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I Am Against Cancellation Of Kogi Election – Lawyer

Channels Television  
Updated November 24, 2015

I Am Totally Against Cancellation Of Kogi Election – LawyerA Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Kemi Pinheiro, says he is against the cancellation of the inconclusive governorship election in Kogi State owing to the death of the APC candidate, Mr Abubakar Audu.

Mr Pinheiro, who spoke on Channels Television breakfast show on Tuesday believed that late Audu’s case was one of the very few instances that the constitution as well as the Federal lawmakers did not envisage.

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was reported to have died of undisclosed medical reasons shortly after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the governorship election inconclusive on Sunday and the lawyer said that the constitution did not provide for the death of a candidate after an election had been conducted.

“I bear in mind the position of Section 181 of the constitution that provides for the death of a winner. Section 36 of the Electoral Act on the contrary provides for the death of a candidate after his nomination. Now in all these note sections, no provision has been made for the death of a candidate after election has been conducted,” Pinheiro said.

The legal practitioner stressed the need to consider some ethics where he emphasised that the votes of late Audu’s running mate, Abiodun Faleke, cannot be removed.

“There are broad principles here that we need to establish; one is that election results are sacrosanct.

“Two, by the cocktail of decisions of our appellate court, ‘the party platform is the machinery by which political power is achieved’.

“Thirdly, which is also very important, is that late Audu and Faleke ran a joint ticket and it is not possible to excise the vote of voters that perhaps voted for Faleke because Faleke is on the ticket or late Audu because Audu was on the ticket,” he added.

Constitutional Provision

Considering the provision of Section 181, Mr Pinheiro recommended that it became necessary for Faleke to run the ticket of the APC in the supplementary elections.

“Those 240,000 (approximately) votes that were earned where earned by the joint ticket and as such, we need to apply the principle that is applicable in Section 181 of the constitution to the situation at hand.

“The vote has already been earned by that joint ticket and we will be subjecting ourselves to so much other issues if the elections are cancelled and a fresh election is conducted.”

Kogi

Another lawyer, Mr John Oloyede, on the Monday edition of Sunrise Daily, had advised the electoral body to conduct a fresh election in Kogi State to resolve what appears to be a legal logjam created by the death of the APC governorship candidate.

Mr Oloyede said, “I don’t think Section 181 envisages the situation we have on our hands. The operative words here are ‘someone who has been declared as validly elected’ but in this situation, unfortunately, INEC in its own wisdom declared the election inconclusive.

“That means nobody has been declared a winner of the election, so Section 181 does not operate to take care of this situation.”

Mr Pinheiro concluded that he was “strongly against any idea or motion of cancellation of the election”, insisting that the votes had already been earned by the joint ticket of late Audu and Faleke.