26th January, 2016
I am writing this piece as Joe Igbokwe not as APC Publicity Secretary Lagos State. I am writing as an independent writer and a public commentator on national affairs. Please permit me to air my views before we swear in Alhaji Yahaya Bello who never won the governorship election in Kogi State. The System may have decided in their own wisdom to swear in Mr Bello but l want history to record that l saw a travesty and an aberration coming and raised an alarm. The alarm may be ignored but history which neither personal wealth nor power can circumvent will be my witness.
The truth here and nothing but the truth is that the late Chief Abubakar Audu/ James Abiodun Faleke won the November 21, 2015 Governorship election fair and square before Audu’s death in the early hours of Sunday, November 22, 2015. When the news filtered into the public space that Audu had died what the State INEC Returning Officer, Professor Emmanuel Kucha would have done was to do an urgent truthful and honest consultations, carry out a simple Arithmetic, check the number of registered voters, check the number of those with PVCs in 91 polling Units. The world was told that there were 49,000 Registered Voters in the remaining 91 polling Units and out of the 49,000 voters only 25,000 had PVCs. But the late Audu was leading with 41,000 votes. Assuming that all the 25,000 persons with PVCs voted for PDP, Abubakar Audu would still have beaten Governor Wada silly with 16,000 votes. This professor turned sound reasoning upside down by saying the election was inconclusive and ordered for supplementary election in the remaining 91 polling units. Now what was the result? Only about 10,000 votes were garnered in the futile exercise that wasted everybody’s precious gift of time, energy, money, strength and power.
Now a combination of ethnic politics, primordial sentiments, and fear of the unknown led APC Kogi and APC National to do the unthinkable by pushing Alhaji Bello who lost the primaries, and may not have supported the APC candidate in the course of the elections proper to steal the mandate won by Prince Audu and James Faleke in a keenly contested exercise fraught with excruciating pains, doubts, apprehension, anxiety, fatigue, panic and unease. What was their excuse? Faleke did not partake in the primaries. Now do Deputy Governors take part in Primaries? This is the absurdity that led to the emergence of an interloper and intruder, Alhaji Bello. After the travesty, I saw BELLO’s Family members singing and dancing the music titled ‘Na God Win’. No, No, our God is a God of justice and equity. You cannot reap where you did not sow. Another will not plant and another will harvest.
I rely like other eminent Lawyers in Nigeria who are not being economical with the truth on Section 181 (1)of the Constitution that says’ if a person duly elected as Governor dies before taking and subscribing the oath of allegiance and oath of office, or is unable for any reason whatsoever to be sworn in, the person elected with him as the deputy governor shall be sworn in as governor and he shall nominate a new deputy governor who shall be appointed by the governor with the approval of a simple majority of House of the Assembly of the state’ I rely on this because the election had been won and lost before Prince Audu died. This has been proved beyond reasonable doubts by the miserable outcome of the useless supplementary election. This is grave injustice and open stealing of another person’s mandate taking cover in a confusing and complicated document called the Electoral Act. They tell me in the human rights community that when a law structured in such a way that it will encourage injustice the law must be broken. In international jurisprudence they say it is better to set 1000 criminals free than to convict one innocent person.
The shenanigans and ethnic champions in Kogi State never bothered to think about the huge sacrifices and pains Prince Audu went through to win the election. They have not cared to remember that he went into elections with ill health and still managed to come out victorious through dint of hardwork though he died thereafter. Did any of these people bother to think about the family he left behind? What about what he expended in the course of the elections? Did Bello trasverse the length ad breadth of Kogi State canvassing for votes as did Audu and Faleke? Did Bello support APC during the election? What is going to happen in Kogi State on Wednesday January 27 2015 frightens me as an activist and believer in equity and social justice. It worries me to the marrows that there is deafening silence in town as if all the decent men and women who should speak out have suddenly lost their steam and voices. I am told that the truth that must be spoken never forgives silence. Evil triumph in any society when good men do nothing.
I know full well that the Supreme Court of Nigeria will do the needful when Faleke gets there in the fullness of time. Audu/Faleke got the majority of votes in Kogi governorship election and got the mandate to preside over the affairs in that state for four years. That Faleke refused to accept the poisoned chalice as deputy governor should serve as a signal to the interlopers and intruders in Kogi that Wednesday’s event is not the end of the matter. Those dancing the music ‘Na God Win’ are using the name of God in vain. They will dance ‘Our God Na God of Justice’ when the chips are down. James Faleke please go to sleep. You are the owner of the game when common sense returns even though common sense is not common. I rest my case.
—Igbokwe wrote from Lagos