A clash is imminent Monday between Kogi State Acting Governor, Abdullahi Bello, and Idris Wada, who was elected governor of the state last December.
Following the Supreme Court’s sack of Ibrahim Idris as governor Friday, Mr. Bello was inaugurated as the state’s acting governor by Chief Judge Nasiru Ajana. But ousted governor, Mr. Idris, also got the the President of the State Customary Court of Appeal, Ibrahim Shuaibu, to, in another ceremony, swear in his annointed successor, Mr. Wada.
But federal authorities implementing the directives of the Attorney General of the federation, Mohammed Adoke, that the Assembly speaker should take over power, chased Mr. Wada away from the Kogi Government House and installed Mr. Bello as the state’s interim helsman.
However, Mr. Wada’s camp claimed Sunday the controversy over his assumption of office had been resolved, and that he would assume office in Lokoja on Monday.
Mr. Wada’s media advisor, Jacob Edi, claimed Vice President Namadi Sambo hosted the contending parties to a meeting Sunday night where it was agreed that the governor-elect should be allowed to take charge of the state. Those he claimed were at the meeting include the vice-president, the Kogi Speaker, party officials at national and state levels, and Mr. Adoke.
“Wada is commencing his four-year tenure on Monday,” Mr. Edi said on the telephone. “Everything has been resolved and stakeholders have agreed to move ahead in the interest of peace.”
But shortly after Mr. Edi spoke to us, the Kogi Speaker denied being part of any meeting in Abuja, saying he remained in charge of the state.
“As far as Kogi is concerned, the Speaker is in charge,” Mr. Bello said through his spokesperson, Ibrahim Amoka. “The Speaker was not part of any meeting. Today, we were in the Government House receiving visitors and holding meetings with security operatives.”
The police in Kogi also said Speaker Bello is the authentic helsman in the state. “The Speaker has taken over here in line with the Supreme Court judgment,” police spokesperson, Ajayi Okasanmi, told Premium Times. “I am not aware of any meeting or directive asking any other person to take over.”
The Supreme Court had on Friday removed Mr. Idris, along with four other governors from office, saying their tenures expired on May 29, 2011.
The other governors immediately handed over to the Speakers in their states. But it was not that simple in Kogi which already has a governor-elect in Mr. Wada.
While the Federal Government insists the Speaker should succeed Mr. Idris, the ousted governor believe Mr. Wada should take over. The intense power play led to two parallel swearing-in ceremonies in the state on Friday.