The Supreme Court decision yesterday to uphold the election of Yahaya Bello as the governor of Kogi State was being accepted with mixed feelings. That was not surprising given the heightened expectations of the competitive personalities. It was per se not surprising that in the victory that the governor urged his supporters against unrestrained celebration.
The judgment, however, sets the state on a remarkable beginning. For one it puts his major rival for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Representative, James Faleke in a legal cum moral quandary. moral quandary Faleke who is from the Kogi West senatorial District had till last year vie all his politics in Lagos State where he served as chairman of Ikeja local government area for 2 terms, and afterward moved on to represent the Ikeja Federal constituency in the House of Representatives following his nomination as running mate to Prince Abubakar Audu, Faleke had transferred his voting point from Ikeja, Lagos to Kogi State as a part of the factors to be fulfilled as a candidate in the election. With his loss in the court, political sources in Lokoja told Vanguard yesterday that Faleke was currently considering his future political path. A former associate told Vanguard yesterday that Faleke would really like to come back to city to pick up with his political career.
However, the constraint would mean again transferring his voting point back to Lagos, undisputedly raising an ethical issue after transferring it to Kogi less than a year ago. Even more, sources disclosed that Governor Bello is also disposed towards wooing Faleke in a way to bring harmony into the party that became apart after the primaries.
“The governor would want to offer Faleke a powerful role to play in the party and therefore the affairs of the government,” a source close to the governor said yesterday.
However, the feeling is that Faleke would wish to come back to Lagos. It was, of course, a problem last year when he was chosen as the candidate to Prince Abubakar Audu, the deceased former governor who won the ticket of the party in the APC governorship primary. Faleke, usually believed to have been an acolyte of the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had demonstrated his loyalty to the party throughout the crisis in the House of Representatives when he sided with those in support of party dominance in the selection of Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila; first as speaker and when it failed, as majority leader.
However, his fidelity to party dominance was questioned after he was unnoticed for Bello in the choice of a replacement for Audu after the latter demise in the course of the election last November. the selection of Bello was tough for Faleke as he and plenty of others at that time alleged that Bello had become indifferent to the party after he lost the primaries. The affirmation of Bello as the governor of Kogi State is, however, a serious development. he is not simply the youngest man to rule the state in the Fourth Republic, his election is also a systemic political shift that has removed the levers of power from the dominant Igala population in the state to the Igbira ethnic group found in the Kogi Central senatorial district, which ironically has the tiniest population of all 3 senatorial districts. it is also without doubt the end of the road for the main political powers that had dragged the case through the tribunal to the appeal court and subsequently to the Supreme Court.
Besides Faleke, it is also the top of the road for Former Governor Idris Wada who became governor as luck would have it in 2008 after the earlier candidate of the party; Alhaji Jibrin Isah Echocho fell out of favour with the penultimate governor of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris. Yesterday’s judgment puts the state on a threshold for the development that the state desires after many years of stunted growth. That is if the much promised savvy that the governor 1st came to power with is sustained and carried to completion. On the other hand, the state may be headed towards crisis if ethnic champions plan to fragment the state along ethnic lines, given the ascent to power of the first non-Igala governor. Bello was yesterday, however, looking beyond the problems with the hope of reshaping the state after the judicial affirmation of his position. Judicial affirmation while endorsing the judgment as the hand of God in the affairs of the state, the governor through his chief press secretary, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo said:
“The landmark judgment of the Supreme Court today that affirmed the election of Governor Yahaya Bello is a watershed in the annals of electoral jurisprudence and constitutional law in the country. it had been a long walk to success which will reshape our constitution of the nation.
“Governor Yahaya Bello had remained humble and magnanimous in victory. He has called on those that contended with him to join him in building a better Kogi State.
“The Governor has said the victory belongs to all Kogi people that believe in remodeling Kogi State from a potentially great State to a very great State. He is committed to serving the people and making the State the centre of excellence and the cynosure of all eyes”
SOURCE: Vanguard News