• We’re unfazed, says Faleke’s support group

RUNNING MATE of the late Abubakar Audu, the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate in the November 5 election in Kogi State, James Abiodun Falake, was detained by operatives of the Directorate of State Security Service, DSS, yesterday, in Abuja.

Also, the eldest son of the late

former governor, who slumped and died barely hours after casting his vote in the election, Mohammed Audu, was equally called in for questioning and then detained for several hours by officials of the DSS.

Faleke, a second-term House of Representatives member, who has insisted on being declared winner of the November 5 election, following the death of Audu, was formally invited by the DSS

yesterday and he honoured the summon, but was kept in isolation from 10am when he arrived the DSS office till around 4pm when he was eventually quizzed.

Audu’s son, who some suggested should be named Faleke’s deputy in compensation for the death of his father, equally suffered the same fate.

Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalls that following the sudden demise of the APC governorship candidate in the

inconclusive election, Faleke had declined to be deputy to Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who became late Audu’s substitute in the supplementary election held on December 5.

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Instead, he wrote through his lawyers to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, demanding that he be declared winner of the election and equally informed the electoral umpire that he does not want to be anybody’s deputy since he is the legally

recognised deputy of the late Audu who scored majority of the votes cast in the inconclusive election.

He also declined to participate in the supplementary election, insisting that INEC erred in law by failing to declare the full result of the November 21 polls and that unless he was officially recognised, the supplementary election stands void and not recognised by law.

Nonetheless, the National Working Committee of the APC presented Alhaji Bello to INEC as replacement to the late Audu on the strength that the Agassa-born business mogul came second in its governorship primaries.

The APC eventually won though the validity of the election is being contested by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, even as Bello through sundry means has made several entreaties to Faleke to reconsider his position.

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Nigerian Pilot Sunday learnt that following the detention, there was uneasy calm in Kogi even as it was alleged that many support groups in the state are threatening violence if Faleke was not declared winner of the election before January 27, date for inauguration of the governor.

Sources said perhaps the threat may have prompted the DSS to invite him for questioning.

However, in a swift reaction, Spokesman of the Audu/Faleke Campaign/Support Group, Dr Tom Ohikere, confirmed the detention of both men, stating that it might not be unconnected with Faleke’s decision to contest the APC’s refusal to name him the substantive candidate, as well INEC’s failure to declare him winner.

“Faleke was invited and kept illegally for hours by the DSS. The invitation cannot be disconnected from the political logjam in Kogi State caused by INEC. I want to say that his invitation at this time is wrong because it looks more like an affront of his constitutional rights to file an appeal at the tribunal against INEC,” he said, but acknowledged that the DSS could invite anybody for questioning if need be.

Ohikere said the suport group, however, remains undaunted in their quest to ensure that justice is done. “We are relentless and undaunted in the struggle to right the wrong. It is a challenge to our resolve to reclaim our mandate,” he said, stressing that Faleke remains confident that he would eventually be allowed to exercise the mandate freely given to him by the electorate on November 21.

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“We believe in the non-partisanship of the DSS,” he said and later confirmed that both Faleke and Audu have been released and were back home where they would continue to monitor further development.

Also, the Director of Media and Publicity, Audu/Faleke Campaign Organisation, Duro Meseko, said they are yet to come to terms with the invitation, especially at “a critical period in the struggle for Lugard House through constitutional means”.

He urged the people to remain calm and follow the steps of Faleke, whom he said is a staunch believer in the rule of law and who resorted to legal means to pursue his case.

Nigerian Pilot could not reach the image-maker of the DSS in spite of several efforts on phone to do so