Confusion arises on how new Kogi governor will be chosen

Audu was in the lead in the elections which held on Saturday, November 21, before his sudden death on Sunday, 22.

PDP candidate, Gov. Idris Wada and APC candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu

Confusion has arisen about how the new governor of Kogi State will emerge following the death of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu.

The polls were later declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The constitutional principle on the emergence of a governor following the death of a winning candidate is contained in Section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

It reads:

“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.”

The problem in this case however, is that Audu wasn’t “duly elected” before his death as the polls were declared inconclusive despite his lead.

“The words of Section 181 are quite clear. What INEC is to do is what is not so clear. I doubt that 181 covers situations like this. While we wait for the learned law Lords of the Supreme Court, I think INEC might start over,” a legal practitioner, Tope Atiba told Pulse.

Another provision of the law on the situation in Kogi can be found in Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2010. It reads:

“In the case of section 33 of the Electoral Act 2010, it provides, in effect, 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.”

“My simple position is that the Kogi situation fits more into section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and as such James Abiodun Faleke automatically becomes the governorship candidate of the APC,” popular lawyer, Festus Keyamo said about the issue.

It appears however that the final decision rests with the courts and INEC on the next step to be taken in choosing a new governor for Kogi State.


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