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Bello swears-in as new Kogi governor without deputy … I'll become governor before year end, says Faleke

By The Citizen
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The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the December 5, 2015 supplementary governorship election in Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, was inaugurated on Wednesday as the Kogi State governor without a deputy.

Mr. James Faleke, who was the running mate to the deceased APC Kogi State governorship candidate during the November 21 governorship election, Alhaji Abubakar Audu, did not show up at the ceremony at the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja, the state capital.

Faleke had refused to be Bello's deputy and had headed for the tribunal asking the court to declare him the governor of the state having been running mate to Audu who died on November 22, the day the election was declared inconclusive.

Bello who shed tears during his inauguration while recalling his mother's contributions to his growth in life after his father's death, also paid a glowing tribute to Audu, saying he would work with other stakeholders to immortalise him.

He promised to make health, security education and heavy investment in solid minerals the focus of his administration.

He also declared zero tolerance for corruption and impunity, adding that he would reform the civil service for efficient service delivery.

The newly inaugurated governor, who is 40, said he would also pay great attention to the provision of basic social amenities and security of lives and property in the state.

Bello said he would meet with all the relevant stakeholders with a view to ending the lingering strike embarked upon by workers in the state over their unpaid salaries.

He promised to do his best to gradually pay the four-month arrears as soon as possible.

The governor stated that he would run an exemplary, open and inclusive government. He urged the residents of the state to contribute their quota to the advancement of the state and the success of his administration.

Bello said, 'I belong to a generation that strongly believes in a complete departure from the way and manner public office is run. There is no greater evil than corruption, and nothing champions that more than impunity.

'Corruption and impunity make sure our people repeatedly arrive at a broken future and finally bereaved of success or the promised better life.'

Bello commended his predecessor, Idris Wada, for his cooperation which he noted led to a successful transition.

The governor, who solicited the cooperation of the people of the state to enable him to succeed, urged them to give him the benefit of the doubt and see the quick transformation of the state.

Earlier, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had urged the people of Kogi to accept the will of God.

He also appealed to the people of the state to give Bello total support.

The APC chairman promised that party at the national level would give Bello the required support and assistance to succeed.

Odigie-Oyegun said, 'I want to say with emphasis that Bello is a gift to Kogi State. I have interacted with him. He is a man who has the interest of the state at heart. Though he is young, he is sincere in his quest to transform the state.'

Meanwhile, Bello has appointed Mr. Onoja David as his Chief of Staff.

The governor also appointed Abdulkarim Abdulmalik as his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy and Kingsley Fanwo as his Chief Press Secretary. He stated that the appointments were with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, James Faleke, the running mate to the late governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, said he would be declared the governor of the state before the end of the year.

Faleke, who had been canvassing support to be declared Kogi governor, is currently at loggerheads with the leadership of the APC over the governorship seat of the state, following the sudden death of Audu on November 22, 2015.

After Audu's death and the declaration of the November 22, 2015 governorship election as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Bello was picked as the governorship candidate of the party for the December 5, 2015 supplementary election.

In a series of tweets on his official Twitter handle, Faleke said he did not go to court to stop Bello's inauguration because 'he (Bello) will be sent out soon'.

He said those who were morally corrupt cannot continue to lead the APC.

He said, 'Those who are morally corrupt cannot continue to lead a party of change. The leadership of the party (APC) must be changed to assist President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver on his programme of rescuing the country. Moral corruption is condemnable.

'Today, a governor has been inaugurated in Kogi State. We did not go to court to stop his inauguration because we know he will be sent out soon. I was told that the master of ceremonies at the inauguration said the people voted for Audu but that their god voted for Bello. Our God is a God of justice.

'Those who have moral problems, those who cannot turn their eyes away from financial inducement will always have problem relating with people. Today, our supporters might not feel free to walk in the Lugard House but before the end of the year, we will occupy the seat of power.'

Faleke, who is currently representing the Ikeja federal constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, said he had confidence in the judiciary to declare him as the duly elected governor of the state.

He said he had nothing against the Ebira people but the process that produced Bello as governor.

'This tough road we are passing through is to set a standard for the upcoming generation. We must be able to stand for the truth at all times,' he added.

In an interview monitored on Channels Television on Wednesday, Faleke said that he was never consulted before being declared the deputy governor by the APC.

He said, 'He (Bello) has never shared his vision with me, unlike my late boss, (Audu), who called me to share his vision and made me to buy into his vision. There is no point becoming a deputy governor having convincingly won as governor.' - Punch.