Kogi: What next after inauguration?
As all attention beams on today’s inauguration of a new government in Kogi State, Vanguard looks at the post-inauguration expectations in Confluence State.
By Kingsley Fanwo
Contending with electoral confusion
It is no more news that the unusual occurrence of losing a candidate before the end of the polls has no doubt thrown up an unusual legal challenge.
Could a James Faleke, who never participated in the primaries of the party have replaced his late boss in the supplementary poll? Can a living inherit the votes of the dead? Do the votes of the dead die with him? These and more are some of the questions to be answered by the tribunal.
The next nine months will no doubt test the efficiency of the judiciary as the Kogi scenario is the first of its kind.
Beyond the judiciary, it is expected that the Kogi case may pose further political engagements from the highest political ring as the different camps may go for the broke.
With Faleke seemingly losing all, the Tinubu camp may decide to fight back. Analysts are postulating a fierce political battle ahead.
A lawyer, who craved anonymity told Vanguard that he was afraid Faleke’s case may be thrown out on the ground of lacking “locus standi”. To him, Faleke was never a candidate in the election and may not have the right to challenge a process not involving him.
However, Faleke is also aware of his limitations, hence, he is restricting himself to the argument that the November 21 polls was won and lost and that there was no basis for supplementary polls.
The new political chemistry
The new page in Kogi politics is opening new political alliances with old wounds still aching.
During the governorship primaries, the bulk of Yahaya Bello’s votes came from some party members who had earlier defected to Accord Party after the alleged imposition of candidates by leaders of the party prior to the 2015 general election.
With the victory of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, many of the leaders of the party who defected to other parties are back in APC. The battle for supremacy between the two warring camps may test the political suavity of the new governor.
House of Assembly shake-up
With the emergence of Bello, the leadership of the Kogi State House of Assembly will surely be altered.
The political arrangement in the state is such that the positions of Governor, Deputy and Speaker are to be spread across the three Senatorial Districts of West, Central and East.
As it stands, the Speaker of the House of Assembly is from Kogi Central, same as the Governor-elect. The permutations in the state point to the Deputy Governor emerging from Kogi East, especially if Faleke makes real his threat to excuse himself from the inauguration.
In the above scenario, the Speaker will move to the West and the Deputy Speaker to the Central and Majority Leader to the East.
Already, Prince Yomi Kolawole is being touted as the next Speaker of the House, if he is able to extricate himself from his ties to some opponents of Bello.
In his stead, the House may settle for one of the members representing Yagba East and Yagba West, who are both members of the dominant party in the House.
Operating with minority membership in the House
The political consanguinity of the new governor will also be put to test by the fact that his All Progressives Congress is a minority in the House.
However, the governor’s spin doctors are working round the legislators to ensure a robust and cordial engagement with the rival legislators.
Analysts believe the governor may need to heavily lobby opposition legislators to get them on his side.
Pundits believe Kogites will begin to put the new governor on the spotlight from his first day in office.
Alh. Yahaya Adoza Bello is believed to be ready to put himself right into the minds of the citizenry by addressing the issues of salaries and infrastructures.
The governor may also need to appease the Kogi East people through policies and programmes that will guarantee them security under the new arrangement.
To insiders, this is not the best of jobs. But to Bello, fixing Kogi is a task that must be faced.