|Bello (right) signing a document, Kogi State’s Chief Justice, Nasiru Ajana|
… as Wada insists on rule of law
ANOTHER milestone albeit negatively was recorded yesterday in Nigeria’s political history when Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was sworn in as Governor of Kogi State without a deputy.
The deputy Governor-elect, Mr. James Faleke made good his threat not to present himself to be sworn in as deputy to Bello. He was conspicuously absent from the swearing in ceremony
Faleke had earlier on Wednesday described the inauguration of Bello as “a rape of democracy,” alleging that there were plans to “announce my name for oath taking at least three times after which they would declare that the deputy governor-elect has absconded”.
Faleke had condemned the choice of Bello as replacement for the late Prince Abubakar Audu, insisting that the party was supposed to have made him the governorship candidate following Audu’s death.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that initially protested the swearing in of Bello without a deputy had to calm down after their lawyers intervened on the grounds that as far as the law and INEC were concerned APC has a deputy governor-elect in Kogi.
“We protested and our lawyers told us that as far as the law is concerned that the APC has a deputy in Kogi because their deputy did not resign as the APC did not write to INEC that they don’t have a deputy …
That he refused to go for the swearing in does not mean that he is not the deputy. That is how the Law sees it.
“INEC said that as far as they are concerned, they have a deputy. APC did not tell INEC that they do not have a deputy so the party could not have proceeded and put anybody, if they have done that INEC would not have approved it. That is why only the governor was sworn in.
That is what our lawyers told us and that is what INEC and APC think. If the deputy did not turn up that is his business. As far as the law is concern, there is a deputy governor-elect and the APC did not come to say they do not have a deputy,” an official of PDP informed The Guardian.
Former Governor of Kogi, Capt. Idris Wada however maintained the course of peace, insisting that the swearing in was to ensure that there was no vacuum in the seat of government.
Mr. Phrank Shaibu, his former Chief Communications Manager told The Guardian that the swearing in had to take place in accordance with the declaration of Bello as governor-elect as well as to ensure that there was no vacuum in governance.
He stated that as a law-abiding citizen, Wada chose to go to the tribunal and keep to the constitutional provisions.
“For us, we are firm believers in the rule of law and we have already ventilated our grievances before the election tribunal. What happened today ordinarily is to ensure that there was no vacuum and the governor (Capt. Idris Wada) has constitutionally transmitted power to the person declared by INEC as Governor.
“We see ourselves as brothers; Kogi is bigger than each and every one of us, Yahaya Bello is our brother, but that does not mean we will not get what is constitutionally right for the people. Our presence at the tribunal is not about Yahaya Bello; it is about enriching Nigeria’s jurisprudence.”
With the inauguration of Bello as governor of Kogi State, the party has succeeded in recording three first unusual feet in the democratic history of Nigeria.
The merger of the APC happens to be the first successful fusion of four different political parties since Nigeria attained independence in 1960. It is also the first political party to defeat the ruling party at the centre while the inauguration of Bello without a deputy governor was another scenario that has never happened in the country.
Several interpretations have been given to the development where a governor was sworn in without a deputy. Some political pundits believe the inauguration of Bello under such a controversial circumstances was a further reflection of the internal wrangles and power struggle within he ranks and file of the leadership of the party.
Others were of the view that the development further portrays the political division between the South and the North where one does not want the other to have an edge politically and lastly that some elements within the party are bent on never wanting to allow anybody identified to be relatively close or loyal to the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, whose influence is considered intimidating to hold any relevant position, as Falake has been branded. Some have even said the development is a reflection of the power play within the APC ahead of 2019.
Bello was picked by the APC to replace its late governorship candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, who died the following day after the governorship election in Kogi. Audu’s running mate, Faleke has however objected to the party’s decision to use Bello and approached the election tribunal in the state asking it to declare him (Faleke) governor-elect.
He contended that the election had been won and lost before Mr. Audu died and that he (Faleke) should have been pronounced governor-elect.
He insisted that he was not consulted or taken into confidence by anyone regarding the choice of Bello as Audu’s replacement but the leadership of the party remained adamant to his plea.
Although, Faleke is said to have cried out that the party was planning to announce his replacement on the grounds that he absconded from the inauguration, the party however was silent on it.
Meanwhile a member of the party who did not want his name on print said the development was not too good for the future of the APC “It really portend danger and all the party involved must be pacified.”
Others were of the view that Bello did not support the APC during the election, as they claimed stressing that what happened yesterday was frightening.
Yahaya Bello’s profile
Bello was born on 18th June 1975 in Agassa, Okene Local Government, Kogi State to the family of Alhaji Bello Ipemida Ochi and Hajia Hawa Bello Oziohu.
He is the last of six siblings. He started his early education in 1984 in LGEA Primary School, Agassa in Okene LGA. He was made the class prefect from in his second year before being appointed as the Head Boy in class six due to the leadership qualities identified in him by his peers and teachers.
In 1989 he enrolled for College in Agassa Community Secondary School, Anyava, Agassa-Okene changed schools five times until he finally settled for Government Secondary School, Suleja-Niger State, where he sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) in 1994 where he recorded outstanding result.
He enrolled for ‘A’ level exams in Kaduna State Polytechnic Zaria in 1995 and proceeded to the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in 1996 to study accounting and graduated in 1999. He returned to ABU for his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from 2002 to 2004. Whilst pursuing his Masters he also enrolled for professional certification with the Association of National Accountant of Nigeria (ANAN) at Jos, to become a chattered fellow of ANAN in 2004.
He started his working career in 2001 when he was posted to Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) where he distinguished himself and was offered an appointment as Revenue Officer II. He was later promoted as an accountant and transferred to head the Makurdi Zonal office Account Department.
After heading several departments in the office he rose to the post of Assistant Chief Accountant. It is worthy of note to state that Bello has served meritoriously and contributed his quota to the development of his fatherland. Bello is married with children.
As a stockbroker, Bello applied his entrepreneurial skills, which enhanced him financial breakthrough right before the crash of the stock market. His stock portfolio investments cut across the oil and gas, finance, transportation, and agro related sectors.
His success in the stock business facilitate job opportunities for a number of unemployed graduates and youth particularly Kogi State indigenes.
He currently funds three orphanage homes and sponsors hundreds of Kogi State undergraduates in various higher institutions both within and outside the country.
He was instrumental to the formation of Kogi Youth Arise Group, which believes in positive change.