ADEGBORUWA: The Only Option Is Fresh Election In Kogi
• You Cannot Revive Dead Mandate
Mr. Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa is a Lagos-based lawyer. In this interview with KAMAL TAYO OROPO on the way out of the Kogi State governorship logjam, he said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should hasten to conduct a fresh poll in the state.
Audu’s running mate, Mr. James Faleke, insists he should be declared “governor-elect”. This is against INEC’s declaration of inconclusiveness of the polls. What is your general opinion on the matter? Is there any legal dilemma in the first place as a result of Audu’s death?
IN law, Faleke has no mandate to claim or hold on to. He is an associate to a dead mandate. A running mate to a governorship candidate for an election is a non-existent entity prior to the declaration of election results. He remains a nominee that enjoys no legal status, either under the Constitution or the Electoral Act.
Secondly, Faleke seem to me to be a bag of liabilities to the APC. By law, he is a representative of Lagos State, having contested and won election to the House of Representatives from Lagos State. So it is still a shock to us all how he manipulated the electoral process to emerge as running mate to the late Audu.
He should just accept his fate as one with no mandate to claim. He could only have been relevant in the scheme of things if INEC had declared the results of the elections in which he contested. The so-called mandate under which he is claiming to be governor-elect is a dead mandate that cannot be revived under any guise at all.
There is no way that INEC can preserve votes and election results, in memory of a dead candidate, hoping to transfer it to his party, for the benefit of somebody else who was not part of the process ab initio.
In the light of this, what’s the way out of the logjam? What should the INEC and the political parties be doing?
It is not possible for INEC to declare election results in favour of a dead candidate. The option in this case is a fresh election. There is no room for a supplementary election to conclude or revive a dead mandate.
There is no need for INEC to waste time and resources to conduct any illegal election. With the death of Audu, the Kogi State governorship election has been truncated and aborted. There is noting anyone can do about it.
Death is an act of God. In law, death is taken as a terminator; it terminates marriage, ownership of property, it terminates life and even legal suits in court.
If we are to take this to the extreme, then it should be possible to call upon the family of late Chief MKO Abiola to revive the June 12 presidential mandate.
What should be the APC’s role in the light of this matter?
I believe that the APC is unduly taking advantage of its privileged position as the ruling party to pressure INEC into attempting the impossible. And this will end up extending the tenure of the incumbent governor, against the law.
But how possible is fresh poll, considering the statutory term limit of the incumbent, as well as, the need for APC to conduct fresh primary?
Under and by virtue of section 181(2) of the 1999 Constitution, death of even a duly declared and elected governor and deputy governor, there will be a fresh election. Let INEC follow that window and save us all these rigmarole.