By Kingsley Fanwo

THE governorship election in Kogi may have come and gone but the bells of ripples have kept reverberating to the discomfort of the party that has won the governorship election, the All Progressives Congress, APC

The political dogfight between the contending camps has continued to build around the need for power and the need to avoid losing out completely in the ensuing melodrama that has enveloped the state since the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu, the APC governorship standard bearer before the supplementary election.

The camps and their jokers

Yahaya Bello

Alhaji Yahaya Bello was chosen by the APC to replace Audu Abubakar in the supplementary poll because he came second in the party’s August 29 primaries.  The APC hierarchy favoured him to replace Audu ahead of Hon James Abiodun Faleke, who was Audu’s running mate  because Faleke was not part of the governorship primaries.

To maintain his foothold after being declared as governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of which he will be given the certfifcate of return today, Bello is said to have launched serious reconciliation moves to placate Faleke into maintaining his status quo as his running mate and by extension, the Deputy Governor-Elect.

Power shift agitation

Pundits frowned at any attempt at scuttling the status quo, a situation which may plunge the state into insecurity quagmire. The actions of the Okun leaders, who are insisting that Faleke should be governor is considered a betrayal of the power shift agitation by the Kogi Central people.

Abiodun Faleke

Faleke and Bello
Faleke and Bello

As it stands, Hon. Abiodun Faleke is currently facing a number of battles legally and politically. The Lagos State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has approached a Lagos High Court to ask if it was constitutional for a person to lay claims to two constituencies at the same time.

While Faleke was a governorship running mate in Kogi, he was still holding his office as House of Representatives member representing Ikeja II Constituency of Lagos.

On the other front, Faleke is to be battling unyieldingly against the decision to declare Yahaya Bello, first as replacement to the late Prince Abubakar Audu and later as Governor-Elect. To the Ekinrin Adde- born politician, he was the right person to replace Audu. Faleke also alleged that INEC erred by declaring the November 21 governorship election inconclusive. According to him, the election was won and lost on November 21 and he was already a deputy governor-elect to Prince Audu before the latter’s death.

This week, Faleke told a group of Okun leaders that he won’t make himself available for the January 27, 2016 handover ceremonies because the December 5 supplementary poll that produced Bello, according to him, was an illegal exercise.

If Faleke makes real his threat of boycotting the swearing in, he will be rolling the state into another round of constitutional crisis.

A close friend of Faleke, who craved anonymity told Vanguard that Faleke’s fears may be beyond playing second fiddle to Yahaya Bello.

“Faleke is a gentleman and should not be seen as someone fighting his party. His fears are beyond being deputy to Yahaya Bello. He doesn’t believe the emergence of Bello will survive legal hurdles and he is being mindful of losing everything.

“What if he submits himself for the swearing in on January 27 2016 and APC loses at the tribunal? Remember, he would have resigned his membership of the House of Representatives. What we are telling him is to fight on in court and refuse to make himself available for swearing in.

“However, nothing is yet decided. There is intense pressure on him to save the party from further embarrassment. The whole problem was a creation of Audu’s death”.

Wada’s hope

While addressing PDP stakeholders at Government House, Lokoja on Tuesday, Kogi State Governor, Capt Idris Wada expressed confidence that he was sure of securing victory at the tribunal. The governor carpeted INEC for transferring the late Audu’s votes to Yahaya Bello, saying INEC’s decision has no constitutional legs.

As indications point, Wada may file his case before the Governorship Tribunal in the next few days. What the governor is harping on is that Audu’s votes died with him and he is demanding to be declared the governor-elect.

The APC Angle

However, indications emerged yesterday that the National Working Committee, NWC of the APC may convene an emergency meeting over the weekend to take a decisive step over the Kogi impasse.

Sources told Vanguard that the party may gag Faleke from speaking to the press while it works around critical stakeholders in the logjam.

A member of theNWC told Vanguard on condition of anonymity that it has become imperative to find a decisive solution to the wind of war within the party.

He said: “The Kogi impasse has continued to embarrass the leadership of the party. We are fashioning out a lasting solution to the problem. While Faleke has continued to overheat the crisis with his press war, Bello has continued to act with restraints. We are hopeful that the two of them will work together. To start with, there must be press ceasefire.

“We would love to meet only the PDP at the tribunal. It won’t augur well for APC to be divided on this issue. We urgently need to put our house in order”.

However, political bookmakers are already predicting a long legal journey ahead which may navigate to the Supreme Court.



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