Supreme Court Damns Tinubu’s Ally, Releases Powerful Statement On APC Governor

By Post Nigeria October 1, 2016 09:33

Supreme Court Damns Tinubu’s Ally, Releases Powerful Statement On APC Governor

The Supreme Court of Nigeria, has revealed why it delivered Judgement against James Faleke, a political ally to the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Leader, Bola Tinubu, in the contentious Kogi Governorship tussle.

The apex court said on Friday, September 30, that it dismissed Faleke’s appeal, because the reliefs sought were an “aberration, and not known to law”.

Faleke, the running mate to late Abubakar Audu, had filed an appeal, challenging Governor Yahaha Bello’s substitution by the APC, as the party’s flag bearer.

Faleke, had further urged the apex court, to return him as duly elected, on the grounds that the Abubakar/Faleke ticket had already scored the majority votes of 240, 873, in the November 21, 2015 Governorship election.

He contended that INEC acted in bad faith, by declaring the election inconclusive, because he (Faleke) should have been declared as Governor, after the death of Audu.

Nevertheless, the apex court panel of seven Justices, had unanimously dismissed Faleke’s appeal.

While giving the reasons for their decisions, the apex court on Friday, through Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the lead judgement, said that the court dismissed the appeal, because the claims by the appellant were not supported by any extant laws.

“This is a simple law. Since the election had not been completed, and the final results issued by the electoral body, Faleke as a running mate, cannot claim ‎victory in the election,” she said.

She held that, Faleke was not qualified to benefit the votes the APC scored in the contest before the death of the party’s Governorship candidate, because he did not meet the condition precedent.

Justice Kekere-Ekun, said that Faleke neither obtained the nomination form, nor substantively participated in the APC Governorship primaries.

The Justice further stated, that INEC had already declared the election inconclusive, before Audu’s sudden death.

Adducing reasons in support of Bello’s qualification, the Justice held that the Electoral Act gives room for substitutions of candidates, on account of either death, or withdrawal.

She noted the extant law gives powers to political parties, to take full charge of the process of selection of candidates for elections, adding that, the court lacked the jurisdiction to stop them.
Kekere-Ekun therefore held, that the substitution of the late Governorship candidate of the party with Bello, was apt.

“Nothing can be more apt, as the Governor had fully participated in the Governorship primary election of the APC, and came second after Abubakar.

“Unlike Faleke, who did not meet that condition, but was simply selected to be a Deputy Governor.

“By virtue of the provisions of Section 221 of the 1999 Constitution, it is the political parties that actually contest elections.

“The Governor, having become candidate of APC, and legally sponsored by the same party, can lay claim to the votes scored by the party in the November 21, 2015 poll,” she held.

Similarly, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, in his lead judgment, gave reasons why the apex court dismissed the appeals by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its candidate, Idris Wada.

“The testimonies relied on by the appellants, relate to qualification of the first respondent (Bello), and his alleged failure to personally nominate a running mate.

“They have also challenged his non-participation in the November 21, 2015 election, and the combination of the votes and votes scored by late Abubakar.

“We join the tribunal and the appeal court, to hold that the testimonies have no probable value,” he held.

Ngwuta further said, that the concurrent decision of the two courts below was affirmed, because the appellants had not advanced any reason for the apex court to hold otherwise.

“It is my view that the appellants did not prove a ground for this court to interfere with the concurrent findings of the trial tribunal, and the court of appeal,” Ngwuta held.