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Court to decide Faleke-Bello gov tussle August 4

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An appeal court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday reserved August 4 for ruling on an appeal by James Faleke challenging the Kogi state governorship status of Yahaya Bello.

Faleke was the running mate to late Audu Abubakar, the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate who died before the governorship elections were concluded on November 21, 2015.

Halima Mohammed, chairman of the tribunal, had earlier thrown out the petition of Faleke, saying it lacked the locus standi to challenge the nomination of Bello to replace the late Audu since he was never a deputy governor-elect.

However, at the appeal court, Wole Olanipekun, counsel to Faleke, argued that without the supplementary election, a candidate would have emerged in the person of Faleke.

“This is the first time where a governor that did not vote was named a governor,” Olanipekun told court.

Alex Iziyon, counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), argued that the votes were meant for the party and not an for independent candidate.

He said INEC asked the party for a substitute and Bello was fielded to fill the void. He further asked the court to dismiss Faleke’s appeal.

Joseph Daudu, counsel to Bello, told the court that Faleke lost every right to be the governorship candidate when Audu died.

According to him, INEC had the statutory decision to declare the election inconclusive, either right or wrong.

He said based on his arguments and that of INEC’s, the appeal by Faleke is “incompetent”.

Faleke, who is the current chairman, federal house of representatives committee on customs, has always insisted that he is the one duly meant to occupy the office, having participated in the election.

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