Politics, Seat of Power

Is inauguration of Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi state constitutional?

Yahaya Bello1-Fullscreen capture 12162015 52203 PM

The swearing in of Yahaya Bello as the next governor of Kogi State will certainly open another vista in the political history of the state in particular and of the country in general.

Many believe that the young man is not qualified to be the governor of the state for two reasons.

One, he was not the candidate that should have been chosen by APC to replace Abubakar Audu, who died on November 22, 2015, a day after the governorship election and who was coasting home to victory with 240,867 votes against his PDP counterpart, Captain Idris Wada, with 199,514 votes.

That James Abiodun Faleke, Audu’s running mate in the election should have been his natural replacement.

Two, people also believe that the refusal of Hon. James Abiodun Faleke to be Yahaya Bello’s running-mate in the supplementary election which produced him as the governor-elect, could not stand since he did not have a running-mate in the election.

According to 1999 constitution of Nigeria, one of the criteria to contest for governorship election is that you must have a running mate. Since Bello did not have a running mate before contesting that election, he was therefore, not qualified to contest in the first place.

All these issues can only be clarified in the law court. Starting with the Election Petition Tribunal to Appeal Court and the Supreme Court.

Pending the time the court makes its final decision on this knotty issues Yahaya Bello will be sworn in as the substantive governor of Kogi State, without a deputy governor.

ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some lawyers on the propriety of swearing in Yahaya Bello as the next governor of Kogi State. Here is what they said…


‘This is gradually turning to the gateway to dictatorship’-EBUN  OLU-ADEGBORUWA

Is it constitutional for Yahaya Bello to be sworn-in as Kogi State governor on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, since Hon. James Faleke has refused to be his deputy?

Ebun-Olu-AdegboruwaThe declaration of Yahaya Bello as the governor and his subsequent swearing-in under the watchful eye of General Muhammadu Buhari is a signpost that we are moving back to dark age. This is a man who did not contest in the election. The owner of the mandate died. Prince Abubakar Audu scored 240,000 votes whereas, Bello scored just 6,000 votes. His own votes could not have earned him victory at the polls. There is no way he should have inherited the votes of a dead man.

Number two, at the time he was being presented as the replacement for Abubakar Audu, James Faleke had indicated that he would never be his deputy.

So, it was not possible under our electoral law for a governorship candidate to run without a deputy. It is not possible. Nobody can say that Bello was validly elected.

The constitution does not permit the election of a governor without a deputy. In that circumstance, I was shocked that the APC government in its quest to conquer power is blind to law and has become blind to reason. In its quest to gain popularity, it is advocating illegality and jettisoning our law. I believe that virtually we are now in a regime of despotism, anarchy and total disregard for the rule of law.

You want to fight anti-corruption war, we must suspend the constitution. You want to win election, we should discard card reader and jettison the electoral act. This is gradually turning to the gateway to dictatorship. It is when dictators want to take over power, they start to canvass for the jettisoning of existing laws.

I believe the people of Kogi State have no governor as we speak.

If the APC regime under General Buhari continues to retain Bello as the purported governor of Kogi State, it will only be a confirmation of his desire for power without change.

What we were experienced under Jonathan was far better and preferable than what we are seeing now.

It is all about power for power sake without any benefit for the people and for Nigeria at large. I am surprised APC government can’t swear in Bello as purported governor of Kogi State. It can never stand.

I call on General Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) not to swear-in a governor without deputy.

Governorship is not something you pick up on the road whereby you will just go to a street to pick a deputy. As long as Bello had no deputy as at the time he was presented as candidate, he cannot be sworn in as governor. That is illegality.


‘There is no anxiety about that’ -MUIZ BANIRE

muiz banireIs it constitutional for Yahaya Bello to be sworn-in as Kogi State governor on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, since Hon. James Faleke has refused to be his deputy?

There is no anxiety about that (Bello being sworn-in without a deputy governor) as Boni Haruna (the former governor of Adamawa State) was sworn-in then without a deputy.


‘The party and tribunal has verdict’”-TUNBE BRAIMOH

Is it constitutional for Yahaya Bello to be sworn-in as Kogi State governor on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, since Hon. James Faleke has refused to be his deputy?

The constitution prescribes that a governorship candidate should run with a deputy. In a situation where there is no deputy governorship candidate running with the governor now, is he legally qualified to assume governorship. I don’t think he is. But if we are to follow what the chairman of the party, Chief Oyegun said, Mr. James Faleke is the deputy-governorship candidate of the man. But because he has gone to the tribunal to challenge the emergence of Bello, he cannot lay claim to the seat now. If he succeeds at the tribunal, he will become the substantive governor. If he fails at the tribunal, he may now take up his position as the deputy governor.

But he has categorically said he does not want to be Bello’s deputy.

It is one thing to resign your appointment in your place of work and it is another thing for your employer to accept that letter of resignation.

The process of the resignation is not complete if your employer does not accept your resignation.

For now, James Faleke is the deputy governorship candidate of Kogi State. If he wins in his quest to become the governor, them he will be sworn-in as the substantive governor. If not, he comes back to his former position of deputy-governor.


‘The law court will decide’ -YUSUF ALLI (SAN)

Is it constitutional for Yahaya Bello to be sworn-in as Kogi State governor on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, since Hon. James Faleke has refused to be his deputy?

Because the matter is in court, I don’t want to run foul of the law of subjudice.

Since they are in court on all the issues, it is wrong legally to make comments about them.


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