The former running mate to late Prince Abubakar Audu, in the November 21, 2015 governorship election in Kogi State, James Faleke, has appealed the Election Petition Tribunal’s verdict that affirmed Yahaya Bello as governor.
In a 35 grounds submission filed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, by his lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Faleke is challenging the tribunal’s decision, except the part of the preliminary objection resolved in his favour.
He is praying for an order setting aside the judgment delivered on June 6, and an order granting all the reliefs sought in the petition.
According to him, the tribunal erred in law by refusing to grant his reliefs, particularly an order directing him to be sworn in as governor for the reason that there was no declaration made after the election.
He said: “One of the major reasons why the appellant instituted the petition at the lower tribunal was the failure of the first respondent (Independent National Electoral Commission) to make a declaration and return from the election of 21st November, 2015.
“The lower tribunal failed to consider whether there was any constitutional justification for the failure of the first respondent to make a return from the election.
“It failed to consider whether there was any constitutional basis for the declaration of the November 21, 2015 election as inconclusive. It merely based its decision in refusing the appellant’s claims on the failure of the first respondent to perform its statutory duty”, he said.
The appellant further argued that the tribunal was wrong to hold that he does not have the locus standi to present the petition before it.
Faleke, who is the member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, said the reason given by INEC for declaring the election as inconclusive on November 22, 2015 was that the margin of win between the joint ticket of Audu and appellant and the Wada/Awoniyi ticket, which was 41,353 votes, was less than the total number of registered voters in the 91 polling units were the electoral umpire decreed a supplementary election to hold.