Following the judgement of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which yesterday struck out all four cases instituted before it in respect of the November 21 governorship election in Kogi state, palpable confusion has enveloped the state over the validity of the candidature of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Yahaya Bello.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who delivered judgment on the consolidated four cases said the Federal High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain all the reliefs sought by the various parties as the issues brought before him are for election tribunals.
Justice Kolawole also affirmed that INEC has the power to conduct the November 21 election and the supplementary election.
Reacting to the judgement, the running mate to late AbubakarAudu in the governorship election, AbiodunFaleke, yesterday vowed to appeal against the Abuja Federal High Court’s ruling stating in a statement in Lokoja that he would take the matter to the Appeal Court to get the mandate rightly given to him by the electorate in the state.
Faleke had last week, declined to pair with Yahaya Bello, who was named the party’s candidate for the supplementary election and demanded that he should be declared governor-elect on the APC platform.
In a letter to APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Faleke dissociated himself from the supplementary poll, which he insisted was unnecessary since the November 21 governorship election produced the candidates of the APC as clear winners.
“Please take this letter as confirmation to dissociate myself from the unusual and strange supplementary nomination of my humble self as running mate to AlhajiYahaya Bello, this also serves as a notice of rejection of the purported and illegal nomination of myself as running mate to AlhajiYahaya Bello,” Faleke wrote in the letter to Odigie-Oyegun.
Faleke reinforced his stand not to be Bello’s running mate in another letter he wrote through his counsel, Chief WoleOlanipekun, to the APC national chairman.
Faleke’s decision to pull out as Bello’s running mate may undermine the party’s chances of producing the next governor of Kogi state despite the comfortable lead of the party at the polls, as his candidacy may be considered inconclusive based on the provisions of Secction 187(1) of the constitution.
Section 187(1) of the constitution states: “In any election to which the foregoing provisions of this part of this Chapter, a candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor, who is to occupy the office of Deputy Governor; and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of Deputy Governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as Governor in accordance with the said provisions.”
Nigerian Pilot Saturday gathered from credible sources that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, whose candidate, Governor Idris Wada, is trailing the APC may latch on Faleke’s withdrawing as Bello’s running mate to head to the tribunal to challenge the outcome of the poll if the APC is eventually declared winner.
Meanwhile, the Police said they had beefed up security in Dekina and other local government areas where the supplementary election will be held today. It has also restricted movement during the exercise until 6pm when the voting must have been concluded in the affected areas.
The Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, William Aya, said adequate number of mobile police officers have been deployed for the election, assuring the people of their safety.