- Dangles carrot of ‘deputy gov cum commissioner’ to Faleke
- PDP still to challenge Bello’s victory
Fresh details have emerged of how the All Progressives Congress intends to broker peace between the Kogi State Governorelect, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and his estranged deputy, Chief James Faleke, as the clock ticks toward the February 27 inauguration of the duo.
Faleke, in a rage over the unfavourable outcome of his aspiration to succeed his late principal, Prince Abubakar Audu, had threatened never to show up for swearing in as deputy governor to Bello, whom he described as a usurper.
The party had picked Bello to replace Audu, who died while the results of the November 21 governorship election were still being computed. The party hinged its resolve to pick Bello on the logic that since he placed second during the primary election duly witnessed by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, he deserved to step in as the governorship candidate.
But this did not go down well with Faleke, who insisted that as the man who shared a joint ticket with the late Audu, he should have stepped in. While the crisis raged, Audu’s first son, Mohammed, had lined up behind Faleke, as he was being propped to become the deputy governor if Faleke stepped in.
In addition, Faleke went to court, asking that he should be declared the governor-elect; but in a surprise verdict, the Abuja High Court, which was faced with five suits on the Kogi poll, declared that it lacked the jurisdiction to hear them. Instead, the judge put all the cases in a basket and referred them to the election petition tribunal, once it is set up.
FRESH PEACE MOVES
However, as the whole country awaits the impending political drama on February 24, 2016, when a governor could be sworn in without his deputy, President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly called on the leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to resolve the dispute between Bello and Faleke.
A source close to the Bourdilion, Lagos home of Tinubu told our correspondent that “President Buhari told Oga (Tinubu) in clear terms that the APC must not be disgraced on the inauguration day at Lokoja.”
The source, who craved anonymity, added that “Buhari knows it is only Tinubu who can bring both Bello and Faleke together and work for the progress of Kogi State, and that is why he told him, ‘Asiwaju, why are you there? Please, we must not be disgraced before the PDP people; both the governor and his deputy must be sworn in the same day, and they must work together in love.’”
THE WAY OUT
To that end, Tinubu reportedly contacted the APC national leadership to constitute a reconciliation committee, which in turn directed the Kogi State leadership of the party to effect. In line with the directive, however, the Kogi State Chairman of the party, Mr. Haddy Ametuo, confirmed to newsmen at a public forum in Lokoja that names of the reconciliation committee members would soon be made public.
Ametuo said, “The late Audu’s death should unite Kogites, which he stood for, and I want to call on Hon. James Faleke to accept this as an act of God, so that together, we can build the state.
“I want to assure Faleke and all Kogites that the governor-elect is a gentleman that would never contemplate harming anybody for political reasons. So, Faleke should be free, being a member of the Kogi State political family.”
CONDITIONS FOR SETTLEMENT
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