If I were Abiodun Faleke, I would head straight to the court. Now that the APC has finally won the guber poll in Kogi State, what shall we say is the contribution of Yahaya Bello to the mere 7,000 votes cast last weekend for his party? Shall we say he contributed merely 7,000?
The INEC says the APC attracted 6,885 votes, while the PDP garnered 5,363 votes. I am not a mathematician, but in my naivety with numbers, it is clear that INEC has shown it knows neither maths nor common sense in Kogi State. If maths mattered to the INEC, its vice chancellor resident electoral officer should have declared the election conclusive.
Maths does not matter to the umpire here. Neither does philosophy or morality. It is either that INEC was morally compromised or mathematically naïve. Neither is excusable.
We will get to that point. But we must lift two critical fogs. One, how do we define number of registered voters? Some have argued that INEC was right to put off the election because the number of registered voters was about 49,000. That dwarfs the about 40,000 votes with which the Audu/Faleke ticket nudges out the Wada opponent. Therefore, it was only naturally right to order a supplementary poll.
But then we come to the question of PVC. Why has INEC not stated the number of PVC issued for this election? The argument that only the number of registered voters matters invalidates the PVCs. But if it is only with the PVCs we can determine a legal vote, then the PVC registration amounts to the authentic source of the number of registered voters.
Elections do not soar in the abstract. They are about people. They are about election campaigners who woo. They are about the voters who absorb agendas and decide with their ballots. In this dispensation, it is folly to refer to the old registered voters’ list when the PVCs are the ones that matter. If PVCs are not the authentic registered voters, then they are illegal. But since we have elected the president, governors, senators and house reps on PVCs, they are the bona fide documents of the vote.
If we go by that impregnable premise, then it was obvious that the PVCs were less than the 40,000 margin of the Audu/ Faleke ticket victory over Governor Wada. That makes the election conclusive and the supplementary poll superfluous. It was not only superfluous, it amounted to a big act of mischief, a disservice to the majesty of democracy and a violation of the principle of natural justice. That makes Bello a superflous candidate.
It is a shame that a party like the APC that prides itself on the change mantra can scoop out the worms of injustice already familiar to us. The worms of impunity. The worms of highhandedness. The worms of manipulation.
The other point refers to the constitution. If the constitution says a governor-elect will, at death, surrender to the deputy governor-elect, it implies that if the election was conclusive, Faleke automatically becomes the governor-elect.
This is an issue because some people do not want Faleke to be governor. It is not because they love the law. It is not because they want what they call party supremacy. It is simply because the presidency has decided to play the game of the aloof tyrant. The presidency acts as though not interested, but it has poured poison in the pool.
The party chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has shown himself a disgrace to the concept of leadership. In the Bayelsa APC primary, he also turned the contest into a farce of insular interests. He projected his selfish motives onto the grand stage of party principle. He was defeated by the simple logic of internal democracy he railed against. He needs to immerse himself in the literature of political shepherds, those who turned parties into arrowheads of social transformation. He is not alone, though, in this game of putrescence. The INEC will still have to explain itself to the court.
It has been reported that President Buhari did not want Audu as governor, and that explains why he did not go to Kogi to campaign for the ticket. So, the death of the APC candidate was a sort of morbid relief for Aso Rock. They did not want him dead. But how could they mourn whom they did not love? How could they shed tears for whom they did not want there, on the throne? So, as they would say privately, they did not kill him, providence did. That means providence had opened an avenue. It has compelled them to act now that the big elephant has fallen.
They decided to pick a candidate, who worked against the party. Yahaya Bello suddenly is benefiting from a fight in which he did not deliver a blow.
This is worse than even the providence of Jonathan. At least, the Otuoke man staked his powers in the election with Yar’adua. In this case, Bello was on the other side. They corralled him into favour. The presidency is rewarding the disgruntled, inspiring the rebel, saluting the ingrate, fanning the flames of the flouter of the principle of esprit de corps. With its hierarchy, it has applauded impunity.
It is an opportunistic logic shown here. It wanted the party to stay off in the Saraki matter. Now, we want party supremacy and the presidency is suddenly interested. Faleke comes from the Okun part and he is a Christian. Some in the party hierarchy believe this to be a double jeopardy. Was that not the case with Jonathan? Did Nigerians not embrace him until he fell far short of his pious promise? Why is the microcosm defying the larger canvas? On Kogi, we are highlighting the politics of hubris in the worship of the idols of tribes and faith.
Bello is, however, a true Nigerian. We love to reap where we did not sow, and later go to God and thank him for a miracle. There are many miracles celebrated in mosques and churches that the devil blames God for. Satan makes it happen, and God is given the credit. Lucifer must be very patient. Well, maybe the father of demons may even like it, and allow us the illusion of righteous reward. By attributing our dubious success to God, we continue in the path of flamboyant folly.
The Kogi State imbroglio was created by law and it will be resolved by law. Until the courts pronounce, let us keep mum. Bello may live for now in the borrowed robe of governor.