Appeal Court Dismisses Faleke’s Appeal Against Yahaya Bello’s Election

James Faleke, Yahaya Bello, APC, Kogi State, Appeal Court
Mr James Faleke

The Court of Appeal  sitting in Abuja has dismissed the suit filed by Mr James Faleke, challenging the election of Mr Yahaya Bello as Kogi State Governor.

The 5-man panel of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja ruled that Faleke’s case lacks merit.

The appellate court had earlier reserved the judgment after hearing submission from all parties involved in the matter.

Counsel for Faleke, Akin Olujimi, had urged the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of the Kogi election tribunal and invalidate the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that Bello was not properly nominated.

He submitted that Bello did not undergo all the electioneering processes as required by law before he emerged as his party’s candidate in the re-run election.

Yahaya Bello
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

In his own submission, Joseph Daodu, who is counsel for Governor Bello, insisted that the issue of nomination of candidates for election was the sole responsibility of a political party.

Daodu submitted that Governor Bello, having been nominated by the APC in compliance with the existing law and authority of the party remained the candidate of his party in the election.

Counsel for INEC, Ahmed Raji, asked the court to uphold the election of Yahaya Bello on the ground that he was properly nominated by APC as a replacement to Abubakar Audu who passed away during the election.

The Tribunal

Mr James Faleke ran as deputy governorship candidate with Mr. Audu. It looked as though they were coasting to victory before Mr. Audu suddenly died.


INEC declared the election inconclusive and asked the APC to nominate a replacement for the deceased. Mr. Yahaya Bello was nominated and he nominated Mr. Faleke as his deputy, an offer the latter refused.

A three-man tribunal led by Justice Halima Mohammed, on June 6, held that Faleke lacked locus standi to challenge Bello’s election having never been sponsored by his party, the APC, as a governorship candidate in both the November 21, 2015 election and the December 6, 2015 supplementary poll.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Halima Mohammed, who read the judgment in the petition filed by Mr Faleke, threw away the petition for lacking in merit.

She said the fact that INEC declared the election of November 21, 2015 inconclusive meant no governor or deputy governor-elect emerged, and Mr Faleke therefore had no basis to challenge the nomination of Mr Bello to replace the late Mr Audu.

 

Kogi Tribunal Dismisses Faleke’s Petition Against Yahaya Bello’s Election

James Faleke, Yahaya Bello, APC, Kogi StateThe Kogi State governorship election tribunal has ruled that the failure of Mr James Faleke to join INEC in his petition against the election of Governor Yahaya Bello is a major defect to the petition.

Tribunal ruled that James Faleke lacks the locus standi to challenge the substitution of Late Audu Abubakar having not participated in the APC primaries that produced Audu Abubakar

The Tribunal further held that the constitution does not recognize independent candidates as political parties are the ones vested with the power to nominate and sponsor a candidate for any election.

The Tribunal added that the APC was legally right to substitute its candidate due to force majeur as the November 21 election was declared inconclusive.

It is parties that win and lose an election and APC was duly invited by INEC to present a new candidate following the death of Prince Audu Abubakar.

Records before the court showed that Yahaya Bello participated in the APC primaries that produced Audu and emerged as the runner up.

Tribunal holds that there is valid material before it confirming the sponsorship of Yahaya Bello and having contested the primaries against Prince Audu, he was the best person to step into the shoes of the late Audu.

Tribunal also dismissed Faleke’s claims that the 240,687 votes of November 21 was transferred to Bello because it held that the votes belong to the APC and not Prince Audu.

Mr James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had asked the Kogi State election petition tribunal to declare him as the authentic winner of the November 21, 2015 governorship election in Kogi State on the ground that the current Governor, Mr Yahaya Bello never participated in the said election.

The petitioner, Mr Faleke was running as the deputy governorship candidate under the late Abubakar Audu up until INEC declared the poll inconclusive after Mr Audu died.

INEC went ahead to ask the APC to nominate a replacement for the deceased.

Mr Bello was nominated and he selected Mr Faleke as his deputy, but Mr Faleke declined.

Mr Faleke thereafter approached the tribunal asking it to declare him governor-elect.

Kogi Governorship: Hearing On James Faleke’s Petition Continues

James FalekeThe Kogi State election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja has been asked to declare Mr James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the authentic winner of the November 21, 2015 governorship election in Kogi State on the ground that the current Governor, Mr Yahaya Bello never participated in the said election.

At the hearing of the petition filed by Mr Faleke, he claimed that the election was wrongly declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and that the December 5, 2015 supplementary election was unnecessary.

He also told the tribunal that he was not aware that Governor Yahaya Bello is a member of the All Progressives Congress.

Mr Faleke, who adopted his written statement, further said that he had a joint ticket with the late Abubakar Audu and his death had nothing to do with the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission to declare the election inconclusive.

Hearing of the petition has been adjourned to the March 15 to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) respond to the petition as the first respondent.

Ministers Visit Late James Ocholi’s Residence

OcholiMinisters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Wednesday paid a condolence visit to the family of their late colleague, Mr James Ocholi, at his Abuja residence, after the Federal Executive Council meeting.

The delegation, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, assured the children that the Presidency would support the family of the late Mr Ocholi.

Also at the residence to sympathise with the family was a notable politician in Kogi State, James Faleke, who said that the late minister’s death was a great loss to Nigeria, especially to Kogi State.

Friends of the deceased described him as an upright and brave man who made a great impact within a short period of time.

The visit came after the Federal Government announced automatic employment at the Federal Ministry of Justice for Aaron, the eldest son of the late Minister.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, revealed this to the Ocholi family when he paid them a visit to convey his and President Muhammadu Buhari’s condolence message.

He also told the family that Aaron’s other siblings would enjoy scholarships for their educational pursuits, courtesy of the Federal Government which had pledged to cushion the effect of the loss of their parents.

Simon Achuba Becomes Kogi Deputy Governor

Simon-ChubaSimon Achuba has been sworn in as the Deputy Governor of Kogi State.

His swearing in took place on Tuesday in Lokoja the capital of the north-central state.

Mr Chuba filled the vacuum in the deputy governorship position after Mr James Faleke refused to be Governor Yahaya Bello’s deputy.

Mr Achuba last year defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and he is a former Deputy Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly.

Mr Faleke wanted the position of the Governor after the governorship candidate in the election, Mr Abubakar Audu, died a day after the governorship election.

The election was declared inconclusive, with a supplementary election scheduled for a later date.

The APC was asked to substitute the late candidate, but Mr Faleke insisted that he should be the next in line for the position.

After the party was mandated to replace late Audu, it chose Mr Bello as the substitute, a decision that angered Mr Faleke, who subsequently refused to be Mr Bello’s deputy.

Supplementary election was held and the APC won the governorship seat, with the position of the deputy still vacant.

Contesting the results of the election, Mr Faleke filed a petition at the State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to push his claims to the governorship position.

He is challenging the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in declaring the election of November 21 inclusive.

 

Kogi Election: Faleke Ought To Be Governor-elect – Lawyer

Kogi Election:Faleke Ought To Be Governor-Elect – LawyerA Nigerian lawyer has given his opinion about the outcome of the Kogi State governorship election, saying that Mr James Faleke, the deputy of the late candidate, ought to be the Governor-elect of Kogi State. 

On Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Mr Bwala Daniel said: “We are all witnesses to the fact that at the time the election was declared inconclusive, there was a clear lead by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and everybody could reach a conclusion that the APC won the election and Faleke would have rightfully taken over from there which is in line with the provision of the Electoral Act and the Nigeria Constitution, but that did not happen,” he said.

Giving his opinion on Falake’s refusal to be addressed as Yahaya Bello’s running mate, Mr Daniel said that Mr Falake should have forwarded his withdrawal as the deputy of Mr Bello in writing.

“However, the contention of Faleke may not be tenable in law because the requirement of law is, if he wanted to withdraw, he ought to have written expressly stating his withdrawal in line with the provision of the Electoral Act. Only if that had happened, he can consider himself  completely out of the race, but as he stands, he is part of the government.

“My concern is that, what transpired at the Federal High Court on Friday is a full test of what we are going to see consequently at the Court of Appeal and at the Election Tribunal; where you see Faleke and PDP fighting it all out,” he explained.

Answering a question on what he perceived before the outcome of the Federal High Court ruling, Mr Daniel said: “Had the Federal High Court not declined jurisdiction, the election would have been affected.

“I think the Federal High Court declining jurisdiction, probably in the mind of the court, the court applied the doctrine of convenience to say we are not going to say anything  about this, let them go to the polls and whatever happens will be determined by the Election Tribunal.

“But the court declined the jurisdiction because it said that the matter is within the confines of Election Petition Tribunal,” he said.

A Waste Of Time

The lawyer expressed disappointment in the argument of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), describing the Independent National Electoral Commission’s declaration of  Bello, Governor-elect in Kogi State, as ‘a waste of time’.

“With the greatest respect for the PDP, it is high-time Nigerians as well as the APC recognised that the PDP will always talk because they are learning to be in opposition and the APC is giving them credence by responding to their allegations.

“Going by the provision of section 138 of the Constitution, if you are challenging the candidature of someone, you go to court. Unless and until what you are challenging is covered by the provision of the Constitution, everything else you are saying is a mere opinion.

“PDP, if aggrieved with the outcome of the election, has the right in law to file a petition.

“The party has 21 days from when the result was announced to file the petition and has 180 days from when they file the petition, for that to be determined.

“The options available to PDP in this circumstance is to pursue two things – the bill to appeal against the decision of the Federal High Court declining the jurisdiction to interpret the law they approached the Federal High Court with.

“The second option is to go to the Election Petition Tribunal and challenge the outcome of the election,” he added.

Kogi Supplementary Election: Police Promise Adequate Security

kogiThe Nigerian Police Force says it has put in place adequate security arrangements to ensure that the Kogi State supplementary election is conducted peacefully.

Speaking in Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Area 8 Lokoja, Tank Lawal, said that the Police would have over ten men at each of the 91 polling units where election will hold on Saturday.

He also advised residents of the state to be peaceful and go about their lawful businesses except where there is restriction of movement in areas where elections will hold.

INEC Office Burnt In Kogi     

kogiSuspected arsonists have burnt the Dekina Local Government office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Kogi State.

The incident happened in the early hours of Friday; 24 hours before the supplementary elections in the state.

Reports say that security operatives are looking for clues to why the office was razed and the perpetrators.

This came as the Governor of the state, Capt. Idris Wada asked the citizens of the state to ensure maintenance of law and order, as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja was to deliver judgment on the Kogi political impasse.

In a statewide broadcast to the people of the state, the Governor had asked them to refrain from taking laws in their hands, saying law enforcement agents would not hesitate to deal with trouble perpetrators.

The Ruling

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court, in its ruling, has declined jurisdiction in the suit instituted by the State Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Idris Wada, against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), on if INEC should go ahead with its plan to conduct supplementary poll in Kogi State on Saturday, December 5.

A suit instituted by the deputy governorship candidate of the APC, James Faleke challenging INEC’s power to conduct supplementary elections and the power of the party to name Yahaya Bello as the substitute for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC,  Prince Abubakar Audu, has also been stricken out.

Out of the 91 polling units, where the supplementary election would take place, 29 units are in Dekina.

Court Strikes Out Faleke’s Suit To Stop Kogi Supplementary Election

falekeA Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday struck out a suit filed by the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr James Faleke, challenging the electoral body’s power to conduct a supplementary election and the power of his party to name Yahaya Bello as substitute for late Audu Abubakar.

The court, presided over by Gabriel Kolawole, declined jurisdiction in the suit, saying that only an Election Tribunal could adjudicate such suit.

‘Idle Judicial Indulgence’

He said that the role of the judgement was to create a judicial and permissive atmosphere for INEC to conduct the supplementary election scheduled for December 5.

The judge further said that it was his view that where the court did not have affirmative powers to make declarative orders, it would amount to ‘idle judicial indulgence’ to proceed with the suit.

The court had on Tuesday said it would consolidate all four suits related to the Kogi governorship election and give its judgment on Friday.

Before the case was filed by Mr Faleke, the APC on  Monday chose Mr Bello as substitute to late Audu, retaining Mr Faleke as the new governorship candidate’s deputy. Mr Faleke disagrees with this choice.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had asked the APC to substitute its late candidate before the supplementary election slated for December 5.

After the APC chose Mr Bello as late Audu’s substitute on Monday, Mr Faleke expressed his displeasure with the choice saying he would go to court.

Falake’s Suit

Mr Faleke on Tuesday filed a separate suit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC at the registry of Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Mr Faleke asked the court to declare him the Governor-elect of Kogi State based on the outcome of the election.

In the suit filed by his counsel, Mr Wole Olanipekun, Faleke prayed the court to declare that election into the office of the governor of a state could only be conducted in the manner expressly stipulated in sections 179(2) (a), (b), (3) (a), (b), 4 (a), (b) and (5) of the constitution.

He also asked the court to grant an order setting aside INEC’s decision that the governorship election held in Kogi State on November 21, 2015 was inconclusive and the public notice dated November 24, 2015 titled ‘Kogi Governorship Election 2015’.

He requested an order of court mandating INEC to make a return, following the already announced results in the election.

In addition, Faleke also wanted the court to grant an order of injunction restraining the INEC and APC from giving effect to or further acting on the decisions of INEC contained in its public notice.

Politics in the state took a different turn after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the election inconclusive, saying that the margin between late Audu, leading in the election, and the candidate of the Peoples Democracy Party, who is the incumbent Governor, Captain Idris Wada, was less  than the number of cancelled votes.

Kogi Students Demand Faleke’s Recognition

FalekeSome students and youth groups in Kogi State have asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to resolve the Kogi State governorship election impasse in favour of Mr James Faleke.

They have threatened to force the invalidation of All Progressives Congress votes in the exercise by persuading Mr Faleke, running mate to the late Abubakar Audu to resign, if he is schemed out.

Their demand is that since the majority votes were cast for the two men, in the absence of Audu, Faleke should be allowed continue as the party’s candidate.

Spokesman of the students union bodies, Michael Obanibi, disclosed this while addressing journalists in Lokoja.

He said that students and youths in the state were not happy with the present political situation in the state.