Supreme Court upholds election of Kogi Governor

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello.

The Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, bringing to an end all the bitterness surrounding the election last year.

The seven-man panel headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwata upheld the election after listening to the closing statements of all the counsel.

The court dismissed all the appeals filed by all the parties against Bello’s election last year.

It dismissed the appeal by James Faleke, the deputy governorship candidate of Abubakar Audu, who died before the election result was announced and who was substituted in the supplementary election by Bello.

Faleke contended that Audu had won the election and there was no need for the supplementary election.

He argued further that as the joint holder of Audu’s ticket, he should “be declared the winner of the election.” But the justices did not agree with him.

His appeal was dismissed for lacking in merit. The justices affirmed the decisions of the lower courts.

Other cases
The court also dismissed former Governor Idris Wada’s case against Bello.

Also dismissed were appeals filed by the ADC and the Labour Party.

The justices said ”the reasons for all the failed applications would be given on Friday, September 30, 2016.”

There were five appeals in all against the Court of Appeal rulings which upheld the election of Governor Bello.

Audu of the All Progressives Congress died before the final announcement of results election conducted on November 21, 2015 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The election was declared inconclusive.

The re-run held on December 5, 2015 saw the emergence of Bello who became the torch bearer of the party after the death of Audu.

Wada, who contested the election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Faleke, had approached the Supreme Court in August challenging Bello’s victory at the Court of Appeal.

The appellate court had upheld an earlier judgement in June by the Kogi State Governorship Election Tribunal, which gave victory to the governor.

The tribunal in the judgment read by its chairman, Justice Halima Mohammed said “Faleke’s petition lacked merit and therefore threw it out.”

The tribunal further held that the fact that INEC declared the first election inconclusive meant no winner had emerged.

It also said that all votes belonged to political parties and not the candidate who contested on their platforms.

“Faleke had no locus standi to challenge Bello’s nomination by the APC to replace Mr. Audu as he (Audu) was not the governor-elect,” it stated.