26 July 2016
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Tuesday reserved judgment in the appeals challenging the election of Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor of Kogi.
Rep. James Faleke of the (APC) and former governor Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had appealed the judgment of the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
The tribunal had upheld the election of Bello as duly elected governor of the state.
Justice Jumai Sankey led other four Justices to reserve the judgment after counsel to parties adopted their written addresses.
“The judgment in these appeals will be delivered on a date to be communicated to parties in the matter,” she held.
Earlier, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), counsel to Faleke, urged the court to invalidate the decision of the tribunal, arguing that the governor was not properly nominated by the political party.
He submitted that Bello did not undergo all the electioneering processes as required by law before he emerged as his party’s candidate in a re-run election.
Olujimi also urged the court to allow the appeal and declare his client as the proper person for the governorship seat.
Conversely, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), counsel to INEC, asked the court to uphold Bello’s election.
Raji said that the governor’s name was submitted to his client by his party as a replacement to late Abubakar Audu.
Audu, the erstwhile flagbearer of the party in the election, passed on during the election.
Also, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), counsel to Bello insisted that the issue of nomination of candidates for election was the sole responsibility of a political party.
Daudu told the court that Bello, having been nominated by the APC in compliance with the extant law and authority of the party, remained the candidate of his party at the election.
He urged the court to dismiss all the appeals against his client and uphold the decision of the tribunal, which had earlier held that Bello was properly nominated.
The tribunal had, in a judgment delivered on June 6 dismissed Faleke and Wada’s petitions challenging Bello’s election as governor the state.
The three-member panel, headed by Justice Halima Mohammed, held in a unanimous judgment, that Faleke could not be declared governor as he was never the substantive candidate in the 2015 governorship election.
Mohammad held that the APC was right to have nominated Bello to replace late Audu as its candidate in the Dec 5, 2015 supplementary election.
She declared that Faleke had no locus standi to have filed the petition in the first place.
On Wada’s petition, she held that he also lacked the locus standi to institute the action, adding that he had no right to challenge how Bello emerged.