If the Certified True Copy of Form CF002B issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is anything go by, Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, may have violated Section 187(1) of the Constitution by contesting the December 5, last year election without a running mate.
According to constitutional provision, a governorship candidate can be deemed to have been validly nominated by a political party before contesting for the exalted position.
Section 187(1) states: “In any election to which the foregoing provision of this part of the chapter, a candidate for the office of governor of a state shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his running mate for the office of governor, who is to occupy the office of deputy governor and a candidate shall be deemed duly elected to the office of the deputy governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as the governor in accordance with the provisions.”
The discovery contradicted a claim by Bello’s party – the All Progressives Congress (APC) – that the his names and those of the running mate to the late Prince Audu, James Faleke, were forwarded to INEC for the supplementary election of that produced Bello as governor.
Faleke had declined to run with Bello because he felt the election had been won on the first ballot by the late Prince Audu, with him as the running mate before the poll was declared inconclusive by the electoral umpire.
He communicated his position to INEC Chairman Prof Mahmud Yakubu and APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, urging INEC to declare him winner and advising the party against participating in a supplementary election after emerging victorious on November 21.
The CTC INEC 2015 governorship election submission of names of candidates by the APC for the Kogi governorship election contains only Bello’s name, his 40, political ward and local government.
This contradicts claims by the APC that it submitted the name of Bello and Faleke to INEC for the December, last year supplementary election.
INEC, which said it heard of the demise of the APC governoship candidate on November 23, had on November 22, declared the November 21 governorship election inconclusive. The late Audu was set to win the poll.
Section 33 of the Electoral Act 2010 provides “that in effect that if a person duly nominated as a candidate of his party dies before the election then the political party has the right to replace him.
Section 179 (2) A and B and 181 (1) of the constitution also say “upon the death of a person duly elected as the governor of a state, the person elected with him as the deputy-governor is to be sworn in as the governor of the state.”
Meanwhile, the Kogi Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal will today begin sitting on Faleke’s petition in which he is urging the panel to void Bello’s nomination, the supplementary election that produced him, and declare him as winner based on the November 21 election.
In his petition to the panel, Faleke raised some posers on the eligibility of Bello to have benefitted from the electoral process in Kogi State. He alleged that Bello lacked the qualification.
For instance, Faleke alleged that Bello never registered as a voter and that his election was not by majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.
The tribunal’s response to Faleke’s petition reads: “Your petitioner states that the 2nd respondent, Yahaya Bello, 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 1st respondent on December 5, 2015.”