For 40-year-old Yahaya Adoza Bello, the road to the Kogi State Government House was paved with lucky breaks. His fortuitous journey began with the death of Abubakar Audu who had already won a substantial part of the governorship election .
A crowd unprecedented in the annals of the state yesterday witnessed his swearing-in as governor at the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja, the state capital. He told the cheering crowd: “Like President Muhammadu Buhari, I belong to everyone and to no one.”
But a pall of litigation still hangs over him. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted to the inauguration, describing it as “a comical event organised by the APC for the swearing-in of one Yahaya Bello, a man who did not participate in the overall election, as Kogi State governor.”
The new governor who makes history of sorts having been inaugurated without a deputy and also being the first chief executive of the state to emerge from the minority Ebira , also promised equity and justice in governance, saying: “Though tribe and tongue may differ but in brotherhood we stand.”
He gave all credit for his becoming governor to God who “gives power to whom he desires ” and vowed to take after Buhari’s style of leadership with zero tolerance for corruption and impunity.
He eulogised the late Audu whom he described as a great leader that paved the way for the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the polls.
The governor who became emotional when he paid tribute to his late father, promised to carry everybody along, and work hand in hand with the judiciary and the legislature to deliver dividends of democracy to the people of the state.
His emergence from the minority group may have informed the large turnout of people who cheered enthusiastically as the Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajana administered the oath of office and while he read his inaugural address.
Bello’s inauguration marks the first time an Ebira from Central Senatorial zone will occupy the position, as hitherto, only the Igalas of the East Senatorial district had been holding sway since the creation of the state as the speaker of the House of Assembly, the chief judge and chairman of the APC, are all Ebira.
The PDP in a statement signed by its National Secretary, Prof. Adewale Oladipo said: “Yahaya Bello, who cannot claim the overall winning votes in the election is therefore a shadow-chasing passerby on an excursion in Kogi State Government House, since the so-called swearing-in ceremony, having no bearing from the votes at election is at best an APC function.
“The people of Kogi are aware that the man being paraded by the APC is not the person they exercised confidence in at the election as he scored a paltry 6885 vote in the so-called supplementary election as against the 204,877 votes polled by the PDP candidate, Alhaji Idris Wada in the overall election.
“ However, as a law-abiding party, we hereby urge our members and the people of Kogi State to remain calm and not despair over this slap on democracy as the courts would soon deliver justice with regard to the authentic governor with the mandate of the majority at the election.”
In his reaction to Bello’s inauguration, Faleke said what happened in Kogi was a coup against democracy and he was already in court and promised to pursue Bello’s election to a logical condition .
According to him, the only condition for him to settle out of court is for Bello to resign, as that is what the people want.