Friday, September 30, 2016 5:13 pm
The Supreme Court on Friday said it dismissed the appeal of James Faleke of the All Progressive Congress (APC) on Kogi governorship elections because the reliefs sought were “aberration, not known to law’’
The court, while giving reasons for its decisions of Sept. 20 on the elections also said that the respective appeal by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Idris Wada failed because it was “frivolous’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the apex court panel of seven judges had unanimously dismissed the three appeals, respectively contesting the return of Gov. Yahaya Bello of the APC.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun who read the lead judgment in Faleke’s case said 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, Prince Audu Abubakar, because he did not meet the condition precedent.
Kekere-Ekun said that Faleke neither obtained nomination form nor substantively participated in the APC governorship primaries.
The Judge further said that INEC had already declared the election inconclusive before Audu’s sudden death.
Adducing reasons in support of Bello’s qualification, the Judge held that the Electoral Act gives room for substitutions of candidates on account of either death or withdrawal.
She said 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 Nov. 21, 2015 poll,’’ she held.
Faleke, the running mate to Abubakar had filed the appeal against Bello’s victory in the Dec.5, 2015 supplementary election.
He urged the 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 Nov.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 Abubakar.
Similarly, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta in his lead judgment gave reasons why the apex court dismissed the appeals by PDP and 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 Nov. 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.
NAN reports that the appeals filed by the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the Labour Party (LP) on the elections suffered similar fate. (NAN)