SUPREME Court yesterday upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the governor of Kogi State. The court, which held all the notions on tenterhooks while awaiting the judgement, dismissed all the appeals filed by all the parties against Bello’s election last year. It dismissed the appeal by James Faleke, the running mate to late Abubakar Audu who died before the election result was announced, and who was substituted in the supplementary election with Bello. Faleke contended that Audu had won the election and there was no need for the supplementary election. He argued further that as the joint holder of Audu’s ticket, he should be declared the winner of the election. However, the justices did not agree with him, as his appeal was dismissed for lacking in merit, thereby affirming the decisions of the lower courts. The court also dismissed former Governor Idris Wada’s case against Bello. Also dismissed were appeals filed by the ADC and the Labour Party. A seven-man panel of the court said reasons for upholding the election would be provided on Friday, September 30, this year. There were five appeals in all against the Court of Appeal rulings which upheld the election of Governor Bello. Audu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, died before the final announcement of results of the election conducted on November 21, 2015, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. The election was declared inconclusive and re-run held on December 5, 2015, with Bello as torchbearer of the party after the death of Audu. Alhaji Wada, who contested in the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Faleke approached the Supreme Court in August challenging Bello’s victory at the Court of Appeal. The appellate court had upheld an earlier judgement in June by the Kogi State Governorship Election Tribunal, which gave victory to the governor. The tribunal in the judgement read by its chairman, Justice Halima Mohammed, said Faleke’s petition lacked merit and therefore threw it out. The tribunal further held that the fact that INEC declared the first election inconclusive meant no winner had emerged. It also said that all votes belonged to political parties and not the candidates who contested on their platforms. It said Faleke had no locus standi to challenge Bello’s nomination by the APC to replace Audu, as he (Audu) was not the governor-elect.

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