The Supreme Court on Friday gave reasons to support its judgement dismissing the appeal of James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the Kogi governorship elections, saying the reliefs sought were “aberration, not known to law”.
The court had dismissed the suit on September 20, saying it was “frivolous”.
While also ruling against a different appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Idris Wada, the Supreme Court, composed of seven judges, held that the three appeals, which respectively contesting the return of Gov. Yahaya Bello of the APC were without any foundation in law.
Indeed, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the lead judgment on in Mr. Faleke’s case on Friday, said the court dismissed the appeal because his claims were not supported by any existing 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 Mr. Faleke was not qualified to benefit the votes the APC scored in the contest before the death of the party’s governorship candidate, Audu Abubakar, because he did not meet the condition precedent.
Mrs. Kekere-Ekun said Mr. Faleke neither obtained nomination form nor substantively participated in the APC governorship primaries.
She said that INEC had already declared the election inconclusive before Mr. Audu’s sudden death.
Giving reasons in support of Mr. 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 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.
Mrs. Kekere-Ekun, therefore, held that the substitution of the late governorship candidate of the party with Mr. 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,” she said.
“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.
Mr. Faleke, the running mate to Mr. Abubakar had filed the appeal against Mr. 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 Mr. 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.
Mr. Ngwuta said 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,” Mr. 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.