Monday, June 6, 2016 3:36 pm
The Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal on Monday dismissed the petition by Mr James Abiodun Faleke, the deputy governorship candidate in the Nov. 21, 2015 Kogi governorship election.
Faleke was the running mate to late Prince Abubakar Audu in the election, later declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as inconclusive.
He thereafter challenged the election of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, now the governor of the state alleging it was illegal and also a breach of the electoral rules.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Halima Muhammad dismissed the petition on the ground that the petition lacked merit.
Muhammad also said that the tribunal has carefully considered all the issues raised by both parties, adding that Faleke has no locus standi to challenge the nomination of Bello by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The tribunal Chairman also said that the petitioner has no locus standi to challenge the election of Bello when INEC says the Nov. 21 election was inconclusive.
“A candidate cannot stand election without being sponsored by a party; the electoral tribunal has no power to determine the empowerment of a political party. The 2nd respondent (Bello) is a member of a political party, the APC nominated him.
“The issues of the petitioner bothered on the nomination of the 2nd respondent which arose from the death of Prince Audu; Bello did not nominate himself.
“Both the petitioner and the 2nd respondent belong to the same party and were sponsored by their party. The APC has the right to substitute a candidate as it deems it fit.
“So, the petitioner has not placed sufficient materials before the tribunal to grant his petition; the petition is hereby dismissed for lack of merit,’’ Muhammed said.
Justice Muhammad also said that there was no enough evidence before the tribunal that the petitioner wrote a letter to his political party withdrawing his candidature as the deputy governorship candidate.
According to the tribunal Chairman, the only letter written by the petitioner did not constitute a valid withdrawal and that it was not written to the party but INEC.
The tribunal Chairman also held that the 2nd respondent, Bello; was the sole runner-up in the APC primary to late Audu and that, there was no evidence by the petitioner to show that he was disqualified and was not nominated by the party.
Responding outside the tribunal, Faleke told newsmen that he would be consulting his lawyers on the next step to take on the matter.
According to Faleke, there is no way he will not appeal the judgment of the tribunal after a serious consultations with his lawyers.
“Certain Section of the judgment is not in tune with the constitution. The Judges did not look at the main subject of our case.
“We are not concerned with the supplementary election held on Dec. 5. All we know is that we were duly elected based on the constitution,’’ Faleke said.
The Tribunal will give another judgment tomorrow on the challenge by former Governor Idris Wada, of the Peoples Democratic Party. On Wednesday, it will also rule on other cases filed by the Labour Party and others.