5th February, 2012
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called for fresh governorship election in Kogi State, saying the December election conducted into the office of Governor in Kogi is null and void, having contravened the provision of Section 178(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), based on the recent Supreme Court ruling on tenure elongation.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said neither the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nor Capt. Idris Wada, its candidate in that election, can therefore take any benefit or right from the election.
”The election into the office of Governor in Kogi State ought to have been conducted in April 2011 in accordance with Section 30 of Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended). Since this was note done, December’s election cannot be said to have complied with the stipulations of the Act and the Constitution,” it said.
ACN said Section 178 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) states that ”An election into the office of Governor of a State shall be held on a date not earlier than 60 days and not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of that office.”
The party said the Supreme Court has now held that the tenure of the incumbent of governor of Kogi expired in May 2011 and that the seat of governor had become vacant, even though no election was conducted before the expiration of that tenure contrary to Section 178(2) of the Constitution.
It blamed INEC partly for the confusion that has now occurred in the state, in which two persons are claiming the governorship seat in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.
”Though INEC issued a notice of election within the prescribed time sometime in January 2011, the election was conducted on December 3rd 2011, a period of six months after the expiration of the term of the last holder of the office.
”The election, however, cannot be deemed valid and constitutional, since an act or event will be valid and constitutional if it is done in accordance with the laid down procedure or law. That’s why the Supreme Court succinctly held, per Tobi J.S.C., in the case of the
removal of Senator Ladoja as Governor of Oyo state by the State House of Assembly, thus: ‘It is good law that where the Constitution or a statute provides for a pre-condition to the attainment of a articular situation, the pre-condition must be fulfilled or satisfied before the particular situation will be said to have been attained reached’,” ACN said.
The party said if INEC had lived up to its responsibility, it would not have proceeded to organize December’s election, especially as it had appealed the case on tenure elongation to the Supreme Court, following rulings by a Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal in favour of then Gov. Abubakar Idris. INEC should have shown more diligence in pursuing the appeal at the apex court, instead of rushing to commit what has now turned out to be an illegality.
”Allowing people to occupy elective posts illegally – the hallmark of PDP since 1999 – is the biggest form of corruption. INEC, in shamelessly encouraging this trend in Kogi by organizing December’s election, is encouraging corruption of the highest order. Worse still, by its bizarre decision upholding the election of Capt. Idris Wada, instead of seeking the input of its legal department to advise it on the appropriate course of action, or in the alternative to approach a High Court to seek interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling, INEC
has shown it is ever willing to go along with the lawless PDP in seeking a political situation to what is purely a legal and Constitutional issue, as if the electoral body is a member of the dysfunctional PDP family,” ACN said.
It said the options open to the electoral body now is to go ahead and carry out a fresh election, to be contested only by the candidates whose names were submitted by their various political parties in January 2011, when INEC issued the original notice of election.
”The election conducted into the office of Governor of Kogi State in December 2011 is a patent violation and breach of section 178(2) of the Constitution. It is an abuse of the society and the entire citizens of the state are the victims and sufferer. The citizens of Kogi State therefore deserve good governance premised on rule of law,” ACN said.