Former running mate to late Prince Abubakar Audu, Hon. James Faleke, yesterday, alleged before the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, that Governor Yahaya Bello, is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Faleke, who is laying claim to the Kogi State governorship seat, mounted the witness box yesterday to testify in support of the petition he lodged before the tribunal.
Led in evidence by his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Faleke adopted several statements on oath and documents which he filed in respect of the petition, as his evidence, and prayed the tribunal to accept them and declare him governor of the State.
He insisted before the tribunal that contrary to the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the November 21, 2015, governorship election in the state was conclusive with the winners known.
While being cross-examined by INEC lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, Faleke said he was not aware that governor Bello was a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“My lords, I am fully aware that Yahaya campaigned for the Peoples Democratic Party during the election”, he told the tribunal.
More so, the petitioner who equally joined the APC as a respondent to his petition, said he was not also aware that governor Bello contested primary election of the party with late Prince Audu.
Faleke said he was duly informed that Audu resounding won the primary contest, saying before the primary held, himself and others were sent out of the venue by the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai on the ground that they were not delegates.
Asked whether he was aware the November 21, 2016 election was inconclusive, the petitioner said the results were announced both at polling units ward collation centre and State collation centre.
He said votes were recorded for all participating candidates and parties, noting that the returning officer erroneous claimed that the over 49000 registered voters in 41 polling units that did not cast their votes were higher than the margin of votes scored by the APC.
Similarly, Faleke, while responding to a question by counsel to governor Bello, Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, maintained that at no point did he see himself as an independent candidate.
He said he was a loyal member of the APC who is only aggrieved by the action of the INEC.
Faleke told the tribunal that Audu died at about 8am and INEC declared the election inconclusive at about 4pm.
He contended that though he is currently representing Lagos state in the House of Representatives, the 1999 constitution allowed him to contest election in Kogi State, being an indigene of the state.
Meanwhile, the Justice Halima Mohammed-led three man panel tribunal has adjourned further hearing on the matter till today.
Specifically, Faleke went before the tribunal to challenge the refusal of INEC to declare him as the valid winner of the governorship election in Kogi State.
He is praying the tribunal to declare that INEC acted wrongly when it declared the outcome of the November 21 gubernatorial poll inconclusive.
Faleke who is currently representing Ikeja II Federal Constituency, Lagos, contended that the initial election had produced a winner in late Prince Audu, saying his death arrogates to him, the status of Governor-elect.
Insisting that he had a joint ticket with late Audu, Faleke argued that INEC should not have declared the election inconclusive since they had already secured enough votes to warrant the declaration of a winner on the basis of the total number of votes that were cast.