Come Wednesday, January 27, 2016, history will be made in Kogi State in particular and in Nigeria in general. On the day, the youngest Nigerian governor for now, would be sworn-in as the governor of Kogi State.
Mr. Yahaya Bello, the governor-elect of Kogi State will be 42 when sworn in on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. But if Mr. Yahaya made history as the youngest governor in the country, will he also make history as the first governor to be sworn in without a deputy.
Because right now, his deputy-governor designate, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, has refused to be part of the Wednesday, January 27, 2016 sweating in ceremony.
Hon. Faleke, before the December 5, 2015 supplementary election had refused to be the running mate of Mr. Yahaya Bello.
Rather, he went to court to challenge the choice of Yahaya Bello as replacement to late Abubakar Audu, the former governor designate, who died on November 22, 2015, when he was leading in the election results released by INEC.
Hon. Faleke believed he, as Audu’s running mate should have been chosen as the party candidate in the supplementary election rather than Yahaya Bello.
When ENCOMIUM Weekly called Hon. James Abiodun Faleke to know whether he would be there on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, to be sworn in as deputy governor, he was rather evasive in his response.
This is how the interview with Hon. Faleke went:
We want to know sir, what will happen on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, when the new governor of the state would be sworn in?
What do you expect to happen?
We expect that you are the deputy-governor designate to be sworn in…
(Cuts in) Wait till that day.
But the rumour is that you will not be there and that was why you were invited by DSS officials. How far is this true, sir?
Mr. Tolani, I said you should wait toll that day. I am not God (who can see tomorrow). Let us wait till that day.
It is very doubtful if Hon. Faleke will be there to be sworn in on Wednesday, January 27, 2016.
Hon. Faleke, after Yahaya Bello was declared governor-elect of Kogi, had filed a petition, with Kogi State Election Petitions tribunal.
Among the reliefs sort by Faleke are:
- That election to the office of governor of Kogi State was already conducted, completed and concluded by INEC on November 21, 2015.
- That INEC decision and proclamation that the governorship election held in Kogi State on November 21, 2015, was inconclusive are unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, arbitrary, null and void, and ultra vires the power of INEC.
- That INEC was under a duty to declare and pronounce the winner of the concluded governorship election of Kogi State held on November 21, 2015, and make a return accordingly.
- That Yahaya Bello was not elected as governor of Kogi State by majority of lawful votes cast.
- That the return of Yahaya Bello by INEC on December 5, 2015, is unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, undemocratic, arbitrary, null and void, and ultra vires the power of INEC.
With Faleke’s petition still lying in the cabinet of the election petition tribunal office, it is certain he will not be there to be sworn in as the deputy governor to Yahaya Bello.
But as he said, let us wait and keep our fingers crossed till next week Wednesday.
- TOLANI ABATTI