Kogi ready to inaugurate Bello amidst constitutional gaps
TODAY the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship elect, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, will take over as Kogi State Governor from outgoing Governor Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but the controversies that trailed his emergence as Governor-elect of the state has continued to take the shine off his inauguration.
The Transition and Inauguration committees have been working round the clock to make the event historic as the Election Tribunal had Monday thrown out the cases against his inauguration thereby setting the stage for the Inauguration on Wednesday.
The emergence of the Governor-elect is divine but his approach to righting the many abnormalities and setting the State on a new direction for development depended on his initiative and the peoples’ reception and cooperation with his administration.
The sad and unfortunate demise of Prince Abubakar Audu almost at the tale end of the November 21st Governorship election threw up Bello as the inheritor of the All Progressive Congresses (APC) almost-decided mandate. Though many legal minds have been interpreting the constitutional lacuna created by the death of Prince Audu, the APC candidate in the November 21st, Governorship election in the State at the verge of victory which was never envisaged by the constitution but the absence of a running mate even compounds the situation further.
The Governor-elect was chosen by his party to complete the electoral process which had been started by the Audu/Faleke Ticket however the same Faleke who was also chosen as running mate to Bello had refused to be part of the supplementary election and even the inauguration creating another serious lacuna.
Expectedly, it threw up some dust that is yet to settle within the APC and Kogi’s political environment as much litigation is already going on at the tribunal.
The controversy notwithstanding it is a known fact that nature abhors vacuum, as Bello’s emergence will fill that gap for the moment, the litigations at the tribunal not withstanding.
It is expected that he will continue to hold forth as long as the issues remain but leaders of the State are canvassing peoples’ support for the new administration for the purpose of recreating Kogi State.
There are a lot of problems bedeviling the State, which included a huge debt profile and a filthy State capital with heaps of refuse in many streets of Lokoja. However opinion leaders believe that with determination and the youthful advantage, Bello has the energy needed to uplift Kogi State and take it away from the depression that it is already facing, to a State where teachers and workers can earn their salaries as at when due.
So rather than allow the polity to continue to be heated up political analysts expect that the ruling party, should have been able to use its apparatus to bring the warring factions together.
Many opinion leaders and stakeholders who spoke to The Guardian on their position and expectations from the inauguration expressed optimism that the occasion would be peaceful, even the running mate to the late APC candidate Honourable James Abiodun Faleke told The Guardian in a telephone conversation in Lokoja that he was not against the inauguration adding that his disagreement with Bello’s emergence was based on principle.
His words, “I have nothing against his inauguration I have gone to court and we are waiting for the court to take a decision on our petition. As to the inauguration of Yahaya Bello I am not a constitutional Lawyer but two parties have taken him to court asking the tribunal to decide on whether he should be inaugurated or not so we wait for that on the issue of his not having a running mate.
“It is pertinent to note that one of those from his own senatorial district took him to court. I think everybody is fighting based on principles and so for me whatever the court says at the end, I know this our case will end at the Supreme Court and that is why I am waiting for that to happen so that we can improve our judicial system in this country.”
Though Faleke stressed that he did not go to court to halt Bello’s inauguration, he admitted that he has a petition at the tribunal, which the Tribunal has power to look.
The candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Goodman Akwu said the Governor-elect was coming to fill the vacuum as a regent or a caretaker.
“Kogi will have a caretaker Governor for now, I am a lover of peace and it is important for everything to be done peacefully but justice must prevail. I wish the people well and they should remain calm and be law abiding and go about their lawful businesses for the APC caretaker to take over for a while pending the outcome of the Tribunal.”
Akwu advised Bello to remember God who knows why he has asked him to be the occupant of the office for the time being adding that he should not forget God in whatever he would do as the governor. “He should not see himself as a Demi god and it is not an opportunity for vengeance. As a young man he should not do what will remove the people’s confidence from our generation.”
For Enesi Ozigi, the Progressive Peoples Alliance candidate in the governorship election, there was nothing wrong with the inauguration, stating that since the outgoing Government has done a lot to ensure a peaceful handover, the new Government should follow suit by carrying everybody along to move the State forward.
“What we were accusing the old people of not doing rightly the young ones should not indulge in the same mistake. He should look out for how to move the State forward so that in the next few years they can look back and have a basis for comparison.
A former governorship aspirant who contested in the APC primaries alongside the Kogi governor-elect, Alhaji Sanusi Abubakar Sanusi Gamji said it was a historic inauguration because it was the first time after long years of agitation that an opportunity has come for another senatorial district to have a taste of power, adding: “The change we crave for is not all about change in leadership. It is about change in the quality of leadership.”
Mr Isiaq Ajibola, the former Managing Director of Media Trust Limited, who is on the team set up by the incoming governor to organise his inauguration, also buttressed what Gamji said. According to him, power shift agitation in Kogi State emanated from the doctrine of nationalist consciousness that one ethnic group or tribe in a state should not continue to dominate the leadership position of a state in a multi-ethic nation like Nigeria.
“I think this is the time for all Kogites to come together and build a very strong and sustainable virile State. This is an opportunity for us to come together from the three senatorial districts; we should see ourselves as one and cooperate with Bello to build a virile State.
“For the warring factions, I have always said it is a win win situation because the agitation for power shift was being clamoured by the people from the central and the west.”
He pointed out that the agitation for power shift had painted those from the east in negative light even when the power that
resided with them was not their own making.
His words: “The people from the Eastern flank have always had this moral burden of being accused of trying to hold onto power for eternity and I believe this is a very good relieve for them because what it means is that power has shifted to the other side and they would have a better sense of belonging.
“The people of the East would be able to say, well it was not that we did not want power to shift it was due to circumstances we could not control because they had always won election. I think this is the time for all the sides to come together as one people and live together in unity for the sake of the state.”
A Professor of political science with the University of Jos who hails from Kogi, Professor Sam Egwu, spoke to The Guardian saying: “I think Bello will hold forth as Kogi Governor for the main time. I do not think that election petition Tribunal has the power to stop inauguration, and I believe Bello will continue to be Governor until all the matters are resolved at the highest level of the courts which is the Supreme Court.”
He indicated that it was heart warming that all the parties to the political crises in Kogi State have gone to the courts to seek judicial remedy explaining that it was better than resorting to extra legal or extra constitutional means that may not augur well for the state.