The Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello will know his fate today as the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja delivers judgment on a petition filed by James Faleke, challenging Bello’s election.
The tribunal chairman, Justice Halima Mohammed, had on April 6 reserved her judgment after all parties to the case had filed their final written addresses.
Notices for judgments between Tuesday and Thursday have also been served on parties in the other four pending petitions on the controversial Kogi guber polls.
Mr. Faleke, a member of the House of Representatives and running mate to late Prince Abubakar Audu in the November 21, 2015 governorship polls on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC, challenged the nomination of Bello as substitute candidate of the party following the demise of Audu a day after the election while votes were still being compiled.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, later declared the election inconclusive and ordered a rerun election in some polling units.
The APC presented Bello as its substitute candidate for the rerun polls following approval by the electoral commission. Faleke, however, rejected his retention as running mate to Bello.
In his argument at the tribunal, Faleke, through his lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), argued that Bello ought not to have been nominated or declared winner of the rerun election of December 6, 2015, because he was not a registered voter in Kogi State.
While maintaining that the choice of Bello was unconstitutional, he also contended that “it was the first time in the history of democracy that somebody will contest an election without a running mate”.
He further argued that Mr. Bello was not even a registered voter in Kogi state, saying his nomination was therefore, unconstitutional.
“The constitution said that you should vote and be voted for which the 2nd respondent does not even meet up with any of the provision”, he said.
However, counsels to Bello and INEC, Joseph Daudu (SAN), and Alex Izinyon (SAN), respectively, asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition for lack of merit.
In their separate submissions, the counsels argued that the votes cast for the late Audu at the poll belonged to the APC, not any individual.
They further argued that Faleke did not withdraw his nomination as a running mate in the December 5 governorship rerun election in the state.
Meanwhile, Gov. Bello has denied a claim by the Kogi Patriotic Front that he bribed the tribunal judges with N1.5billion to deliver judgment in his favour.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Bello, Kingsley Fanwo, dismissed the allegation as false, saying those behind it were out for mischief and blackmail.