APC Picks Yahaya Bello As Audu’s Replacement

APC Picks Yahaya Bello As Audu’s Replacement

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has picked Yahaya Bello as the party’s new candidate for the Kogi governorship supplementary poll, The Nation Reports.

APC Picks Yahaya Bello As Audu’s Replacement
Yahaya Bello and Audu Abubakar


The choice of Bello as the party’s new candidate for the December 5 supplementary election in the state was reached after extensive consultations among leaders of the party yesterday, November 27.

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The party has also retained James Abiodun Faleke as the party’s deputy governorship candidate.

The campaign organisation of the late Kogi state governorship candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Audu, who died last weekend after leading the poll with 41,000 votes, was preparing the ground for the selection of the deceased’s son, Mohammed, as a replacement for his father.

However, the decision to overlook Mohammed Audu was reached because the party felt fielding him might truncate their chances in the coming election.

It is not yet certain if Abiodun Faleke will accept being Bello’s running mate as some groups are reportedly pressuring him to reject the nomination.

In a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through his counsel Wale Olanipekun, Faleke yesterday, November 27, had asked the INEC to declare him as the governor-elect, following Audu’s death.

According to The Guardian, the content of the letter specified that: “Assuming without conceding that INEC is even right to order a supplementary election, the votes already cast, counted and declared on Saturday, 25th November 2015, were votes for the joint constitutional ticket of Prince Abubakar Audu and our client. Therefore, no new or ‘supplementary’ candidate can hijack, aggregate, appropriate or inherit the said votes.”

Speaking on the choice of Bello as the party’s new candidate, a top source in the APC told The Nation that: “Our leaders met and after consultations reached a conclusion on the choice of Yahaya Bello from Kogi Central as the party’s governorship candidate to substitute the late Prince Abubakar Audu.

“The leaders arrived at the conclusion because Bello was second to Audu at the validly conducted governorship primaries of the party. Instead of running into crisis with fresh primaries, the party opted to dust up the result of the previous one which was witnessed by INEC.

“A letter, signed by the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on the choice of Bello has been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday.”

On why Bello was favoured above Faleke, he said: “Our leaders bought into the idea that Faleke is strange to the politics of the state, having had most of his political career in Lagos. They felt it is better for him to learn the ropes in the state before becoming a governor.

“They also argued that the choice of Bello will ensure power shift in the state and since the Ebiras were behind Audu, it won’t be difficult to foster understanding between Kogi East and Kogi Central Senatorial Districts.

“Do not forget that Kogi East had already produced the minister from the state.

“Another important factor is that some of the 91 polling units where elections were cancelled are in Kogi Central, and it will be easier to mobilize the electorate in the district to get the required votes to defeat the PDP candidate, Governor Idris Wada.

“There was also some conspiracy behind the refusal of the ticket for Faleke. Some presidency forces stamped their feet that he must not be allowed to step into Audu’s shoes because of internal power struggles in APC.

READ ALSO: Abubakar Audu's Death Curious - PDP

“I won’t give you names but the forces were more powerful than Oyegun and other NWC members," he added

Elaborating on why Mohammed Audu was overlooked, the source said: “Our leaders were guided by Section 141 of the Electoral Act. If we choose him, the entire election will be voided.

“The section says: ‘An election tribunal or court shall not under any circumstance declare any person a winner at an election in which such a person has not fully participated in all the stages of such election.

“We love the Audus but we cannot take such a big risk. If Wada and PDP go to court, they will win against Mohammed Audu.”

Meanwhile, the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow the APC to substitute a candidate in the middle of an election.

The party said such decision was not provided for by the Nigerian constitution and electoral act, adding that the APC has crashed out of the governorship election following the death of its candidate, Audu Abubakar, and has no valid candidate in the election.

Source: Legit.ng

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