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Faleke: ‘The Worst Corruption Is A Corrupted Judgement’
- By: Maktoub Magazine
- August 5, 2016
ON THURSDAY AUGUST 04, THE COURT OF APPEAL SITTING IN ABUJA DISMISSED HON. JAMES ABIODUN FALEKE’S MOTION TO UNSEAT GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO OF KOGI STATE. MAKTOUB MAGAZINE HAD AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HIM AT HIS ABUJA RESIDENCE. HE DISCUSSED WITH US THE DISCREPANCIES TRAILING THE VERDICT AND HIS ASSURED VICTORY IN THE SUPREME COURT.
BUDGET PADDING SCANDAL ROCKING THE FEDERAL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The issue of budget padding in the House has nothing to do with maligning the party – All Progressives Congress (APC) or President Muhammed Buhari. This is more or less like an individual vendetta, and it is not all members of the House of Representatives. The accuser, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin has directed his accusation to about four or five people, now twelve or so according to his petition. I have not seen the names of these people but I totally believe that it is quite unfortunate.
We need to reform our budget process. Henceforth, no budget of the Nigerian government will be passed by the two national assemblies without seeing the details. Before now, we have always passed the summaries. Budget must be open to every member so this kind of issues either right or wrong does not come up again. As a whole, I am not happy that I belong to this session of the assembly that has the problem. I’m sure that so many of our members are also not happy.
With Jibrin’s statement that somebody has N3.5 billion or he himself has N4 billion, it is an insult to some of us. That is my only worry. As to whether the budget was padded or not padded, until I see the fact before I can make my final comment.
On a final note, I will appeal to both parties to sheathe their sword and stop fighting on the pages of newspaper. It is not good for our country. Everybody has a right to air his views but we need to look inward and find a way to see who is responsible for what and why? This cannot be swept under the carpet.
REACTION TO THE JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT OF APPEAL
The judgement of the Court of Appeal has brought to the fore where we are as a country. As far as I am concerned, I have no problem with the judiciary. It is the interference of the outsiders that I have concern with and I have made it very clear and told Mr President that he must warn his ministers and those around him using his name to torment and harass the judges and to say it was President Buhari that sent them to do it.
When you look at the publication made by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami on June 5th in the Nation newspaper and the judgement of the tribunal on June 6th was just like copying what Malami said on the 5th and read it out on the 6th. And this is the same thing that is being carried over to the Appeal Court.
The court today moved a bit away from what the tribunal said. Appeal Court said the ticket between late Abubakar Audu and myself is a joint ticket which is inseparable. They also recognised the fact that I have locus standi; they also dismissed the objection by the defendant to say that I filed out of time. At least they made these three pronouncements. You will also agree that the death of Audu has nothing to do with the inconclusiveness of the election, and we made it very clear to the Appeal Court that our representation was perfect.
The 91 polling units where elections were cancelled had 49,000 registered voters. Of this, only 38,000 collected Permanent voters Card (PVC) and are eligible to vote. Section 2 (2) of INE’s guideline says if you don’t have PVC you cannot be accredited neither can you vote. Our initial argument was that not all the 38,000 will come out to vote. We were leading with over 41,000 and even if we gave the entire 38,000 votes to the PDP that had 199,000 against our 240,000 there was no way we wouldn’t have beaten them. This is our position that we won that election on the 21st of November 2015 but the Appeal Court says INEC was right to declare it inconclusive. That is their judgement in their wisdom. We are challenging it in the Supreme Court.
On August 4th, four cases were taken by the Court of Appeal, our own case, PDP vs APC and Yahaya Bello, Labour Party and ADC. Same Judges treated these cases. In the PDP case, one of the five Judges had a dissented judgment. He said Yahaya Bello was not qualified because he didn’t take part in all the processes of the election and so the election is thereby nullified and to be rerun in 90 days but that same Judge didn’t do that in our own case which is similar to that of the PDP. He agreed. So you see some contradictions. A Judge of the Appeal Court saying because I didn’t take part in primaries that is why the judgement is against me.
The constitution states clearly that only the Governors or the Principals are supposed to take part in primary and the Governor will nominate a candidate. I have not seen in this country where running mate to Governorship candidate took part in primaries. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo did not take part in the primaries; former President Goodluk Jonathan did not partake in the primaries when he was running mate to late President Musa Yar’Adua. These are some of the issues that we expect that Supreme Court will address.
ALLEGED BACKING OF NATIONAL LEADER OF THE APC ASIWAJU BOLA TINUBU
What business has he got to do with that? I am Asiwaju’s boy and I have no regret at all. I am very proud to be associated with him because he has brought me up and taught me how to play good politics for the people. He is a man of the people and nobody can take that away from him. It is not an offence to have someone you value or appreciate. If something happens in PDP, they say it is Asiwaju; if something happens in somebody’s house they will say it is Asiwaju; what is happening now in the House of Representatives they say it is Asiwaju just because of his mass popularity.
If Asiwaju is involved do they think they can be pushing me round like this? The silence from him is because I told him I want to fight this case myself. I need to follow the law. Asiwaju is not the lawyer; he is not the judge, why should I pull him to my side? If Asiwaju is interested and part of this case they will not be dealing with me the way I’m being dealt with. So leave the gentleman out.
If President Muhammed Buhari is coming today to fight corruption, the worst corruption is a corrupted judgement. As far as I’m concerned, when a Judge sees that this is the law and he or she moves away from that law and interprets wrongly, that Judge should be prosecuted thereafter. We will propose amendment on the floor of the National Assembly – when Justices intentionally deviate from the law and when that judgement is upturned by the higher court, that Judge or those Judges should be prosecuted because the way our laws must be done must be without fear or favour. They swore to defend the constitution and the moment they deviate from the constitution like they did today, those Judges should be brought to question. I will write my own personal petition to the National Judicial Commission (NJC) to see if these Judges were right. The only place left for a common man is the judiciary. And so if the judiciary is not there for a common man, then where are we going? Any Judge that believes he or she is tired of saying the truth on the bench, he or she should retire.
ELECTORAL ACT THAT BACKED HON. FALEKE’S NOMINATION AS RUNNING MATE TO LATE PRINCE ABUBAKAR AUDU
The Electoral Act says a person cannot be nominated in more than one place at the same time in one election. In other words, as at the time of the 2015 general election, I ran for the Ikeja Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives. If within that same time the Governorship election was taking place in Kogi and they nominated me as deputy governor, I have breached the law. But this one is not like that. What it says is that you cannot be nominated by more than one or two parties at the same time. I had concluded the House of Representatives election, sworn in and months after the Kogi election came up.
Yahaya Bello didn’t transfer his PVC from Abuja to Kogi. We presented all this to the Tribunal and the Appeal Court and yet the Judges said they do not have substantial evidence. What other evidence do they want? They brought the voters register in Okenne where he is from, specifically his ward and Bello’s name is not on the registered voters. His own crown witness who is his Chief of Staff, came into the tribunal and stated clearly to the court that the request to transfer Yahaya’s voters card from Abuja to Kogi wasn’t done and so he didn’t register in Kogi neither did he vote. Section 141 of the Electoral Act clearly stated that you must take part in all the electoral processes.
WHAT HOPE DO YOU HAVE IN THE SUPREME COURT?
I am very hopeful that the Supreme Court will do justice.
ALLEGATIONS OF USING THE FEDERAL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO FIGHT BACK
This is the unfortunate information that is being peddled by Yahaya Bello and his cohorts. Let me state this clearly, I was not on the floor each time such things came up. The issues with Kogi State House of Assembly have been in existence since the administration of former Governor Idris Wada. Yahaya Bello inherited the problem of leadership of Kogi State House of Assembly. When Yahaya Bello came on board, he called the members of the state assembly to his house and dictated to them who he wants to be speaker and the people disagreed, told him he has no such powers. Yahaya Bello threatened they should not allow him use the enormous power he has and I learnt one of them replied him: ‘Oga, you can use your enormous power but this one you have no power.’
All over the country, Governors have interest in candidates and they will canvass the other colleagues to go to the floor and do it willingly. Not by force, not by coercing. See what happened in Edo recently. The female Speaker of the house voluntarily stepped down for another person to take over. What Bello needed do was to have done that voluntarily but he didn’t do that and the 15 of them were angry and came to meet the leadership of the House of Representatives and complained. The House then set up a panel to go and meet Yahaya Bello and they met him and brought back their report. It was their report that the House acted on.
Yahaya Bello’s group went to court and the court dismissed their case in favour of the 15 members. So what has that got to do with me? They should just do the right thing.
HAS THERE BEEN ANY DEVELOPMENT IN KOGI STATE SINCE THE ASSUMPTION OF YAHAYA BELLO AS GOVERNOR?
I think the greatest achievement he has done is the embezzlement of Kogi’s fund – fraud, as detailed in the Leadership, Pilot and Nation newspaper of August 03, 2016. Complete fraud! You received bail out yet salaries are not fully paid but the money is finished. You received federal allocations to the tune of N20 Billion, not even a drainage is done; he didn’t dig one borehole. Money is finished and you owing workers about seven months. The greatest achievement is embezzlement of the fund.
If he says he has popularity, let him step down voluntarily and contest election. He will not even win in his local government, Okenne.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO’S APPOINTMENT OF PDP MEMBERS
Yahaya Bello collected N100 Million from former Governor Idris Wada, reason Wada is angry with Bello. Having collected money from Wada, Yahaya Bello worked against APC, he mobilised people to vote against APC. Now at the same time, Wada is now challenging him so it is an irony of fate.
The leadership of APC Kogi State wrote to the National Secretariat, detailed one after the other each member Bello had appointed and told them the party they belong to. Of the over 30 people Yahaya Bello has appointed so far, maybe only one or two belong to the APC.
WORDS FOR GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO
Well, I will need to tell you that the Appeal Court has just given you another sixty days, so do what is right. I know strongly that he will go. He should do something that is right within the next sixty days so that when he eventually leaves, people can point to one thing that he has done.
I want to also appeal to our people to remain steadfast and peaceful. They should not take laws into their hands. Kogi will be great.
RECKON WITH PRESIDENT MUHAMMED BUHARI
I have nothing against President Muhammed Buhari because he can never interfere with the judiciary. He is a man of principle and law that is why he fought his own case to the Supreme Court thrice when he lost his own election.
For me, what we did prior to 2015 Presidential Election is because we believe in our party – APC, and candidate. Revelations so far has shown that the level of corruption and stealing that occurred in the last administration would have amount to a grave error if PDP had won the 2015 presidential election.
SHOULD NIGERIANS STILL BE HOPEFUL OF CHANGE?
Change we preached but change can never come overnight. It is not magic and I think we should give kudos to President Muhammed Buhari. He concentrated fighting insecurity and corruption and today we are better off. He has said that the best approach to this economy is through diversification. We need to go back to the farms and that is why he banned the importation of rice.
Today rice is being grown in all the states that have the capacity to do that. Anambra State is now bagging their rice and selling for N9000. We knew that we have Abakaliki rice but not patronised. Even Kogi State can produce the rice that can feed Nigerians but Yahaya Bello does not know this and has done no research to that effect. We have two to three local governments in Kogi State that can produce enough rice for Nigeria.
I must say that President Buhari needs better economic management team to tinker with the present economic situation and put the economy aright. I commend some of those whom he has but they need to do proper reform for this country to move forward. While President Buhari is fighting corruption, he should also look at the economy and see how it can be better off.
ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR AS HON. MEMBER REPRESENTING IKEJA FEDERAL CONSTITUENY
I have never had a representation so good. This is the first time in the history of Ikeja that a candidate is being voted twice; I am the first to break the jinx of representing Ikeja constituency twice in the House of Representatives. This is because of my performances during my first term.
I was able to create employment opportunities for about 34 members of my constituency, I was able to construct about nine boreholes, we did a lot of empowerment programmes, a lot of family support programmes, my motions such as construction of overhead bridges in Onilegeremu which is done now. At the same time we have a lot of motions on Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Lagos-Ibadan Express road which affects directly Ikeja Constituency, and currently under construction. What is important is that I’m able to bring the leadership of Ikeja together as one family, no division.
SOCIAL LIFE: HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO RELAX?
I relax at home; I am not a social person. I hardly party. When I’m free I am home watching television and reading magazines or newspapers and resting. My wife and kids are doing fine.