Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chiefs were yesterday meeting on the Kogi State governorship election, which was declared inconclusive —a decision rejected by legal experts.
The commission will take a stand on the exercise today, a source told The Nation.
But the All Progressives Congress (APC), whose candidate Abubakar Audu was leading, yesterday opted for legal advice on its delayed victory. Audu died on Saturday after casting his vote.
The party may write INEC on its position within the next 48 to 72 hours, according to sources.
The APC is said to be of the opinion that it ought to have been declared the winner of the election.
A team of lawyers was last night going through the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act and Guidelines for the 2015 General Elections ahead of the presentation of the party’s position.
A source in the party, who spoke in confidence, said: “Our party is of the opinion that the Returning Officer, Prof. Emmanuel Kucha, erred by not declaring its candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, the winner of Saturday poll.
”We have assembled a team of senior lawyers to advise the party on the way forward. They have been meeting since some of our leaders returned from Kogi State on the way forward.
“Our preliminary findings revealed that although Kucha said there are 49,953 registered voters in 91 polling units, those actually eligible to vote with Permanent Voter Cards are actually 25,000.
“We think that Kucha, being an academic, was not well-guided by the National Electoral Commissioner in charge of Kogi governorship poll, Mrs. Amina Zakari, and the State Resident Electoral Commissioner.”
It was gathered that the APC based its argument on the provision of Section 179 of the 1999 Constitution.
Section 179 says: “A candidate for an election to the office of Governor of a State shall be deemed to have been duly elected to such office where, being the only candidate nominated for the election – (a) he has a majority of YES votes over NO votes cast at the election; and (b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the State, but where the only candidate fails to be elected in accordance with this subsection, then there shall be fresh nominations,
“A candidate for an election to the office of Governor of a state shall be deemed to have been duly elected where, there being two or more candidates; (a) he has the highest of votes cast at the election; and (b) he has not less than one-quarter of all votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the State.
“In default of a candidate duly elected in accordance with subsection (2) of this section, there shall be a second election in accordance with subsection (4) of this section at which the only candidate shall be- (a) the candidate who secured the highest number of votes cast at the election and (b) one among the remaining candidates who secured a majority of votes in the highest number of local government areas in the State, so however that where there are more than one candidate with a majority of votes in the highest number of local government areas, the candidate among them with the next highest total of votes cast at the election shall be second candidate.”
A senior party official said: “We believe that the constitution supersedes any guidelines by INEC or even the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
“We are going to write the electoral commission within the next 48 to 72 hours on our position.”