A bill seeking to amend the 1999 Constitution as amended to avoid a repeat of the Kogi state governorship election debacle following the sudden death of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Audu has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.
The House, on Tuesday, unanimously passed a resolution that Sections 136 and 181 of the 1999 Constitution pass second reading after majority of lawmakers were convinced about the legitimacy of the amendment.
Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Asabe Bashir (APC-Borno) said that the amendments intend to close the vacuum which exists in the constitution in the event of the death of a candidate in an election before the process was concluded.
It could be recalled that the death of Alhaji Audu, the APC governorship candidate in the 2015 Kogi polls brought the process to an end.
Hon. Bashir said that the bill will ensure that in such a circumstance re-occurs again, the running mate of the deceased governorship candidate will be constitutionally empowered to complete the election process.
“Regrettably, the situation where a candidate dies during an election was not envisaged in the constitution or the Electoral Act and the lacuna was obvious during the Kogi governorship polls in 2015.
“Having seen this gap, it is necessary to fill it and empower the running mate of a presidential candidate and governorship candidate to complete the race.
“There is no need to cancel an ongoing election and there is no need to go through a fresh election,’’ the lawmaker added.
She further pointed out that the lacuna as experienced in the Kogi situation resulted in the electoral body incurring more expenses because it had to conduct a fresh election.
The House unanimously adopted that the bill be read the second time. Deputy Speaker of the House, Yusuff Lasun referred the bill to the Special Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution.
According to Section 181(2) where persons duly elected as governor and Deputy Governor of a state die or are for any reason unable to assume office before the inauguration of the House of Assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission shall immediately conduct an election for a Governor and Deputy Governor of the State.