A 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.