Fresh Primaries Is Not Required To Substitute Audu By Inibehe Effiong
Some lawyers have argued that the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot substitute its deceased governorship candidate in Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, without going through fresh primaries. Their contention is based on Section 141 of the Electoral Act which states that an Election Tribunal or Court shall not declare a person who did not participate in all the stages of the election as the winner.
My position is that the death of a candidate vis-a-vis substition, is an exception to the full participation rule in Section 141 of the Electoral Act. I believe that section 141 does not envisage substitution of a deceased candidate.
By virtue of Section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), a political party must give INEC 21 days notice before it can hold convention (primaries) to nominate its candidate. This rule is mandatory. Failure to comply renders the convention a nullity.
Now Section 36 of the Electoral Act stipulates that where a candidate dies INEC shall cancel the election that the candidate was to participate in and appoint another date WITHIN 14 days for the election.
It is impossible for the APC to go through fresh primaries. The law does not allow for that because INEC must hold supplementary elections in the 91 outstanding polling units within 14 days from the days Abubakar Audu died.
I allign with the opinion that the APC should pick the person who came second in the party’s primaries to replace Abubakar Audu.
Inibehe Effiong, Esq.