Kogi Guber Poll: Abiodun Faleke Should Replace Audu – Keyamo

Gov. Idris Wada and Late Abubakar Audu
Gov. Idris Wada (right) and Late Abubakar Audu

Lagos Lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has made a case for the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressive Party, APC, James Abiodun Faleke, to run as the party’s flagbearer in place of Abubakar Audu, who died on Saturday after the gubernatorial contest in Kogi State was declared inconclusive.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Keyamo also said that the APC should be allowed to nominate who would be Faleke’s running mate in the election which Audu was poised to win before it was declared inconclusive because the number of cancelled votes was more than the difference between the votes polled by the two leading contenders.

Audu had initially been reported to have won the election having polled 240,867against Wada’s 199,514, but the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared the poll inconclusive because the number of cancelled votes, 49,953, was more than the margin between the two leading contenders.

Observers have said that Audu’s death might precipitate a constitutional crisis in Kogi State as the Constitution and the Electoral Act make no provision for what happens when a candidate dies during an election.

But Keyamo, pointed out that Audu died after the announcement of the results by INEC and after it had declared the elections inconclusive and thus posits that Section 181 (1) of the Constitution, exemplified by the Atiku Abubaka/Boni Haruna case, should be borrowed to resolve the seeming legal impasse

“This is a hybrid situation between what happened in the case of Atiku Abubakar/Boni Haruna in 1999 and the provision of section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2010,” Keyamo stated.

“In the case of Atiku Abubakar/Boni Haruna [which is now a clear constitutional provision of section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)]  the Supreme Court held, in effect, that “if a person duly elected as Governor dies before taking and subscribing the Oath of Allegiance and oath of office, or is unable for any reason whatsoever to be sworn in, the person elected with him as Deputy governor shall be sworn in as Governor and he shall nominate a new Deputy-Governor who shall be appointed by the Governor with the approval of a simple majority of the house of Assembly of the State,” he observed



    Keyamo also pointed out that Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2010 provides that “if a person has been duly nominated as a candidate of his party and he dies before the election then the political party has the right to replace him with another candidate and not necessarily the Deputy Governorship candidate.”

    He argued that by virtue of Section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) Faleke should “automatically becomes the governorship candidate of the APC” because votes had already been counted and declared for the candidates in the election even though it was later declared inconclusive.

    The lawyer reasoned that the Audu/Faleke ticket had already gotten some votes and that Faleke can lay as much claim to the counted ballot as Audu.

    However, Keyamo said that the APC and not Flaeke has the power to nominate his running mate because he had not been duly elected and can thus not seek approval from the state legislature to approve anybody he nominates.



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