed by the law.
“Thankfully we have a consortium of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) that provide counsel to the commission. We also have a very vibrant legal service department, headed by a SAN,” Dazang said.
The Electoral Act prescribes 14 days for the conduct of a supplementary poll. INEC was, however, silent on whether it would go ahead with the supplementary polls but said it would not rely on mere opinions of people or sentiments to take a position. INEC added that the situation in Kogi would not affect the conduct of the December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa state.

Credit: Vanguard

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