The Kogi State governorship election tribunal, sitting in Abuja, has upheld the election of Governor Yahaya Bello as the duly elected governor of Kogi State. James Faleke, who was the running mate to late Abubakar Audu, gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 21, 2015 election, had approached the Tribunal seeking his declaration as the valid candidate of the party for the election and his declaration as Governor.
Faleke had run as deputy governorship candidate with Mr. Audu and they were almost at the verge of victory before Audu’s sudden death. Following Audu’s demise, INEC declared the election inconclusive and asked the APC to nominate a replacement for the deceased. Yahaya Bello was nominated and he nominated Faleke as his deputy, an offer the latter refused.
In the Tribunal’s ruling held on Monday June 6, the three-man tribunal led by Justice Halima Mohammed said Faleke lacked locus standi to challenge Bello’s election, since he was never sponsored by his party, the APC, as a governorship candidate in both the November 21, 2015 election and the December 6, 2015 supplementary poll.
Justice Mohammed also maintained that the fact that the Independence National Electoral Commission(INEC) declared the first election held on November 21, 2015 inconclusive meant no governor or deputy governor-elect emerged, adding that Mr. Faleke therefore lacked the locus standi to challenge the nomination of Mr. Bello to replace the late Mr. Audu since he was never a deputy governor-elect.
She also averred that all votes cast belong to APC, “it is the political party, through the instrumentality of its candidate that runs for election. No right can accrue from an inconclusive election,” she stated.