The Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has dismissed the petition filed by Idris Wada, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the November 21 Governorship election in the state, against the nomination of Yahaya Bello as governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, for lack of merit.
The tribunal led by Justice Hamima Mohammed said Wada lacked the locus standi to challenge Bello’s nomination.
It held that the nomination and sponsorship of Bello by the APC as its candidate in the election following the death of the original candidate, Abubakar Audu, was purely a domestic affair of the party and neither the PDP nor the tribunal nor any other person who did not participate in the process had the legal capacity to it.
The tribunal however said it was still considering the merit of the petition jointly filed by Wada and his running mate, Sunday Awoniyi and the PDP, asking the tribunal to return Wada as winner of the election since he polled higher number of votes than Bello.
Wada posited that Bello polled only 6,805 votes in the December 5 supplementary election and could not possibly inherit the over 240,000 votes polled by Audu, the initial candidate of the APC.
Wada asked the tribunal to declare him winner of the election and the validly elected governor of Kogi state, having garnered a total of 204,867 votes in the elections.
But Justice Mohammed ruled that the votes recorded in the November 21 election belonged to the various political parties as had been established in various rulings of the Supreme Court.
It added that INEC was right to have collated the 240,857 votes polled by the APC through the the late Audu, and merged them with the 6,885 votes recorded by the party in the supplementary poll.
On whether Bello should be disqualified because he had no running mate, the tribunal held that the issue was not part of conditions of qualification to contest as governor under section 177 of the Constitution.
The tribunal held that James Faleke was still the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in the supplementary election since he did not withdraw his candidacy as spelt out under section 35 of the Electoral Act which required him to give 45 days’ notice to his party before the election and his party would in turn notify INEC.
The tribunal had dismissed the petition by James Faleke, late Audu’s running mate, yesterday for lack of merit as the tribunal held that he had no locus standi to challenge the process.