Kogi State governorship election may have come and gone, the effects of ripples have kept reverberating to the discomfort of the winning party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The political dogfight between the contending camps has continued to build around the need for power and the need to avoid losing out completely in the ensuing melodrama that has enveloped the state since the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu.
The Camps and their jokers
Alh. Yahaya Bello
Alh. Yahaya Bello was favoured by the constitution and the All Progressives Congress in the replacement of the late Prince Abubakar Audu. He was runner-up to the late politician during the August 29 primaries of the party.
Audu’s running mate, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke was not a part of the governorship primaries and that might have robbed him of the opportunity of meeting the constitutional provision of having participated in all of the processes leading to the emergence of a governor, a basic prerequisite under the nations Electoral Law.
To maintain his foothold, Bello is said to have launched serious reconciliation moves to placate Faleke into maintaining his status quo as his running mate and by extension, the Deputy Governor-Elect.
Pundits frowned at any attempt at scuttling the status quo, a situation which may plunge the state into unimaginable security concerns. The actions of the Okun leaders who are insisting Faleke should be governor is considered a betrayal of the power shift agitations by the Kogi Central people.
Hon. James Abiodun Faleke
As it stands, Hon. Abiodun Faleke is currently facing a number of battles legally and politically.
The Lagos State PDP has approached a Lagos High Court to ask if it was constitutional for a person to lay claims to two constituencies at the same time.
While Faleke was a governorship running mate in Kogi, he was still holding his office as House of Representatives member representing Ikeja 2 Constituency.
On the other front, Faleke is believed to be battling unyieldingly against the decision to declare Yahaya Bello, first as replacement to the late Prince Abubakar Audu and later as Governor-Elect.
To the Ekinrin Adde nor politician, he was the right person to replace Audu. Faleke also alleged that INEC erred by declaring the November 21 governorship election inconclusive.
According to him, the election was won and lost on November 21 and he was already a Deputy Governor-Elect to Prince Audu before the latter’s death.
This week, Faleke told a group of Okun leaders that he won’t make himself available for the January 27, 2016 handover ceremonies because the December 5 supplementary poll that produced Alh. Yahaya Bello, according to him, was an illegal exercise.
If Faleke makes real his threat by boycotting the swearing in, he will be rolling the state into another round of constitutional crisis.
A close friend of Faleke who craved anonymity told Vanguard that Faleke’s fears may be beyond playing second fiddle to Yahaya Bello.
“Faleke is a gentleman and should not be seeing as someone fighting his party. His fears are beyond being Deputy to Yahaya Bello. He doesn’t believe the emergence of Bello will survive legal hurdles and he is being mindful of losing everything.
“What if he submits himself for the swearing in January 2016 and APC loses at the tribunal? Remember, he would have resigned his membership of the House of Representatives. What we are telling him is to fight on in court and refuse to make himself available for swearing in.
“However, nothing is yet decided. There is intense pressure on him to save the party from further embarrassment. The whole problem was a creation of Audu’s death”.
The Hope of Wada
While addressing PDP stakeholders at Government House, Lokoja on Tuesday, Kogi State Governor, Capt Idris Wada expressed confidence that he was sure of securing victory at the tribunal. The governor carpeted INEC for transferring the late Audu’s votes to Yahaya Bello, saying INEC’s decision has no constitutional legs.
As indications point, Wada may file his case before the Governorship Tribunal in the next few days.
What the governor is harping on is that Audu’s votes died with him and may demand to be declared the Governor-Elect.
The APC Angle
However, indications emerged yesterday that the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress may convene an emergency meeting over the weekend to take a decisive step over the Kogi impasse.
Sources told Vanguard that the party may gag Faleke from speaking to the press while it works around critical stakeholders in the logjam.
A member of the National Working Committee who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said it has become imperative to find a decisive solution to the wind of war within the party.
He said: “The Kogi impasse has continued to embarrass the leadership of the party. We are fashioning out a lasting solution to the problem. While Faleke has continued to overheat the crisis with his press war, Bello has continued to act with restraints. We are hopeful that the two of them will work together. To start with, their must be press ceasefire.
“We would love to meet only the PDP at the tribunal. It won’t augur well for APC to be divided on this issue. We urgently need to put our house in order”.
However, political bookmakers are already predicting a long legal journey ahead which may navigate to the Supreme Court.[Vanguard]