The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the declaration of Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress as winner of the Kogi governorship election is “a waste of time that will not stand”. In a statement by its national publicity secretary, Olisa Metuh, the PDP declared its candidate Governor Idris Wada as the winner of the election.
The PDP claimed that Wada polled 204,877 votes in the November 21 and December 5 elections whereas Bello got just 6,885 votes at the supplementary election as he was not a candidate in the first round of elections. The PDP said Wada had more votes than Bello and therefore, should be returned by INEC.
INEC has already declared Bello as the governor-elect even though Bello only became candidate following the death on November 22 of the then APC candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, who was on his way to beating Gov. Wada after polling 240, 876 votes on November 21.
According to the PDP, INEC’s declaration of Bello as winner amounted to a “waste of time, a waste of scarce national resources and ridiculous shadow-chasing”. It insisted that Bello did not participate in the entire election and as such, could not be declared the winner.
To the PDP, “INEC declared Bello winner just to satisfy President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC. INEC has made a mockery of itself and the entire electoral process”.
The statement reads: “The action of INEC in trying to transfer the votes earlier garnered by the dead APC candidate, Prince Audu Abubakar, to another individual is completely impractical and alien to the nation’s Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“The declaration by INEC that one Yahaya Bello polled the highest number of votes is an embarrassing travesty of the nation’s democracy and electoral process.
“Not only that this individual is not in any way a valid candidate in the election, he also did not score the overall votes declared against his name by INEC and cannot be declared winner under any circumstance within the provisions of our laws.
“The provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act are clear to the effect that with the unfortunate death of Prince Abubakar Audu before the conclusion of the election, and the fact that the laws do not permit the replacement of candidates once the balloting has commenced, the APC crashed out of the race, leaving the PDP candidate, Governor Idris Wada, as the clear winner, having garnered 204,877 votes to top all other contestants since, Prince Ababakar, the hitherto leading contestant, died with his votes.
“It is, therefore, unfortunate that INEC disregarded the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, which left it with no other legitimate option than to declare Governor Idris Wada the governor-elect. Instead, it went ahead to preside over a charade, for which it is now attempting to illicitly hand over the vote cast for a dead man to another person, who did not participate in the overall election.
“We all, including INEC and the APC, know that nothing other than declaring Governor Idris Wada winner of the election fulfills the requirements of the law under the circumstance.
“The APC cannot have two candidates in one election and the bitter in-fighting within their fold shows the absurdity of INEC’s decision in that regard. Indeed, we remain shocked that INEC could elect to create such embarrassing and inciting setting just to show its ‘friendship’ with the ruling government.
“Our advice to the APC, Yahaya Bello and their co-travellers in illegality is that theirs is a mere pipe dream as Governor Wada remains validly elected within the dictates of our laws under the circumstance.”
“Finally, we charge all our members and supporters to remain calm and resist all provocation from the APC, which is now seeking the opportunity to trigger violence in the face of their misfortune, especially as the law will soon take the center stage, right the wrong created by INEC and declare Governor Wada winner.”