The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued a certificate of return to the Kogi state governor elect, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, on Wednesday in Lokoja.
Bello who was accompanied to the ceremony with thousands of his supporters across the state, especially from his home district, Kogi Central since there is no law restricting him from coming with huge entourage.
The Governor-elect’s deputy, Hon. Abiodun Faleke, was expected as well, even considering a recent revelation Faleke made in a letter circulated by various medium, but he was conspicuously absent at the event.
The certificate of return was presented to Bello by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmud, at about 4:00pm, at the commission’s office in Lokoja.
Represented by INEC National Commissioner, Prof. Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine, the commission chairman said the exercise followed the conclusion of the governorship election and in accordance with section 75(2) of the Electoral Act (as amended).
The section, Prof. Mahmud said, prescribed for the issuance of certificate of return to the winning candidate of a political party in a governorship election within seven days of the election conclusion
Recall that Hon. Faleke in a letter written some days ago, threatened to boycott the January 27, 2016 swearing-in ceremony in Lokoja. His dissatisfaction is not unconnected with stance that, he was never a running mate to Alh. Bello hence cannot be his deputy.
But the governor-elect, Bello, had said he would not join issues with James Faleke, the running-mate of late Abubakar Audu, who has resumed full legislative duty just 72-hour after the conclusion of the election. The party in a recent attempt to mediate in the crisis following the replacement of its late governorship candidate, Prince Audu, was reportedly uncovered, according to This Day report.
Meanwhile, in another peace and reconciliation move, the campaign council of Bello, reportedly asked Faleke, and other angry party members to accept the outcome of Saturday’s election as the wish of God.
The unexpected situation that occurred in Kogi state’s political landscape had left some questions unanswered as to what the stand of the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act really states regarding the substitution of a party candidate when the cold hands of death cuts short the life of an anointed candidate.