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Title: nigerian news paper

Kogi guber debacle No respite in sight yet By
EMMA ALOZIE / December 23, 2015 The victory of
APC in Kogi State governorship election is fast
turning into a huge headache for the party. With
James Faleke, who is supposed to be the deputy
governor elect turning down the offer and has
excused himself from being sworn-in alongside
Yahaya Bello, it seems there is no respite in
sight yet for the party, writes EMMA ALOZIE This
is perhaps the most challenging times for the
ruling All Progressives Congress, APC since its
victory in the 2015 general elections. Nothing
prepared the party for this little blip in its
chain of victories and this explains why the
party appears so vulnerable in trying to manage
the Kogi crisis before it degenerates to a full
blown war that may rob the party of its hard
earned victory in Kogi State. So far, the party
is enmeshed in war of words between the
leadership of the party and James Faleke, who is
not relenting in reclaiming what he feels is his
mandate from Yahaya Bello who the party settled
for after the death of Prince Abubakar Audu. The
National Chairman of APC, Chief John
Odigie-Oyegun has said the party was reaching
out to the aggrieved Faleke for him to see reason
on why he should put the party first. But,
Oyegun went further to say that where the peace
overtures fail, the party would be compelled to
replace Faleke. On the Falekes issue, it is
rather a straightforward and easy issue. We have
replaced a governorship candidate. If the need
arises and subject to what the law says we will
also get a deputy governorship candidate. We
will cross those bridges as they arise, but they
have not arisen.
Let me add that consultations to bring
everybody back on board are ongoing. What we are
saying is if all these fail, we are doing
everything as a party because of the
consciousness of the pain that Prince Audus
political family is going through. We are doing
everything to bend back and accommodate his
political family in the developing situation.
So, if we are able to strike a deal, a lot of
what we are talking here may be irrelevant. I
have had cause to say that we are a political
party, but we are in a humane period of change.
We deeply understand the frustrations that
resulted from the death of our candidate, Prince
Abubakar Audu. We are ready to bend to
accommodate some of the immediate reactions,
which are normal because the people involved are
humans. They were at the gate of victory and all
of a sudden, it was shut on their faces by the
unfortunate death of their mentor, who would have
been our governor. So, a lot of things which
normally would not have been accepted happened
and we are ready to bend to accommodate, so long
as we expect that everybody will simmer over
time because life has to continue. So, bringing
out the big stick in a situation like this is
difficult, but there will be a timeline to it.
They were at the gate of victory, but it was
shut on their faces because of the unfortunate
death of their mentor (Abubakar Audu), who would
have been our governor in the state. So a lot of
things, which normally we would not have
accepted, happened, but we have to accept them
so long that everybody will simmer down as time
passes by. Bringing out the big stick in a
situation like this may not be appropriate, but
there will be a timeline to it, enough will be
enough at a certain time. However, Faleke is not
bulging saying he would fight till his mandate is
restored. I will defend my rights under the
Constitution of Nigeria. About the peace deal you
are talking about, I do not know who the party
has contacted. The party has not contacted me. I
will still go ahead to pursue the matter at the
tribunal. Yes the matter is in court. I have my
right under the Constitution of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria to defend and I will defend
it, he said. This is just the tip of the iceberg
as regards the brewing intra-party crisis. Hon
James Faleke, Audus running mate and the person
the Audu camp is favourably disposed with his
succeeding the late Audu has written another
letter rejecting APCs adoption of Bello as
Audus replacement. In a letter he wrote through
his lawyer, Wole Olanipekun to the National
Chairman of the APC, Chief Odigie-Oyegun, Faleke
maintained he was not ready or prepared to trade
off or compromise his mandate as the
Governor-elect of Kogi State and does not want
to believe that he is being discriminated
against for whatever reason. This is the huge
headache of APC. There are many legal pitfalls
in this path being towed by the APC.
Many lawyers are worried on the insistence of
APC to revalidate a primary election that has
served its purpose. The question is when does a
party primary cease to be alive? A party
primary, whose purpose has been served by the
winner of that election, what then is the
legality of bringing it back to life? Some
prominent followers of the late Audu are hard
done with the imposition of Bello as Audus
replacement. They accuse him of betraying Audu
when he lost the party primaries. They accuse
him of working for the opposing PDP. What the
party is doing is not fair to Kogi East. Alhaji
Bello openly worked against the APC candidate in
the election. How can he now benefit from what he
worked against? Secondly, you cant have a
political solution that does not feature Kogi
East in the governorship. If you say Alhaji
Bello is the replacement, and you also say Hon
Faleke should be his deputy, what happens to
Kogi East that delivered a huge chunk of the
winning votes? Yes, the votes were for the APC,
but it was Prince Audus personality that won
those votes. Well take a legal step in this
matter, one of Audus men said. Meanwhile
sequel to the legal logjam occasioned by Audus
death, a Lagos based legal practitioner
Spourgeon Ataene, has called for total review of
Nigerians constitution and the electoral laws.
What we experienced after the death of APC
candidate in Kogis governorship election, is
the lacuna we have our constitution and electoral
laws, and this is an embarrassment to the
country. Nigeria is a country blessed with
intellectuals, why cant we have a constitution
that will stand the test of the time, at a
slight opportunity a lacuna will drag the
country back into disgrace and that is what we
experienced during late Audus death. Governorshi
p candidate emerged for all political parties,
and they cannot go to election without their
running mate, it is expected that every political
parties filled their candidates with their
running mates simultaneously, and in the event of
the demise of a candidate, the running mate
should automatically emerge as the candidate of
the party, he argued. News Source