Kogi State now officially has a new Governor in the person of Alhaji Yahaya Bello of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was sworn in yesterday, Wednesday January 27, 2016.
The historic event took place at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja, the state capital. The new governor was sworn in by the Chief Judge of the state, Nasir Ajana, who administered the oath of office and that of allegiance on him.
Bello, who was sworn in without a deputy due to James Abiodun Faleke’s refusal to fill the post, signed the oath of office at the Lokoja’s new stadium at exactly 12:05pm.
James Faleke, deputy governor-elect of Kogi state stuck to his decision to shun the swearing-in ceremony, even though he was originally planned to be announced as the deputy governor.
Faleke was the running mate in the November 21, 2015, elections in the state, where he stood with the late Prince Audu Abubakar on the platform of the APC, and was chosen as Bello’s running mate after Audu’s sudden death but refused to occupy the position insisting that he should be sworn in as governor instead.
Two attempts to stop the ceremony by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) had been aborted by the Election Tribunal on Monday , clearing the way for the swearing in of the governor elect.
This is the first time in Nigeria’s political history that an elected governor would be inaugurated without a deputy, just as Prince Audu’s death was also the first time in the country’s history, a governorship candidate died before the conclusion of an election.
Faleke, whose case is before the election tribunal asking it to declare him governor-elect, in a statement released by his media aide, Duro Meseko today described the plan to announce him as the deputy governor as “mischievous.”
“I want to bring to the attention of Nigerians, plans to call me out to take oath of allegiance as Deputy Governor to Yahaya Bello today in Lokoja since it is the Deputy that takes oath first.
“The script is to announce my name for oath taking at least three times after which they would declare that the Deputy Governor-elect has absconded, but would be sworn in at a later date. They would now go ahead to swear in Bello as the Governor.
“Let me make it very clear to the good people of Kogi State and Nigerians in general that I am not the Deputy to Yahaya Bello and will therefore, not be present today (Wednesday) at his inauguration.
“I had made my position abundantly clear to my party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC ) that I will not serve as Deputy to Bello, neither would I participate in the December 5, 2015 Supplementary election,” he added.
He was quoted to have tweeted earlier today saying;
“The plan at the inauguration of the supplementary Governor today at the Stadium in Lokoja will be to first call my name several times and after which it will be seen as if I declined and the judge will then move on to call Yahaya Bello for inauguration.
“Let it be known that I was never the running mate to Yahaya Bello and INEC had accepted the fact in its reply to my petition. I urge all our supporters to remain calm as justice will prevail. God is the greatest and He gives power and take it at anytime.”
“What is happening in Kogi State is a rape on our democracy and I want the international community to take note.
“I will not disappoint Prince Abubakar Audu. I, James Abiodun Faleke will not be there for the swearing in if we don’t finish the case before the January 27, 2016.
“Nobody consulted me before making me a deputy to Bello. Bello too did not consult me. I have made my position known to the party leadership on this. I am not ready to betray and disappoint Prince Abubakar Audu,” he said at a meeting of APC stakeholders from Kogi West Senatorial District on Monday, December 7.
The APC said it was ready with contingency plans to resolve the Faleke issue and part of the plan may be to pretend that Faleke is still the deputy governor-elect and declare him as such at the ceremony in Lokoja today.
In a later tweet, Faleke accused the APC leadership of being ‘morally corrupt’:
“The leadership of the party must be changed to assist the President deliver on his programs of rescuing the country. Moral corruption is worst. Those who are morally corrupt cannot continue to lead a party of change in our country.”