Abuja – Mr Edward Onoja, the Chief Strategic officer to Gov. Yahaya Bello during the Dec. 5 Kogi governorship election on Wednesday
said Mr James Faleke remained as running mate to the governor throughout the election.
Onoja, who is also the Chief of Staff to the governor, told the state Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja that there was never a time Faleke resigned the deputy governorship position to become an independent candidate.
Faleke, who insisted that the election of Gov. Bello is illegal, said that since he was Abubakar Audu’s running mate and not Bello, he should constitutionally step in after Audu’s death and be declared the governor of Kogi.
However, Onoja told the tribunal while being led in evidence by the Counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Ayotunde Ogunleye, that he was not aware that Faleke wrote to the leadership of the APC to withdraw his candidature as running mate to Gov. Bello before the election.
He also told the tribunal that he was not aware whether APC national leader wrote to the National Assembly of withdrawing Faleke as the running mate to Bello.
He added that “James Faleke did not resign his position before the election; he had always been the running mate throughout the election.
“INEC published the list of the candidates who contested the supplementary election, of which, Faleke was included as running mate.
“Faleke only ended up as deputy governorship candidate and never graduated to be governorship candidate,’’ Onoja said.
The witness also told the tribunal that he could not say whether Gov. Bello voted during the election or not.
According to the witness, what is contained in the ballot paper during the election is the name of the party and not the name of the candidates.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many documents were shown to the witness, which he admitted seeing some of them before, during and after the election.
NAN also reports that Counsel to Ex-governor Idris Wada, Mr Chris Uche, who recently closed his case after the ex-governor had given his testimony objected to some of the documents.
Uche said that his reason for objecting the documents would be given during the final addresses. (NAN)