The Director, Media and Publicity of Audu/Faleke Campaign, Duro Meseko, yesterday explained the rationale behind the glaring absence of Hon. James Faleke at the inauguration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi State.
Mr. Bello was sworn-in as the 4th Executive Governor of Kogi State in Lokoja, the state capital without Mr. Faleke, who was supposed to have taken oath of office as his deputy.
Speaking on a Ray Power radio live programme monitored by our correspondent in Abuja, Mr Meseko said Faleke did not attend the ceremony in Kogi because the election of November 21, 2015 in which he (Faleke) ran as the running mate to the late Prince Abubakar Audu on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, was won by the Audu/Faleke ticket.
Recall that the exercise was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), even though Audu/Faleke were leading by over 20,000 votes and set a date for a rerun election.
However, Audu passed away the day the election was declared inconclusive by the INEC, throwing Kogi State and indeed the entire country into a constitutional logjam.
A seeming ‘solution’ to the problem was proffered when the INEC permitted APC to field a substitute candidate for the supplementary poll on December 5, which was won by Bello, its candidate.
Speaking further, Meseko said Faleke believed that INEC erred in declaring the election inconclusive, adding: “He (Faleke) felt that there was no need for the supplementary election that was held on December 5, 2015”.
“That is why he is already in court to retrieve that mandate. He believes that, as a running mate, even if Audu dies, and based on Section 189 of the Nigerian Constitution, he was the right person to step into the shoes of the deceased”.
He said that Faleke has complied with the statutory requirement expected of any candidate in an election, having written letters to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the electoral body.
“He also wrote to INEC, saying that he is no longer deputy governor. He can’t be a deputy to Yahaya Bello. He is supposed to move higher up as governor-elect”.