James Faleke is set to be the very first minority governor of Kogi state

Following the death and burial of Abubakar Audu, former governor of Kogi state, Nigeria, the All Progressive Congress party (APC) members in Kogi state has thrown their weight behind James Faleke as the next in line for the position of governor.

When James Faleke was chosen by the party to be Audu’s deputy, there were criticisms based on the fact that Faleke’s entire political career was outside Kogi state, specifically in Lagos state. However, he is now faced with the prospect of becoming the first governor from Ekinrin – Idde, a town in Ijumu L.G.A. in the Western Senatorial District of Kogi. The minority ethnic group speaks a dialect generally referred to as Okun, widely spoken by the five local government areas that make up the Kogi West Senatorial District.

This is the first time the state has will have a governor or prospective governor from the Okun part of Kogi. If Faleke manages to scale through the challenges facing his emergence as governor, he would be the first of his people to do so.  The APC has stated they will support Faleke and the Treasurer, Kogi state APC, Hon. Adesayo Ismail told Ventures Africa that the Nigerian constitution mandates Faleke to take Audu’s place.

Section 181 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution says;

  1. (1) If a person duly elected as Governor dies before taking and subscribing the Oath of Allegiance and oath of office, or is unable for any reason whatsoever to be sworn in, the person elected with him as Deputy governor shall be sworn in as Governor and he shall nominate a new Deputy-Governor who shall be appointed by the Governor with the approval of a simple majority of the House of Assembly of the State.

James Faleke may emerge as governor once the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) settles the issue of the inconclusive election.

“The three major tribes co-existing in the state are not located in one geographical area. In Kogi East, we have the Idoma, Bassa, Ibaji and Igala people. In Kogi West, we have the Kakanda, Ebira koto and Okun Yoruba and in Kogi Central, we have the Ebira and Ogori”, says Hon. Ismail.

“Faleke’s emergence as governor will also be a record for the APC that power moved from the usual suspects to a different region. For the late Prince Audu, he made promises to Kogi Central and Kogi West that power will definitely move to the minority tribes. He was interested in the inclusion of all districts in the state. In fact, he made a commitment to shift power to the Western and Eastern regions of Kogi, once he had served his term. So we can say that Audu influenced the emergence of Faleke as a major power player in the state, representing the minority tribes.”

“It will be a good move, he not only speaks for the minority, Faleke has experience in terms of governance, especially as a House of Representatives member. He had a lot of tutelage under the late Audu, studying the terrain on how best to manage the people and handle issues bordering on non-payment of staff and concerning the current economic challenges. The party will be able to implement policies and programmes that will be beneficial to the people of Kogi state. Faleke will fulfil the manifesto of the late Prince Abubakar Audu, which was approved by the APC,” Hon. Ismail concluded.

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