The All Progressives Congress (APC) has adopted Yahaya Bello as its candidate in the December 5 supplementary election in Kogi State
Mr Bello replaces Abubakar Audu who died before the governorship election in Kogi State was concluded on November 21.
Bello was the first runner up in the primary election in which the late Audu emerged as candidate. He came a distant second.
Audu died November 22, just as he was declared winner in majority of local government areas, ahead of incumbent Governor Idris Wada.
Votes from some areas were however cancelled, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared the election inconclusive on grounds that the margin of win between Mr. Audu and the Mr. Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, was less than number registered voters in the 91 polling units where election was cancelled.
The commission also directed the APC to replace its late candidate for a supplementary election slated for December 5.
Just yesterday, The deputy director of information of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Nick Dazang, said that the APC sent the name of Mr. Bello as replacement for Mr. Audu in the supplementary election.
“The party has sent the name of its replacement candidate, the second runner-up in their primaries, that is Yahaya Bello, to the commission,” Mr. Dazang said.
The running mate to the late Audu, James Faleke, disagreed with the choice of the APC and threatened court action.
He stormed out of Monday’s meeting of APC leaders at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, in protest of the decision.
Mr Faleke had vowed to reclaim the mandate of the people of the state given freely to the APC during the election, insisting that he should take over as the governorship candidate of the party.
He argued that INEC erred in declaring the election inconclusive as the number of accredited voters who have permanent voter’s cards in the 91 polling units is 25,000 – less than the margin of win which is 41,000 votes.
He asked that he be declared governor-elect in two letters to INEC and APC.
In Abuja, supporters of James Faleke and Yahaya Bello clashed at the party’s secretariat
The face-off between supporters of Bello and Faleke followed the early morning realignment of forces between Faleke and supporters of Mohammed Audu, son of the late candidate. At the end of talks between the two groups in Audu’s, GRA, Lokoja house, yesterday morning, they resolved to project Faleke as candidate and Mohammed Audu as running mate.
The violence broke out when Bello arrived the party secretariat but was greeted with chants from supporters of Faleke who chanted “Faleke – Mohammed our choice.” The chant provoked a response from supporters of Bello who on their part started to chant ‘Yahaya Bello is the man.’ It was in the ensuing melee that supporters of both men started hurling harsh abusive language and subsequently, missiles at one another.
They were restrained after the arrival of more policemen who were able to separate them.
The party’s National Working Committee members, reporters and visitors at the secretariat were held hostage by feuding youths.
In the midst of all this, another law suit has been filed. This one is coming from the runner up in the governorship election and current governor of the state, Captain Idris Wada. The case is to begin today. Wada, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is seeking accelerated hearing in a Federal High Court, Abuja to stop INEC, from going ahead with the scheduled supplementary election this weekend and to declare him winner of the election.