The unexpected demised of late Abubakar Audu, the Kogi State Gubernatorial Candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the November 21st Governorship Election has indeed created a serious vacuum and legal logjam in the country and Kogi state political history in particular, as his unplanned exist has raise some critical questions that is begging for answer.
To further compound the already twisted political scenario was the pronouncement by the Returning Officer, Profession Kucha, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Agric, Makurdi, declaring the election inconclusive on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), calling for a supplementary election, quoting relevant sections of both the Electoral laws and the constitutions of Nigeria without exploiting all options before the pronouncement.
Ordinarily, INEC is supposed to have carried out a thorough research before arriving at such a hasty decision that has thrown the state into a theater of political experiment without knowing the direction to take.
I believe the doctrine of necessity should have been invoked or adopted by the electoral umpire to save the state from the situation it find itself wasting additional resources that should have been used in the rescuing process that began on the 28 August when Abubakar Audu emerged as the party flag bearer.
Since no one is expecting the duo to died at a point when he was coasting home victory in the already declared results, then INEC should have been more guided in taking decisions that may plug the state into crisis as the general public are watching keenly as events unfold itself.
The same INEC that said a voter cannot vote without the Permanent Voter’s Card is contradicting itself by basing their judgment on the number of registered voters instead of the number of the voters that has collected their PVC.
Even, if it is not capture in the Electoral Acts as amended; the Returning Officer should have used his discretional power to declared Audu/Faleke ticket as the winner of the election instead of the so call supplementary election which will have little or no effect on the votes already garnered by all parties.
By INEC records there are 49,953 registered voters across the 91 polling units that were canceled and only 25,000 of them have their PVC which without you cannot be accredited let alone to vote, where in is the justification of INEC calling for a supplementary election, whereas APC is already leading with 41, 353 votes.
The 25,000 PVCs so collected across the 91 polling units canceled will have no effect on the difference votes between the two leading parties.
So declaring the Audu/Faleke tickets as the winner of the election and duly elected Governor-Elect and Deputy Governor-Elect respectively would not be out of place as the prevailing evidence has shown that the Returning Officer made the pronouncement in error, hence it need to be corrected and the state will move forward.
However, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke was announced to the world as a new born baby to the royal family of late Pa Benjamin Faleke and Late Madam Omorewo Faleke some 56 years ago in Ekinrin-Adde, Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, north-central Nigeria.
The young Faleke had his elementary primary school at Baptist Primary School, Ekinrin-Adde after which he proceeded to the Atta Abdul-Aziz Memorial College, Okene (AMCO) and graduated with flying colurs in 1974.
Upon graduation from the college he gained admission into the prestigious Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna state to study Purchasing and Supply and graduated in 1986 with upper credit.
Comrade Faleke had his one year compulsory National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) in Lagos in 1986/87 session where he was posted to serve in Ikeja Local Government Council. Due to his outstanding performances during the service, he won the NYSC state award in 1987.
It was this singular gesture that took him to Lagos but fate beckoned on him to do exploit in politics which provided the platform for him to serve the people of his constituency in various capacities.
As a graduate he worked in the procurement departments of various organizations as either the Head of Procurement or General Manager before his neighbors in Ojodu area of Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State beckon on him to serve in the capacity of a council chairman which he perform creditably well, the records are there to be verified.
It was at this point the name of Hon. James Abiodun Faleke came to limelight at the centre of excellence, where he show to the whole world the stuff he is made up of, however, it will interest you to know that despite the huge and abundance opportunities available to the political gladiator at his city of residence, he never denied where he comes from, rather he uses that to up lift the status of his people by empowering them in various ways.
Lagos as a cosmopolitan city created the opportunity for every resident to participate in politics hence such individual is good in character and capable to provide the much needed leadership required to represent the interest of the people.
Hon. James Abiodun Faleke as a Fellow of the International Institute of Purchase and Supply, London has bring his wealth of experience to bear in the field of politics which made me to be outstanding in conducting his activities that endeared him to the people of Ikeja, that for the first time in the history of the Constituency since 1999, no individual has been able to represent the area on two consecutive time but Hon. James Faleke was not only returned but elected unopposed at the party’s primary the general election which he eventually win with wide margin.
However, prior to the Governorship primary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kogi State, it would interest you to know that Hon. James Faleke make an attempt to signified his intention to contest but after due consultations with various stakeholders, he came to a conclusion to wait till 2019 before fate beckoned on him to serve in the Deputy Governor capacity.
For the people who may not know the political gladiator before this time, it will interest you to know that Hon. James Faleke has always been a community person who has continued to contribute his quota to the overall development of the people.
His outstanding performance as the pioneer Secretary to the Ojodu Local Government Development Council in 2003 qualified him to be elected on two occasions as the Executive Chairman of Ojodu Local Government where he made his mark, after which he was elected as Member of the Federal House of Representatives, two terms running.
The selection of Hon. James Abiodun Faleke by Prince Abubakar Audu as his running mate is a huge electoral assets to the Prince Abubakar Audu campaigns organization in the west senatorial district of the state.
Faleke is seen as the game changer who has come to change the political temperature of the Kogi West in favour of his boss and to some large extend the Kogi Central, as one of the old boys of Abdulazeez Memorial College, Okene (AMCO).
Faleke being a quiet and humble personality from a humble royal family in Ekinrin – Adde has brought innovations into Kogi politics by adding value to the electorates in area of respect, empowerment and the virtue of loyalty.
It will interest you to note that Hon. James Faleke remain the only person that can implement the rescue mission agenda being a co-pilot in the mission which he (late Audu) has discussed with him and showed him time without numbers.
His confidence in Faleke was reechoed in the interview granted reporters in Lokoja and published on page 39 in The Nation newspaper of Thursday, October 15, 2015, he (Prince Audu) confidently described Faleke as a politician of note who understands the concept of development and has bundle of experience and is believed to possess the leadership qualities that will be highly needed to move Kogi state which is already in shambles forward.
Faleke is in the best position to carry on the legacies of Prince Audu Abubakar who has promised the people of the state to shift power to either west or central senatorial districts of the state come 2019, not knowing that he will not live beyond this time.
The only thing the campaign organization can do to immortalize him is to allow power rotation to commence with Faleke and I believe Prince Audu Abubakar will be happy and rest well wherever his spirit will be as the call for power shift in 2019 formed major parts of his campaigns across the 21 local government areas of the state.
I believe late Audu would have shared many ideas and thoughts with Hon. James Faleke which he would not have shared with anyone else excepts his Deputy on how to rescue the state back from the backwardness its currently face, so bringing a neutral person that have no idea of what Prince Audu have in mind to do for the people of the state would be amounted to shortchanging the people who have worked assiduously day and night to see to the success of the project.
Don’t forget late Audu and Hon James Faleke campaigned round the 21 local government areas across the state together and attended crucial and critical meetings at ensuring success of the campaign, aside the huge resources contributed by Faleke and group.
I am sure Faleke will be the only one who will know and understand the mindset of late Audu on how he wants to govern Kogi State in the next four years.
The outstanding performance of the APC in the west senatorial districts winning 6 out of the 7 local government areas including Kabba/Bunu that have been seen as the home of the Peoples Democratic Party since 1999 is not without the sterling leadership qualities of Hon. James Faleke which attracted all and sundry to rally round him and delivered those local governments to the APC.
Even the three local government gotten from the central district is also not without his efforts and record have it that prominent members of the party in the area alleged to have been seen working for the PDP because he was aggrieved with late Audu’s emergence as the party flag bearer.
If in this shortest time Hon. Faleke can turned things around and deliver majority votes in his district to the APC, then you should know what is expected if giving the opportunity to continue from where late Audu stop.
So going forward staging another primary election to fill the vacancy may not be an option rather the APC leadership at the national level should approach the court to compel INEC to declared Audu/Faleke ticket as the winner of the election.