Kogi State on Wednesday made another unusual history as its fourth democratically elected governor, Yahaya Bello, was sworn in without a deputy.
The man nominated by the All Progressives Congress to be Mr. Bello’s deputy, James Faleke, made real his threat not to present himself for swearing in with the governor.
He was conspicuously absent at Wednesday’s ceremony, and no replacement was announced at the event.
The legal implication of that arrangement remained unclear Wednesday.
It is the first time in Nigeria’s political history that an elected governor would be inaugurated without a deputy.
The North-Central state had made another history late last year when a leading governorship candidate, Abubakar Audu, died before its governorship election is concluded, throwing the state into what appeared a constitutional logjam.
On Wednesday, Mr. Bello was inaugurated amid pomp and ceremony by the Chief Judge of the state, Nasir Ajana, who administered the oath of office and that of allegiance on him.
Mr. Bello was picked by the All Progressives Congress to replace its late candidate, Mr. Audu.
Mr. Faleke objected to the party’s decision and approached the election tribunal in the state asking it to declare him 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.
Mr. Faleke has repeatedly claimed that he was not consulted or taken into confidence by anyone regarding the choice of Mr. Bello as Mr. Audu’s replacement.
He was also quoted in various reports as expressing suspicion that the party was planning to announce his replacement on the grounds that he absconded from Wednesday’s inauguration.
Those attending Wednesday’s inauguration include the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun as well as the governor of Nasarawa state and the Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, was represented by Kabir Gaya, a senator and former governor of Kano.
The Senator representing Kogi East, Dino Melaye, who gave the welcome address, said Wednesday’s inauguration was historic because “a minority is now the governor of Kogi state”.
He pledged that Mr. Bello would not disappoint the people of the state and called on all aggrieved people to unite and cooperate with the new governor for the sake of Kogi state.