The crisis created by the demise of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Kogi State’s governorship election, Prince Abubakar Audu, seems to be growing fast.
Audu’s running mate in the November 21 election, James Abiodun Faleke, has declined to pair with Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who has been named the party’s candidate for the supplementary election on Saturday, insisting that he should be declared governor-elect on the APC platform.
The APC looked set to win the election but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared it inconclusive, following the inability of some registered voters to vote in 91 units.
In a letter to APC National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Faleke dissociated himself from the supplementary poll, which he insisted was unnecessary since the November 21 governorship election produced the candidates of the APC as clear winners.
He said rather than substitute its late standard bearer at the governorship election for the purpose of a supplementary election, the party ought to have urged the electoral umpire to declare it the winner of the poll since the expected results from the scheduled election would be inconsequential.
In the 91 units, there are 49,000 registered would-be voters. Of the lot, only 25,000 have voter cards. The APC is leading by 41,000 votes.
“Please take this letter as confirmation to dissociate myself from the unusual and strange supplementary nomination of my humble self as running mate to Alhaji Yahaya Bello, this also serves as a notice of rejection of the purported and illegal nomination of myself as running mate to Alhaji Yahaya Bello,” Faleke wrote in the letter to Odigie-Oyegun.
He said it would amount to a betrayal of trust and injustice on the part of the party to pick Bello who, according to him, joined forces with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the APC during the election, as the inheritor of all the late Audu and himself put into the campaigns to ensure victory for the APC.
Besides, Faleke faulted the APC for attempting to shave his head behind him, claiming that no one consulted him before his name was forwarded as running mate to Bello.
The letter reads: “I wish to put it on record that I was neither consulted by anybody before my name was submitted as running mate to a man who has since the conduct of primaries, abandoned the party, took the party to court, worked for the PDP, thereby causing our party to lose his polling unit 80 votes to his ally party PDPs 116, repeating same feat at the Ward level with APC scoring 1,146 to PDP’s 2,058.
“While it is true that the said Alhaji Yahaya Bello participated in our party primaries, its trite that party primaries are conducted to produce a candidate and once a candidate is produced, the congress, being an ad-hoc tool for that purpose, should automatically extinguish.
“It is clear from this injustice, that our party is on the path of rewarding disloyalty and discourage loyalty through this act of impunity for which we all fought the PDP.
“It may also interest you Mr. Chairman Sir, that the said Yahaya Bello, since the conduct of the primaries, had been aloof from party activities as it is on record that he did not attend a single meeting or campaign rally of the party.
“Mr. Chairman Sir, I am sure that it is neither in your interest, nor that of the party in particular and the public in general to lord an illegality on the people of Kogi State.
“Please, take note that I am not interested in surrendering the mandate the people of Kogi State bestowed on the Audu/Faleke joint ticket at the November 21 poll as I remain the governor-elect.
“I believe in the leadership of our great party to resolve this in the shortest possible time, failure upon which I shall be forced to seek redress in the court of law.”
In his latest letter, Faleke restated his position as contained in two letters last Thursday from his cousel, Chief Wole Olanipekun to the APC national chairman and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu.
In all the letters, Faleke mainted that the idea of a supplementary election should not arise because the APC had already won the governorship slot by polling 240, 867 to beat Governor Idris Wada of the PDP who polled 199, 514.
He said there was no truth in the belief that the outstanding votes could sway the poll’s results, adding that only 25,000 of the 49, 353 registered voters from 91 units from 18 council areas where the supplementary election would take place have their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), pointing out that the PDP would still be trailing the APC even if it garners all the outstanding votes.
Faleke’s letter, titled: “Re:My purported nomination as deputy governor,” reads: “Information at my disposal from the National Secretary of our party, the All Progressives Congress and my telephone conversation with your good self, confirmed to me that the party had issued INEC form and submitted my name as running mate to Alhaji Yahaya Bello in the forthcoming unusual and strange supplementary election scheduled for 5th December, 2015, covering 91 polling units in Kogi State to elect a “supplementary governor”.
“Mr. Chairman, you may recall that an election was conducted on the 21st November 2015, in which I was running mate to the late Prince Abubakar Audu: I therefore remain fully committed to that joint ticket which received the blessings of the party leadership, including your good self, evident from your attendance at the campaign rallies to ensure total victory for your great party through which the people of Kogi State massively and overwhelmingly voted for us.
“Following the demise of my principal after the announcement of results from the polling units, wards, local government areas and the state, our party had highest number of votes of 240, 867 against PDP’s 199, 514, thus creating a difference of 41, 353 votes between the two leading parties. On the strength of this, I hereby state clearly that I remain the governor-elect of Kogi State on the platform of our great party.”