Yahaya Bello has been sworn in as the executive governor of Kogi State.
No deputy was sworn in with him. James Faleke, running mate to the late Audu Abubakar was absent from the event. Faleke had been challenging the electoral decisions leading to the emergence of Bello as the flagbearer for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state’s supplementary guber elections.
Abubakar, a former governor of Kogi, died a day after elections last November. He was leading in the poll when his death was announced.
Bello took his oath of office at about 12 noon before the Kogi’s chief judge, Justice Nasiru Ajana.
Crowds turned out at the Lokoja Confluence Stadium to witness the event.
Faleke had earlier alleged that there would be an attempt to declare him absconded at the inauguration.
In a statement issued by Duro Meseko, the director of Media and Publicity of the Audu/Faleke Campaign Organisation, the lawmaker said there are attempts to ‘mischievously’ announce his name as deputy governor during the swearing-in ceremony of Bello.
“I want to bring to the attention of Nigerians plans to call me out to take oath of allegiance as Deputy Governor to Alhaji Yahaya Bello today in Lokoja since it is the Deputy that takes oath first. The mischievous 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 the Governor.”
“Let me make it very clear to the good people of Kogi State and Nigerians in general that I am not Deputy to Yahaya Bello and will therefore not be present today 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.”
“A strongly worded letter was written to the leadership of APC and INEC to back up my position. It is therefore the height of political mischief for anyone to attempt to call my name for oath taking at an inauguration ceremony they know I would not be present,” he said.