The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has granted the All Progressives Congress, APC, permission to fill the vacancy created by the death of its candidate in the inconclusive governorship election in Kogi State, Abubakar Audu.
This is just as the commission announced that the supplementary polls in the 91 polling units where elections were canceled, will now take place on Saturday, December 5.
The death of Prince Audu after the elections had been substantially conducted and results announced, though, inconclusive, had thrown up a new constitutional crisis with lawyers divided over whether INEC should conduct elections afresh or go ahead with the supplementary polls in the affected units.
Mr. Audu was leading his closest challenger and incumbent governor, Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, by 41,353 votes while the total number of registered voters in the 91 canceled polling units was 49,953 – higher than the margin between the two leading candidates.
Despite the elections being declared inconclusive by INEC, analysts are of the view that the APC would eventually emerge winner after supplementary polls are held as the PDP would have needed 100 per cent turnout and about all the votes in the 91 polling units to be declared winner.
Furthermore, there is another line of argument that INEC should not have declared the elections inconclusive in the first place as the total number of voters in the affected polling units with permanent voters cards, which makes them eligible to exercise their franchise, was not more than 25,000
Putting the controversy to rest in a statement by its secretary, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu, on Tuesday, INEC said after due consideration of the prevailing circumstances, it has decided to allow the APC to fill the vacancy created by the death of its candidate.
See the full press release below: