James Faleke, the running mate to the late Abubakar Audu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 21, 2015 election, has lost his bid to unseat Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi state.
The Kogi State governorship election tribunal has ruled that the failure of James Faleke to join INEC in his petition against the election of Governor Yahaya Bello is a major defect to the petition.
Tribunal rules 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 holds 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 adds that the APC is legally right to substitute it’s candidate due to force majeur as the Nov 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.
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, Yahaya Bello never participated in the said election.
The petitioner, Faleke was running as the deputy governorship candidate under the late Abubakar Audu up until INEC declared the poll inconclusive after Audu died.
INEC went ahead to ask the APC to nominate a replacement for the deceased. Bello was nominated and he selected Mr Faleke as his deputy, but Faleke declined. Faleke thereafter approached the tribunal asking it to declare him governor-elect.