James Faleke, deputy governorship candidate for the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the last election in Kogi state has refused to be running mate to his party’s replacement candidate, Yahaya Bello in this weekend’s supplementary elections and this has put the party in a dilemma.
Apparently, Faleke’s name is still penned down as the APC’s deputy governorship candidate despite his rejection of the idea of his nomination as running mate to Yahaya Bello.
Faleke had on Tuesday written INEC demanding the removal of his name as the running mate to Alhaji Yahaya Bello in this Saturday’s supplementary election.
Having earlier written the commission and consequently filed a case at a Federal High Court, Abuja requesting to be declared as governor-elect yesterday.
Mr. Faleke had on Monday threatened to go to court following the adoption of Yahaya Bello by the APC national leadership as the governorship candidate of the party in the supplementary election. He has followed through on this.
Faleke also urged the court to declare that the results declared by INEC following the November 21 governorship election in Kogi State, produced a governor-elect of the state in accordance with the express provisions of section 179(2)(a) and (b) of the constitution.
Mr. Bello’s adoption at the meeting of the National Working Committee of the party followed the death of the former governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu, on November 22.
The party immediately forwarded his name to INEC as replacement for Mr. Audu and that of Mr. Faleke as his running mate.
In the suit filed by his counsel, Wole Olanipekun, Mr. Faleke, a serving member of the House of Representatives, said contrary to the claim by the electoral body, the election was conclusive and that as the running mate to Mr. Audu, he should be declared winner.
The court papers were served on INEC Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Faleke said.
The deputy governorship candidate had written INEC on November 26, insisting that he was the governor-elect following Mr. Audu’s death.
He asked the Commission not to go ahead with the supplementary election.
“In law and logic, no new candidate can inherit or be a beneficiary of the votes already cast, counted and declared by INEC before that candidate was nominated and purportedly sponsored,” Mr. Faleke wrote through Mr. Olanipekun.
“Assuming without conceding that INEC is even right to order a supplementary election, the votes already cast, counted and declared on Saturday, 25th November 2015, were votes for the joint constitutional ticket of Prince Abubakar Audu and our client.
“Therefore, no new or ‘supplementary’ candidate can hijack, aggregate, appropriate or inherit the said votes.”
In another letter to APC Chairman, John Oyegun, Mr. Faleke urged his party to distance itself from the “Greek Gift” being offered to it to nominate a new candidate for a planned supplementary election in 91 polling units.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, fixed Friday to determine whether in view of section 181 of the 1999 constitution, as amended, the INEC ought to conduct a fresh governorship election in Kogi State.
In its bid to speedily resolve all the legal issues that were thrown up by the death of the former governorship candidate of the APC, Abubakar Audu, the court, yesterday, consolidated four separate suits challenging the legality of the supplementary election scheduled to take place in Kogi state on Saturday.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who presided over the four suits, yesterday, said there was need for the court to expeditiously determine the issues, “so that INEC will not conduct the election under a grave shadow of doubt as to the legal or constitutional validity.”
Issues for determination
They want the court to go ahead and determine: “Whether INEC, can lawfully conduct a second/supplementary election into the office of Governor of Kogi State on December 5, 2015, or any other date at all let alone accepting the nomination/substitution by the APC of any candidate on the basis of votes calculated and credited to the deceased candidate of the APC when the new or substitute candidate was not part of the original election.
“whether Idris Wada being the only surviving candidate with the major lawful votes cast at the Kogi State governorship election held on November 21, 2015, ought not to be declared and returned by the INEC as the winner of the election, having secured not less than one-quarter of the votes cast in two-thirds of all the Local Government Areas in Kogi State.”
Meantime, both INEC and the Attorney General of the Federation were represented in court yesterday but there was no legal representation for the APC, which was equally cited as a defendant in the suit