The marathon legal battle which ensued as a result of the constitutional crisis that arose from the last gubernatorial election in kogi state is unprecedented and unique in our history as a country, state and a people. Kogi state became a constitutional “laboratory” of a sort following the death of a gubernatorial candidate just while votes are being collated and counted as this was never anticipated by the Nigerian Constitution. The fact that the last election was declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) further compounded the crisis.
The immediate past governor of the state Capt. Idris Wada, who was also a candidate at the election had faulted the resolution of INEC to go ahead with a supplementary election, praying the court to order the electoral body to go ahead and declare him the winner, since the candidate of the APC who was leading in that election had already died, even as Hon. James Faleke, who was the running mate to the late Prince Abubakar Audu had argued that his party, the APC was wrong to have bypassed him only to settle for Yahaya Bello as replacement for the late APC candidate.
The protracted litigation which almost threw the state into a theatre of chaos, with supporters of the different groups and parties chanting solidarity songs in anticipation of victory. The fragile peace of the most volatile and troubled spot in this country was almost stretched to its threshold. Unfortunately, the past few months of political and legal battle was not devoid of ethnic bigotry, tribal sentiments, clannish chauvinism and religious consideration. These has further divided the state which is gasping for breath and struggling to find its stand as a result of the hieght of high handedness and official corruption which characterized the long rule of the people democratic party PDP for the past couple of years.
Now that the Supreme Court judgment had come and gone, and the series of litigation is over. The reality of the day is that Kogi State has a governor, Alh.Yahaya Bello, whose tenure of office will come to end around January 2020. The implication of this is that no matter how aggrieved the parties or individuals who participated at the last general election are they all have to wait until the next election to do anything about it. Some persons or parties may be claiming victory while others are brooding their lose as a result of the supreme court judgment, the truth is that the litigation which has finally been laid to rest produced no victor, no vanquish. We all have emerged winners after all.
The Wada/Awoniyi group who also represents the PDP are winners, they have contributed their own quota towards strengthening our constitutional democracy by peacefully channeling their grievance through the law court. The Audu/Faleke group of the APC have emerged winners, by their resolution to follow through to the end in reclaiming what they believed to be theirs via the judiciary. This peaceful action of their’s through the judiciary have in no small measure added value to the nation’s electoral system and the law. The ultimate winners in all these are the entire Kogites at home and abroad.
To Governor Yahaya Bello and his team, your victory at the supreme court should put an end to politicking, character assassination, hooliganism, victimization, official rascality and all forms of bitterness and animosity in the state. Alhaji Yahaya Bello should now act as a father to all and accommodate diverse opinions and interests without religious, ethnic, tribal, clannish or political consideration. This is time for all of us to embrace each other and work together to move Kogi state to an enviable height in line with the “new direction” mantra of the present state government.
– Hussain Obaro, Lokoja.
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