Faleke’s Poor Judgement. By Abdulrazaq Magaji
James Abiodun Faleke was destined to be deputy governor of Kogi state. He would have been executing that office today. He is not. Poor Faleke! He has his poor judgment to blame. For now, the best trophy he gets for his misadventure in politics is former Kogi state APC deputy governorship candidate. Or, better still, Kogi state deputy governor that was not! No more, no less! This, certainly, is not a good epitaph for a politician who must have been surprised at the speed of his own rising political profile.
Pity it took Faleke this long to realise he is no more than the paper tiger he had always been! It is even pitiable that Faleke failed, in his political naivety, to realise that those who misled him by beating the weird drum to which he danced so weirdly were interested in their own agenda; not his. In his desperation, Faleke even went into an unholy alliance with former governor, Captain Idris Wada believing the diminutive aviator was working for him. But, Wada had other designs and could easily have upstaged Faleke were his case not as bad, if not worse, than that of Faleke.
Perhaps, Faleke was so fixated on and, strongly believed in the potency of Ifa to assist him to covet what was not his. Of course, Faleke must have thought Ifa gods were doing his bidding when his principal, Prince Abubakar Audu, died before he was declared governor last December. Alas, Ifa has proved, and tellingly too that, when the stress is placed on the last two alphabets, Faleke could also mean Ifa is deceitful or dishonest! The gods have played a fast one on Faleke! Were the gods angry?
Were they not, Faleke would have been more diplomatic in handling a ‘small matter’ instead of allowing it to blow into his face. His first diplomatic line of action was to have consulted with his benefactor and APC national leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu on the way forward. Faleke simply ignored Asiwaju Tinubu and chose to swim with new-found friends who knew nothing about and, contributed nothing to his emergence as running mate to Prince Audu. So painful and sad that Faleke simply allowed inexpedient counsel to abbreviate his rising political profile.
Contrary to attempts to give it a moral colouring, the Faleke case was purely legal which could not have taken any judge more than five minutes to throw out even if the complainant assembled the best legal brains around! Pertinent questions included: Had the APC candidate, Prince Audu, been declared governor at the time of his death? Were he still alive, would Prince Audu be referred to as governor-elect before the election was finally concluded on December 5? No! So, was there a valid deputy governor-elect to inherit a non-existent throne? No! And, do you have to be a lawyer to know these? Of course, not! So, what was the basis for all the hot air over a ‘small matter’?
For the benefit of fair play, right-thinking Nigerians reasoned that the death of Prince Audu provided an opportunity for the majority Igala to cede the governorship to Faleke, a minority Okun/ Kabba man to govern for the next four years before power reverts, no insults meant, to its rightful place in Igalaland! But, this would have been a moral issue that has no basis in law. And, this is why the APC did the right thing by nominating another minority, Yahaya Bello, to replace Prince Audu.
Faleke simply listened to wrong voices and surrounded himself with vultures and leeches who have now abandoned him. He might have consigned himself to political Siberia by filing to play his cards right.. It is hardly surprising that lawyers count prominent among the wrong voices that told Faleke to insist on a non-existent mandate. And their motive for pushing politically na�ve Faleke around is not because they were convinced Faleke had a valid case. And, by the way, wasn’t it the height of political naivety for Faleke to have teamed up with the son of late Prince Audu who clownishly saw the governorship as an inheritance?
If he has not done so already, Faleke should reach out to leaders of his party to indicate his willingness to work with Governor Yahaya Bello. While doing that, he should find a way to distance himself from vultures and leeches who did anything and everything to scuttle his inauguration as deputy governor last January. Faleke probably thought he was too big to be deputy governor, started acting in that direction and was egged on to what might turn out to be political oblivion. He was made to believe and, he too believed the lie, that he had outgrown the office of deputy governor.
What Faleke should do is to tutor himself about the reality of the shark-infested water of politics and outgrow the political naivety, almost bordering on bigheadedness, which is threatening to cut short a promising career in politics. Faleke was not destined to be governor of Kogi state. At least, not in 2016! And, with the odds stacked against him, there was no way the courts could have made him one! There would have been no question about Faleke being His Excellency today if election-related violence did not force the cancellation and postponement of balloting in some polling units. And slamming the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for declaring an inconclusive election begged the question.
Supporters and sympathizers of Faleke who trod this path argued that INEC acted somebody’s script of ‘robbing’ their man of victory by declaring the election inconclusive! Sure? With a difference of 41,000 votes between the two top candidates and undeclared 49,000 votes, INEC could have opened itself to serious accusations if it had declared Prince Audu. And, this is without prejudice to the fact that even then sitting governor, Idris Wada, knew he had no chance on earth of turning the table at the re-run.
But, wait a minute! Would those who slam INEC have acted similarly if the shoe was on the other foot? Confronted by a similar scenario, would the APC as a political party, have kept mum even if it knew it had no hope in hell of turning the table? Those who slam INEC make the whole episode more laughable because their position presupposed that late Prince Abubakar Audu, upon being declared governor-elect, was going to hand over to Faleke! Even if that was the intention, and Faleke knew it wasn’t, it is time he comported himself and soldier on.
Otherwise, he risks making the gods angrier after they benevolently cracked his nuts for him!