The running mate to the late Abubakar Audu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 21 governorship poll in Kogi State has asked the Election Petitions Tribunal to declare him governor-elect.
In documents filed before the tribunal by his counsel, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke is seeking 12 reliefs, including four orders compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reverse itself on several decisions concerning the November 21 polls as from the day Audu died.
Among the reliefs being sought is a declaration that the election to the office of governor of Kogi State of November 21 was valid and that he should be presented with a Certificate of Return as the lawful winner of the election.
Faleke argued that the supplementary election of December 5, upon which Alhaji Yahaya Bello was declared as governor-elect, was unnecessary. He argued that Bello was not qualified to contest in the first place.
In the petition which he submitted to the clerk of the tribunal at about 12.20 p.m. in Lokoja on Monday, accompanied by Mohammed Audu, son of the late Audu, Faleke listed INEC and Bello as first and second respondents respectively.
He said: “The second respondent, who did not register as a voter, who did not vote at the election, who did not present himself to the electorate for votes at the election, who did not participate as a candidate at the election of November 21, 2015 and who did not nominate another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of governor, who is to occupy the office of deputy governor was declared the winner of the election by the first respondent on December 5, 2015.”
With 25 documents attached in support, Faleke listed two grounds for his petition; the second respondent was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest, and was not duly elected by the majority of lawful votes cast at the election.
Faleke also observed that INEC “did not publish any list of candidates who purportedly participated at the supplementary election held on December 5, 2015”.
He said Yahahya Bello scored only 6,885 votes at the supplementary election held on December 5, far less than the 240,867 votes he (Faleke) and Audu got on November 21.
Faleke added that INEC added the scores of Dec. 5, to the one of Nov. 21 to get the 247, 752 “which it eventually announced before wrongly and unduly returning the secomd respondent as the winner of the election.”
He continued: “The second respondent did not register as a voter in his ward and/or at all for the governorship election in Kogi State. He did not nominate or submit to INEC any candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor of Kogi State as mandated by the Constitution.”
Faleke also noted that Form CF002B (ii) submitted by Bello to INEC “on or about November 27, 2015 has no deputy governorship candidate who was to contest along with him.”
He said he protested INEC’s decision to declare the November 21 election as inconclusive and also informed the first respondent in writing that he was not running, “and would not run, contest or participate in the supplementary election of December 5, 2015 as the associate or deputy governorship candidate of the second respondent.”
He is seeking that it may be determined and thus declared by the tribunal:
That election to the office of Governor of Kogi State was already conducted, completed and concluded by the 1st respondent on November 21, 2015.
That the 1st respondent’s decision and proclamation that the governorship election held in Kogi State on November 21, 2015 was/is inconclusive, are unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, arbitrary, null and void, and ultra vires the powers of INEC.
III. That the 1st respondent was under a duty to declare and pronounce the winner of the concluded governorship election of Kogi State held on November 21, 2015 and make a return accordingly.
That upon the death of Prince Abubakar Audu before taking the oath of allegiance and oath of office, the petitioner who was elected with him as Deputy Governor should be sworn in as Governor of Kogi State.
That the 2nd respondent was at the time of the election to the office of Governor of Kogi State on November 21, 2015, not qualified to contest the election.
That the 2nd respondent was not qualified to contest the office of Governor of Kogi State on December 5, 2015.
VII. That the second respondent was not elected as Governor of Kogi State by majority of lawful votes cast.
VIII. That the return of the 2nd respondent by the 1st respondent on December 5, 2015 is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, undemocratic, arbitrary, null and void, and also ultra vires the powers of INEC
An order setting aside the 1st respondent’s decision and declaration that the governorship election held in Kogi State on November 21, 2015 is inconclusive.
An order setting aside the Certificate of Return issued by the 1st respondent to the 2nd respondent and dated December 7, 2015.
An order mandating/directing the 1st respondent to issue forthwith, to the petitioner, a Certificate of Return as the person duly elected as Governor of Kogi State pursuant to the election held on November 21, 2015.
XII. An order of injunction restraining the 2nd respondent from:
(a) Parading, representing or holding himself out as the Governor-elect
(b) Parading himself as Governor of Kogi State based on the Certificate of Return issued to him by the 1st respondent and dated December 7, 2015.
On Monday, Faleke told reporters that he was confident justice would be done in the matter and that he did not join his party, the APC as a respondent in the suit.