The Legal Consequences of the Death of Abubukar Audu on the Kogi Gov. Election, By Barr. Okoi Obono-Obla culled from NewsPunch
The Governorship election in Kogi State was held on Saturday the 22nd November 2015 and at the end of the election the candidate of the All Progressives Congress Prince Abubukar Audu had won in 16 Local Government Areas and was leading in the total number of valid votes cast in the election.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared the election inconclusive and ordered supplementary election to be held in a date to be announced in due course.
According to INEC the reason for declaring the election inconclusive was because the differences in the votes scored by two leading candidates in the election was less than votes expected in some areas where election was cancelled. While Nigerians were waiting when INEC would fixed the date of the election the unexpected happened.
The authoritative online news agency, Sahara Reporters in a breaking news this evening announced the death of Prince Audu. The pertinent question is what become of the election that was held on the 22nd November 2015 in view of the death of Prince Audu?
It is submitted that the death of Prince Audu has rendered the Kogi State Governorship election held on the 22nd November 2015 but which was declared inconclusive null and void. It has ipso facto also rendered the supplementary election which INEC had announced would be conducted to determine the winner of the election held on the 22nd November 2015 otiose. It would have been otherwise if Prince Audu had been declared the winner before his death. In such a circumstance, the Deputy Governor elect would have naturally stepped into the shoe of the deceased Governor elect.
A similar scenario happened in 1999 when the then President candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Olusegun Obsanjo nominated Adamawa State Governor elect, Alhaji Atiku Abubukar his Vice President running mate. This caused INEC to announced a date for the holding of another governorship election in the Adamawa State. However the Deputy Governor elect of the State, Mr Boni Haruna filed a suit in the Federal High Court challenging the legality of the decision of INEC to order another election in Adamawa State. He contended that since he was the Deputy Governor elect he should be sworn into office as Governor in the absence of the Governor elect, Alhaji Atiku Abubukar. The Federal High Court found in favour of the Plaintiff, Boni Haruna .
On appeal the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court. On further appeal to the Supreme Court by INEC, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and up held the judgments of both the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal in favour of Boni Haruna who was eventually sworn into office as Governor of Adamawa State and remained so till 2007. Section 36 subsection 1 of the Electoral Act, 2010 ( as amended) provide thus : “Section 36 subsection 1 of Electoral Act,2010 (as amended) provide thus: if after the time for the delivery of nomination paper and before the commencement of the poll a nominated candidate the Chief National Electoral Commissioner or the Resident Electoral Commissioner shall being satisfied , countermand the poll in which the deceased candidate was to participate and the commission shall appoint some other convenient date for the election within 14 days “. So it follows that INEC would give APC to substitute the name of its deceased candidate, Prince Abubukar Audu for another person. Section 33 of the Electoral Act (supra) provide thus : “Section 33 :” A political party shall not allowed to change or substituted its candidate whose name has been submitted pursuant to section 32 of this Act except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate” .
Legal Implications Of Audu’s Death By Barrister Festus
Keyamo, Says This Is A Strange Scenario
The reported death today, Sunday, November 22nd, 2015, of the APC
candidate in the Kogi State Governorship elections, Prince Abubakar Audu, is
extremely shocking and sad. I would like to express my condolences to the
entire family of Audu and to the people of Kogi State.
However, the real question agitating the minds of everybody is the legal
implication regarding the inconclusive Governorship elections at the time of
his demise. To state it correctly he was said to have died AFTER the
announcement of the results by INEC and after INEC had declared the
elections inconclusive. Admittedly, this is a strange and novel constitutional
scenario. It has never happened in our constitutional history to the extent
that when an election has been partially conducted (and not before or after
the elections) a candidate dies. What then happens?
This is a hybrid situation between what happened in the case of Atiku
Abubakar/Boni Haruna in 1999 and the provision of section 33 of the
Electoral Act, 2010.
In the case of Atiku Abubakar/Boni Haruna [which is now a clear
constitutional provision of section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as
amended)]the Supreme Court held, in effect, that“if a person duly elected as
Governor dies before taking and subscribing the Oath of Allegiance and oath
of office, or is unable for any reason whatsoever to be sworn in, the person
elected with him as Deputy governor shall be sworn in as Governor and he
shall nominate a new Deputy-Governor who shall be appointed by the
Governor with the approval of a simple majority of the house of Assembly of
In the case of section 33 of the Electoral Act 2010 it provides, in effect, that if
a person has been duly nominated as a candidate of his party and he dies
before the election then the political party has the right to replace him with
another candidate and not necessarily the Deputy Governorship candidate.
Now, does the Kogi situation fit into section 181(1) of the Constitution as
quoted above or section 33 of the Electoral Act mentioned above?
My simple position is that the Kogi situation fits more into section 181(1) of
the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and as such James Abiodun Faleke
automatically becomes the governorship candidate of the APC. This is
because even though the election in inconclusive, votes have been counted
and allocated to Parties and candidates. As a result the joint ticket of Audu/
Faleke has acquired some votes already. James Abiodun Faleke is as much
entitled to those votes already counted as much as the late Abubakar Audu.
He has a right to cling to those votes going into the supplementary election.
There is only one problem, though. Who nominates Faleke’s Deputy? Unlike
section 181(1) of the 1999 Constitution, he cannot approach the House of
Assembly of the State to approve a nomination by him of a Deputy. This is
because, in reality, he is not duly elected yet. Therefore it is only reasonable
to conclude that it is APC (Faleke’s political party) that should submit the
name of a fresh Deputy Governorship candidate to INEC for the
This is the only position in this situation that accords with reason and good
FESTUS KEYAMO, ESQ.
Sunday, November 22, 2015.