The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, July 26, reserved judgement in the appeal filed by James Faleke against the election of Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi State for August 4, 2016.
Faleke was running mate to the original gubernatorial candidate for the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Kogi State, late Prince Abubakar Audu.
Abubakar had died before the governorship elections were concluded on November 21, 2015, creating a vacuum unheard of.
Chairman of the Kogi State Election Tribunal, Halima Mohammed, had earlier thrown out the petition of Faleke, saying it lacked the locus standi to challenge the nomination of Bello to replace the late Audu since he was never a deputy governor-elect.
However, Faleke is challenging the decision at the Appeal Court.
Counsel to Faleke, Wole Olanipekun, argued that without the supplementary election, a candidate would have emerged in the person of Faleke.
“This is the first time where a governor that was not voted for was named a governor,” Olanipekun told court.
Countering, counsel for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Alex Iziyon, argued that the party are the beneficiary of the votes and not an for independent candidate.
He said INEC asked the party for a substitute and Bello was fielded to fill the void.
He further asked the court to dismiss Faleke’s appeal.
Counsel to Bello, Joseph Daudu, on his part, told the court that Faleke lost every right to be the governorship candidate when Audu died.
According to him, INEC had the statutory decision to declare the election inconclusive, either right or wrong.
He said based on his arguments and that of INEC’s, the appeal by Faleke is “incompetent”.
Faleke, who is the current chairman, Federal House of Representatives on Customs, has always insisted that he is the one duly meant to occupy the office, having participated in the election.