The People’s Democratic Party, PDP, has said it is “a waste of time, scarce national resources and ridiculous shadow-chasing”, the action of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in declaring Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who, it said, did not participate in the overall election, as Kogi State Governor-elect.
INEC announced Mr. Bello as the governor elect of Kogi after he won the supplementary election held Saturday in 19 polling units.
The PDP said INEC, in a “bid to satisfy the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Federal Government”, 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 PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Sunday said “the action of INEC in trying to transfer the votes earlier garnered by the dead APC candidate, Audu Abubakar, to another individual is completely impractical and alien to the nation’s Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
“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 Abubakar, the hitherto leading contestant died with his votes.
“It is therefore unfortunate that INEC disregarded the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, which left it with no other legitimate option than to declare Governor Idris Wada the governor-elect. Instead, it went ahead to preside over a charade, for which it is now attempting to illicitly handover the vote cast for a dead man to another person, who did not participate in the overall election.
“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 advise 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.”
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)