The Peoples Democratic Party PDP has rejected the declaration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as Kogi State governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), describing it as a waste of time and scarce resources of the nation.
Bello replaced the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the November 21 election, Prince Abubakar Audu, who died on November 22 after the poll was declared inconclusive.
Governor Idris Wada, who boycotted the December 5 supplementary election, had instituted a case in court, asking it to declare him winner of the November 21 governorship election being the surviving candidate with the highest number of votes cast.
Late Audu’s running mate, Hon. Abiodun Faleke, also rejected Bello’s nomination by APC, alleging that he abandoned the party after he lost the primary election.
Faleke has also gone to court, asking that he should be declared governor-elect with Mohammed, late Prince Audu’s son, as his deputy.
PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday, described Bello’s declaration as shadow-chasing and waste of the nation’s scarce resource because the purported APC candidate did not participate in the first election.
According to the PDP, INEC has succeeded in making a mockery of itself and the entire electoral process, by trying to “illegally install an individual who, apart from not being a valid candidate, scored, under his name, a paltry 6,885 votes in the so-called supplementary election as against the 204,877 votes polled by the PDP candidate, Governor Idris Wada in the overall election.
“The action of INEC in trying to transfer the votes earlier garnered by the dead APC candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, to another individual is completely impractical and alien to the nation’s constitution and the Electoral Act,” the statement noted.
PDP said Bello’s declaration by INEC as governor-elect is an embarrassing travesty of the nation’s democracy and electoral process.
“The provisions of the constitution and the Electoral Act are clear to the effect that with the unfortunate death of 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 Wada as the clear winner, having garnered 204,877 votes to top all other contestants since Audu, 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 Wada the governor-elect.
“Instead, it went ahead to preside over a charade, for which it is now attempting to illicitly handover the votes 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 Wada winner of the election fulfils the requirements of the law under the circumstance,” the party said.
PDP said it was shocked that INEC could elect to create such embarrassing and inciting setting just to show its ‘friendship’ with the ruling government.
It said that Bello’s declaration as governor-elect was a mere pipe dream as Wada remains validly elected within the dictates of the laws under the circumstance.
Meanwhile, Faleke has described the supplementary election as a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.
In a statement signed by his media director, Duro Meseko, Faleke stressed that by the supplementary election final results declared by INEC, the APC polled 6,885 votes while the PDP scored 5,363 votes making a total of 12, 248 votes, a far cry from the 49,353 registered voters that INEC claimed to have based its decision to declare the election inconclusive.
“It is now crystal clear to everybody that the Kogi governorship election of November 21 was already won and lost before the strange supplementary election introduced by the INEC.
“We, therefore, urge our supporters to remain calm and steadfast while the law takes its rightful course,” he said.
There was wild jubilation in Okene, the country home of Bello.
Aside Okene and some other local government areas in the central senatorial district, where Bello comes from, there were no sign of celebration in other parts of the state, including Lokoja, the state capital.