Legal Nigeria

Battle shifts to court as Bello is declared governor-elect

CONTROVERSY yesterday trailed the declaration of All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Alhaji Yahaya Bello as winner of Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
With the declaration, all is now set for the continuation of a legal tussle to determine the state’s next governor.
The Audu/Faleke Campaign Organisation, in a statement yesterday by its Director of Media, Duro Meseko in Lokoja, said the final results as declared by INEC vindicated its claims that the November 21 had already been won and should have been declared as such.
INEC declared the election inconclusive on November 22 to pave the way for a supplementary poll which held in 91 voting centres across 18 council areas on Saturday.
The  Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected the result and declared its candidate, Governor Idris Wada, the winner.
It described the supplementary election as a “complete waste of tax payers’ money”.
According to the Faleke/ Audu campaign statement, in the supplementary election’s final results declared by INEC, the APC polled 6,885 votes while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored 5,363, making a total of 12, 248 votes, a far-cry from the 49,353 registered voters which the INEC inform the declaration of the initial poll inconclusive.
It reads: “It is now crystal clear to everybody that the Kogi governorship election of November 21 was already won and lost before the strange supplementary election was introduced. We therefore urge our supporters to remain calm and steadfast while the law takes its rightful course.”
On its part, the PDP rejected the supplementary election and its results, vowing to challenge the outcome at the governorship election petition tribunal.
The party’s local Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yomi Ogunmola, said the APC candidate was declared winner of the election by the Returning Officer despite not scoring the highest number of votes.
His words: “The position of the party is that the election result is not acceptable and we will be approaching the tribunal for justice.”
According to Ogunmola, the PDP has a lot of grounds to challenge the outcome of the entire result.
He said: “There are lots of grounds but I can only tell you one. You heard when the returning officer said Yahaya Bello is the candidate with the majority of votes cast, but he is not. The majority of the votes cast belong to someone else.”
Asked who the person is, Ogunmola said: “Why not wait till we get to the bridge before crossing it.”
The governor-elect(Bello) called for calm, describing the APC as one big family and that there was bound to be misunderstanding among members of a family.
He promised to bring all those that are aggrieved together on assumption of office.
His words: “In a family, there is bound to be one misunderstanding or the other but if I assume the responsibility as governor of the state, I will ensure that all the aggrieved parties are brought together.
“Everybody would air their own grievances but we will make sure that everybody is carried along. To my brothers in other political parties, after politics, we have to settle for the business of governance because in our state, so much needed to be done. We would all sit at a roundtable and do the needful.”
The Nation