By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
The Court of Appeal siting in Abuja, the Federal Capital City (FCT) is expected to begin hearing on the appeal brought by the duputy-governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State in the November 21, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke challenging the judgment of the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal.The tribunal had upheld the election of Governor Yahaya Bello as duly elected chief executive of the state.
In his reaction to the judgement, Faleke had filed thirty five grounds of appeal to the appellate court stating that the election tribunal relied on hearsay and other inadmissible evidence to arrive at its judgment.
In the appeal, Faleke who was the running mate to late Prince Abubakar Audu in the election is challenging the tribunalâ€™s decision, except the part of the preliminary objection resolved in his favour.
He prayed for an order setting aside the judgment delivered on June 6, and an order granting all the reliefs sought in the petition.
Through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Faleke said 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: â€œOne of the major reasons why he 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.
â€œThe 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.
â€œIt 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 appellantâ€™s claims on the failure of the first respondent to perform its statutory duty,â€ 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 said the reason given by INEC for declaring the election as inconclusive was that the margin of win between the joint ticket of Prince Abubakar Audu 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 INEC decreed a supplementary election to hold.