The crisis over the Kogi State supplementary election has torn the All Progressives Congress (APC) apart as the running mate to the late Prince Abubakar Audu, Hon. James Faleke, Monday night turned down the deputy governorship slot.
Faleke, who is insisting that he should be declared governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, also withdrew from this Saturday’s supplementary election.
He made this known in a chat with journalists after hours of meeting with Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led APC National Working Committee (NWC).
Mr. Faleke, who was disappointed that the national leadership did not consult him before submitting the name of Yahaya Bello to the INEC as the governorship candidate in place of late Audu, vowed to challenge the party’s decision in court and expressed optimism that he would reclaim his mandate.
He said “The issue of Kogi State was paramount in the mind of national leaders, especially the National Chairman of our party that he wanted a solution to it.
“However, we met for about 2 hours as you have observed. Of course, we discovered that the meeting that we were invited for was just a mere briefing rather than it being where we could have deliberated and solve the quagmire we find ourselves in. We were only briefed about the position of the party.
“The party told us that we have nominated Alhaji Yahaya Bello. Of course, we made it clear as the political family of Prince Abubakar Audu. We told them that it is not acceptable. We will not go with it. I personally observed that my name has been submitted to the INEC as deputy governorship candidate to pair with Alhaji Bello. I told the National Chairman in clear words that ‘Mr. Chairman I have submitted a letter this morning (yesterday) distancing myself from that decision that on no ground will I want to be associated with the decision of the party to pair me with Alhaji Bello because I am already governor elect.
“I also told him, ‘Mr. Chairman for us as a family, Kogi State political family, we are not taking part in that election’. My name cannot be submitted because I was not even consulted in the first instance. The Governor-elect cannot yet become another deputy governorship candidate.
He added: “I want to make it very clear that Alhaji Bello did not take part in all our campaign process and we are only contesting election in 91 polling units out of about 2, 548. We have made it very clear that if they go ahead to conduct election because I have pulled out, that election would be challenged in the court of law. It will be null and void.
“We won’t be addressing you today (yesterday night) if the party, out of honour and the path of honour we championed, go to court and challenge the INEC. Mr. Chairman told us directly right away without considering it twice that the party will not go to court. Since the party will not go to court, we have taken it upon ourselves as our right to defend ourselves in court. We will challenge the decision”.
Those that attended Monday’s meeting held at the APC national secretariat aisde Faleke and Bello, were Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State who served as the chairman of the governorship primary election in Kogi State, Senators Mohammed Ohiare and Dino Melaye, and host of others.