The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Thursday dismissed the appeal filed by James Faleke, who was the running mate of the deceased Kogi State governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu, in the last year’s governorship election, challenging the emergence of Governor Yahaya Bello, as winner of the poll.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) substituted Bello as its governorship candidate and retained Faleke as its deputy governorship candidate after Audu died at the conclusion of the first round of the election held on November 21.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bello as the winner of the election after the conclusion of the supplementary poll which took place in 91 polling units in the state on December 6, 2015.
Faleke had appealed to the appeal court challenging the judgment of the Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal delivered on June 6, which affirmed Bello as the duly elected governor following the November 21, 2015 election and the December 6, 2015 supplementary poll.
A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal, in dismissing Faleke’s appeal, on Thursday resolved all the six issues raised by him against him.
In the lead judgment read by the Presiding Justice of the panel, Justice Jumai Hannatu, held that the tribunal was right to have dismissed Faleke’s petition.
The appeal court held that contrary to Faleke’s petition, he could not by virtue of sections 181(1) and 179(2) stepped in as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress following the death of Audu.
The court also held that Faleke could not have been declared winner of the poll on the strength of the votes by his and the late Audu’s joint ticket in the November 21 polled.
Though the court held that contrary to the tribunal’s conclusion, Faleke had the locus standi to challenge the outcome of the election having contested the November 21 on a joint ticket with Audu, it held that he (Faleke) lacked the right to question the substitution of the governorship candidate done by the party.- Punch.