James Faleke, the supposed deputy governorship candidate, who ran on a joint ticket with late Abubakar Audu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had declined to be a deputy to Bello. Bello replaced Audu who died few hours before the election was declared inconclusive.
Speaking to the Guardian, Adetunji Fadairo (SAN) who described the situation as precarious, said the Nigeria’s 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.”
On his part, Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, a Lagos-based lawyer expressed shock that Bello was sworn in without a deputy.
According to him, the swearing in of a candidate without a deputy is against the constitution and electoral act.
He explained that Bello was not qualified because he did not participate in the governorship 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),” Adegboruwa said.
He stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should have conducted a new election.
Also speaking, Adetokunbo Mumini, a human rights and constitutional lawyer said: “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.”
Another Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Ogunlami Olumuyiwa Babatunde said the swearing in of Bello was novel development which the courts still need to pronounce on.
According to him, the constitution cannot provide for everything under the sun just like it did not envisage the death of Abubakar Audu who contested the election and was leading but died before the elections were concluded.
Chief Albert Akpomudje (SAN) believes the governor can be sworn in while the issue of his deputy can be sorted subsequently.