For the first time in the history of inaugurations in Nigeria, a governor was sworn-in in Kogi state on Wednesday without a deputy, as Yahaya Bello became the fourth democratically elected governor of the state.
James Faleke was the deputy governorship candidate of the late Abubakar Audu who had almost won the election before his death. He was nominated by the APC to maintain the number two seat on the Yahaya Bello ticket but he turned it down, choosing instead to challenge Bello’s nomination in court. He was not present at the inauguration on Wednesday.
Bello’s swearing-in and oath of office/allegiance taking was administered by the Chief Judge of the state, Nasir Ajana at about 11:59am.
In the hours leading to Wednesday’s inauguration, Faleke alleged that there was a plot to announce his name thrice as the deputy governor elect during the inauguration, and when he doesn’t show up, it will be announced that he ”absconded” and a replacement will be named later. He however reiterated that he was not going to be present as he was not the running mate or deputy governor elect to Bello.
Among the dignitaries at the inauguration were the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun as well as the governor of Nasarawa state and the Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu. The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, was represented by Kabir Gaya, a senator and former governor of Kano.
The Senator representing Kogi East, Dino Melaye, who gave the welcome address, said Wednesday’s inauguration was historic because “a minority is now the governor of Kogi state”. He said that Bello would not disappoint the people of the state and called on all aggrieved people to unite and cooperate with the new governor for the sake of Kogi state.
With Bello’s swearing-in without a deputy, the last Kogi election has further set precedence after the death of Abubakar Audu last year saw the state becoming the first in which a leading candidate in an election dies before the conclusion of the poll.