The deputy governorship candidate, James Faleke who ran on a joint ticket with late Abubakar Audu had declined to be a deputy to Bello. Bello replaced Audu. In spite of his refusal, the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not appoint another person to replace him as the deputy till the inauguration yesterday. Reacting to the situation Mr. Adetunji Fadairo (SAN) said the situation is precarious. According to him, the constitution did not favour the swearing-in of governor without a deputy. He said: “If there is no deputy governorship candidate, I think there is a constitutional provision for somebody to act, probably the Speaker. I don’t think the governor is allowed to be sworn in without a deputy. Constitutionally, it is untidy.” Chief Albert Akpomudje (SAN) believes the governor represents the substance, saying it is only when the governorship candidate is not in place that there will be an issue. “The main man is there. It is only when he is not there that there can be serious issues. The governor can be sworn in while the issue of his deputy can be regularised subsequently”, he said. A human rights and constitutional lawyer, Adetokunbo Mumini said the constitution did not give any specific role to the deputy governor who is more or less like an appointee of the governor, adding, however, that there will be judicial intervention in the Kogi matter. “It has never happened before that a governor would be sworn in without a deputy. I think that what should have happened is that the APC should have appointed another deputy governor-elect immediately Faleke declined, so he would be sworn in together with the governor. That is what the law provides for.” To Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Ogunlami Olumuyiwa Babatunde, the inauguration of Bello as governor yesterday was a novel development which the courts still need to pronounce on‎. ‎ According to him: “It is a new development in our jurisprudence. Basically, what people should know is that the constitution cannot provide for everything under the sun just like the constitution never envisaged the death of former governor, Abubakar Audu who contested the election. He can appoint a deputy any moment from now, probably before the court makes pronouncement.” Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun Olu Adegboruwa said it was shocking that Bello was sworn in without a deputy. It is against the constitution and electoral act that a candidate is being sworn in without a deputy. And apart from that Bello is not qualified because he did not participate in the election. The votes that were cast in Kogi State were in favour of the late Audu and Faleke as such Bello cannot claim another person’s votes. I think it is high time to call leaders of APC, most especially in Kogi State to save us from any form anarchy. The best that could have been done was to conduct a new election and this is failure on the part of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).” Another lawyer, Charles Lambo said it is the INEC in Kogi State that has the power to declare Bello winner of election and issued a Certificate of Return. “As it is now only the Election Tribunal can act contrarily. Even if the election is going to be nullified, for now no one could have stopped his swearing-in.”]]>

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