Kogi East Senate Tussle: INEC Turns Down AGF’s Request

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has refused to comply with a request by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), conveyed in a letter urging the chairman of the commission to reinstate the certificate of return earlier issued to Senator Abdulrahman Abubakar of the APC.

Senator Abubakar was returned by INEC as winner of Kogi West Senatorial District election on the platform of the APC, held on March 28, 2015 and was subsequently inaugurated on June 9 as a member of the 8th National Assembly.

However, the certificate of return issued him was later withdrawn by INEC on the grounds that he was not qualified to participate in the election based on the orders of the National and State Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal that sat in Lokoja.

Following an appeal by Senator Abubakar, the judgement of the tribunal was set aside by the Court of Appeal which ordered a fresh election to be conducted within 90 days.

However, the rerun election was conducted by INEC without Senator Abubakar and his party, the APC participating. The election was won by Air Marshall Isaac Alfa of the opposition PDP.

Consequently, Abubakar went back to the tribunal to challenge his non-inclusion in the rerun and later approached the Appeal Court.

Apparently frustrated, Senator Abubakar then petitioned the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to intervene in the matter.

In a letter dated August 10, 2017, the AGF reportedly urged INEC to reinstate the certificate of return to Senator Abubakar, but was allegedly turned down by the commission’s chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who said there was no basis for that.

“The Court of Appeal’s decision of 2nd December 2015 in CA/A/EPT/609/2015 that ordered the commission to conduct a fresh election remains the subsisting valid position on the Kogi East Senatorial District election,” Yakubu said.

Credit: Daily Trust