The governor-elect of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has promised to hit the ground running as soon as he is sworn-in as governor of the state on January 27, saying his administration will reorganize the civil service to make contribute effectively to his economic plan for the state. He also promised ensure massive industrialization of Kogi State so as to create employment for the teeming populace in the state. He reiterated his determination to attract giant industries to the state to tap into the abundant resources and possibilities in the state.
The accountant-turned-politician identified solid minerals, agriculture and tourism as the key economic drivers that can take the state to the next level.
He said his administration will partner with investors to make the state a haven of industrialization.
Bello called for cooperation as he is ready to impact positively on the development of the state, pledging to liaise with the Federal Government to realize the potentials of the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Itakpe Iron Ore Company.
He promised to also harness the mineral potentials across the state to significantly improve the GDP of the state and its economy, saying his administration will be totally committed to implementing its blueprint for the development of education, healthcare and radical infrastructural development.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Sunday, formally declared Bello, the substitute governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as governor-elect of Kogi State. In the supplementary poll on Saturday, Bello won 6,885 votes to take APC’s unassailable lead to 247,742, while the incumbent governor, Idris Wada, got 5,363 votes, taking PDP’s total to 204,877. Declaring the results in Lokoja, the Chief Returning Officer for the election, Prof. Emmanuel Kucha, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, said having fulfilled all legal requirements, Alh. Yahaya Bello is declared winner of the election and Kogi Governor-Elect. Kucha declared: “That Yahaya Bello, having polled the highest number of votes and satisfied the law is hereby returned elected”.
On the fate of the party concerning the running mate to Yahaya Bello, INEC declared that James Abiodun Faleke is the deputy governor-elect.
Amina Zakari, the INEC national commissioner also declared that Faleke remained Bello’s deputy because his party, the APC, had not withdrawn his nomination even though he had written to the electoral umpire informing it of his intention to pull out of the race. “Unless the party withdraws a candidate, his letter is not enough, and unless the proper channel is followed which is through the party,” he said.
But the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, rejected Bello’s election. The party said it is “a waste of time, scarce national resources and ridiculous shadow-chasing”, the action of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in declaring Yahaya Bello, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who, it said, did not participate in the overall election, as Kogi State Governor-elect.
The PDP said INEC, in a “bid to satisfy the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Federal Government”, succeeded only in making a mockery of itself and the entire electoral process, by trying to illegally install an individual who, apart from not being a valid candidate, scored, under his name, a paltry 6885 vote in the so-called supplementary election as against the 204,877 votes polled by the PDP candidate, Governor Idris Wada, in the overall election.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement on Sunday said “the action of INEC in trying to transfer the votes earlier garnered by the dead APC candidate, Audu Abubakar, to another individual is completely impractical and alien to the nation’s Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
“The declaration by INEC that one Yahaya Bello polled the highest number of votes is an embarrassing travesty of the nation’s democracy and electoral process. Not only that this individual is not in any way a valid candidate in the election, he also did not score the overall votes declared against his name by INEC and cannot be declared winner under any circumstance within the provisions of our laws.
“The provisions of the constitution and the electoral act are clear to the effect that with the unfortunate death of Prince Abubakar Audu before the conclusion of the election, and the fact that the laws do not permit the replacement of candidates once the balloting has commenced, the APC crashed out of the race, leaving the PDP candidate, Governor Idris Wada as the clear winner, having garnered 204,877 votes to top all other contestants since, Prince Abubakar, the hitherto leading contestant died with his votes.
“It is therefore unfortunate that INEC disregarded the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act, which left it with no other legitimate option than to declare Governor Idris Wada the governor-elect. Instead, it went ahead to preside over a charade, for which it is now attempting to illicitly handover the vote cast for a dead man to another person, who did not participate in the overall election.
“We all, including INEC and the APC know that nothing other than declaring Governor Idris Wada winner of the election fulfils the requirements of the law under the circumstance. APC cannot have two candidates in one election and the bitter in-fighting within their fold shows the absurdity of INEC’s decision in that regard. Indeed, we remain shocked that INEC could elect to create such embarrassing and inciting setting just to show its ‘friendship’ with the ruling government.
“Our advise to the APC, Yahaya Bello and their co-travellers in illegality is that theirs is a mere pipe dream as Governor Wada remains validly elected within the dictates of our laws under the circumstance.
“Finally, we charge all our members and supporters to remain calm and resist all provocations from the APC, which is now seeking the opportunity to trigger violence in the face of their misfortune, especially as the law will soon take the centre stage, right the wrong created by INEC and declare Governor Wada winner.”