The ruling of the Appeal Court in the Kogi State Governorship case involving James Faleke and governor Yahaya Bello, has been fixed for August 4.
Faleke was the running mate to late Audu Abubakar, the All Progressives Congress, APC, flag-bearer, who was already coasting to victory in the November 21, 2015 governorship elections, but died suddenly before the election was concluded.
Chairman of the election petitions tribunal, Halima Mohammed, had thrown out Faleke’s petition, saying it lacked the locus standi to challenge the nomination of Bello to replace the late Audu since he was never a deputy governor-elect.
At the appeal court, counsel to Faleke, Wole Olanipekun, argued that without the supplementary election, a candidate would have emerged in the person of Faleke.
“This is the first time where a governor that did not vote was named a governor,” Olanipekun told court.
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Alex Iziyon, argued that the votes were meant for the party and not the person of the candidate, and since the APC had presented Bello as Audu’s substitute, Bello inherited Audu’s vote.
He further asked the court to dismiss Faleke’s appeal.
Supporting the argument, Joseph Daudu, counsel to Bello, told the court that Faleke lost every right to be the governorship candidate when Audu died.
According to him, INEC had the statutory decision to declare the election inconclusive, either right or wrong, therefore Faleke’s appeal was “incompetent”.
Faleke is currently the chairman of the federal House of Representatives’ committee on customs, and has always insisted that he is the one that should be governor of Kogi State following Audu’s death, not Bello.