Crisis Looms in Kogi as Yahaya Bello Shops for Deputy

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A major crisis may be looming in Kogi state as the All Progressive Congress (APC) governor -elect, Yahaya Bello seems unsettled over who to chose as his deputy ahead of Wednesday, January 27th inauguration date.

The tenure of Governor Idris Wada of the People’s Democratic Party will effectively expire on Wednesday when the new governor-elect  is expected to be sworn in as the governor of the state, but the governor elect and his party, the APC in the state are said to be at cross road on who to chose as the deputy governor.

A source close to the party told Daily Sun, that it will be a serious negation of  the Rule of Law and the constitutional provision for a governor to be sworn in without a deputy governor as this was a major ingredient required by democratic norms for an executive governor to be so recognized.

It was learnt that this crisis was fueled by the refusal of Hon James Faleke , the running mate to Prince Abubakar Audu in the November 21, 2015 governorship election to accept the position of deputy governor to Bello who was allegedly hand picked by the APC to replace Audu who died on Nov 22, 2015  when the election result was being collated.

Faleke who claimed he was not consulted before Bello was appointed as replacement to Audu had since headed judiciary where he urged the court to declare him as the governor -elect. The case is still subsisting.

At the last sitting of the tribunal, the chairman, Justice Halima Mohammed refused the application of the Labour Party urging it to grant an interlocutory injunction to restrain the swearing in of Bello on Wednesday on the ground that the motion was not properly filed while the tribunal had ordered the Bailiff to serve Bello who was alleged to be evasive by substituted means.

Already about six people are said to be lobbying to be appointed as deputy governor to Bello including Chief Clarence Olafemi, the former Speaker and acting governor in 2008 who hails from Mopa, the home town of the outgoing deputy governor Yomi Awoniyi. Mopa in the Western senatorial district has produced two deputy governors.

Also top of those lobbying for the plum job, is one Justina Abanida, a former commissioner for Justice who hails from Egbe also in the Western senatorial district of the state.

It was also learnt that one Dr Kole Bamisaiye, a staff in the National Assembly who hails from Ekirin adde, the home town of Faleke and one Barrister Tokunbo Asubiojo from Iffe -Ijumu and one one Kayode Olomo from Ponyan in Yagba East are also jostling for the position of the deputy governor.

But a top party source told Daily Sun, that Bello and the APC may have finally settled for Simon Achuba, a former deputy speaker in the House of Assembly who hails from Ibaji local government area of the state. Achuba was before now a member of PDP who was said to have worked seriously for Governor Wada at the last year governorship election.

Again, it was learnt that the outgoing governor Wada may not hand over the reins of government directly to Bello as it is being rumoured that he may have jetted out of the country before the swearing- in date.

A source at the government house said the governor may after all hand over the reins of government to the embattled Speaker of the House, Hon Momoh Jimoh who was last December removed by 15 of the 21 House members, but he is still being recognized as Speaker by the outgoing governor.

Both the governor elect and the Speaker are of the same Ebira tribal stock from the Central axis of the state.

Credit: The Sun

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