…..Faleke’s decision will deepen democracy – Hon. Duro Meseko
By Kingsley Fanwo
A human right activist, Mr. Emmanuel Owotunse has taken a swipe at Hon. James Faleke for approaching the tribunal over the choice of Alh. Yahaya Bello as the choice of the party to replace late Prince Abubakar Audu, saying Faleke’s action was an affront to the authority of the party.
Speaking with Vanguard in Lokoja, Monday, Owotunse said the action of the party was based on the fact that Yahaya Bello was the most constitutionally qualified to replace the late Audu.
He said: “Faleke is taking too many wrong steps. His lawyers are surely misleading him into taking decisions that will burn his political fingers. Going to the party os tantamount to declaring war against his own party and that may not augur well for his political future.
“Moreso, the fact that Faleke is a close ally of the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is raising concerns that the decision of Faleke to go to the tribunal may affect party cohesion as the National Working Committee will surely be disappointed by the new twist in the whole saga.
“I am not happy that Faleke is giving a wrong impression of himself. He set out to be Deputy Governor ab initio. Why and when did he become desperate to be the governor of the state? If the party gave him the ticket for the supplementary poll, the tribunal would have nullified his election because he never took part in the governorship primaries. Is he indirectly working for the emergence of PDP?
“Faleke should beware of political jobbers around him who are reaping bountifully from his wrong steps. He should accept the position of his party and move on with his political life”.
Conversely, the Director of Media and Publicity of Audu/Faleke Campaign Organization, Hon. Duro Meseko said the decision of Faleke to approach the tribunal is testimony of his belief in the rule of law.
“The decision of Hon. Abiodun Faleke to approach the tribunal to reclaim the mandate freely given to him by the Kogi people is borne out of his respect for the rule of law and constitutional authorities.
“Section 179 sub-section 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stipulates the conditions to be met before being declared Governor-Elect. To us, those conditions were met by the November 21 poll and there was no need for a supplementary poll.
“It was an error on the part of INEC to have called for the substitution of candidate when they should have declared Faleke the Governor-Elect.
“We are not going to allow this rape of democracy be institutionalized as we are sure of securing victory at the tribunal”.
The former House of Representatives member urged Faleke’s supporters to remain calm even in the face of provocation, saying the law was capable of doing justice to their petition.
Hon. Abiodun Faleke today, file his case at the Election Petitions Tribunal handling petitions arising from the recently concluded Kogi governorship poll. He was accompanied by party chieftains, prominent among whom is Alh. Isah Jibrin Echocho.