Newly sworn in Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, was all tears as he read his inaugural speech Wednesday just minutes after he took the oath of office as the fourth executive governor of the state.
Yahaya, who swore an oath of office at exactly 12 noon, wept when he recalled how he suffered as a young fatherless boy under a very poor mother and what he passed through growing up.
The oath was administered by Justice Nasiru Ajanah, the state Chief Judge and witnessed by a packed stadium which had top politicians, state governors and businessmen.
The governor said he had to make do with his elder brother who assumed the role of his father by taking care of him.
The governor said despite the anguish of young widowhood, his mother continued to trudge on by single handedly raising him and his siblings. It was at this point he couldn’t hold back his tears as he was overcome by emotion.
The governor, the youngest in the country at 41, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other top members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who played major roles in his emergence as governor.
He told the people of Kogi state that he remains responsible to them because they gave him their mandate.
He also said he stood on the principle of the celebrated statement of President Buhari: “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, adding that this would henceforth be his guiding principle.
“I hereby declare and affirm that Yahaya Bello administration will have zero tolerance for corruption,” he announced to a cheering audience at the event held in the stadium at Lokoja, the state capital.
He also promised that his government would use technology to fight corruption and block all leakages that had existed in the state.
While praising the late Prince Abubakar Audu, former candidate of the APC who died just hours after casting his votes, Governor Bello said: “the sudden death of Prince Abubakar Audu remains a great mystery and this administration will liaise with the state House of Assembly to immortalise him in different ways.”
The governor noted that the statistics of poverty in Kogi are not rosy and that as a result, his administration would take positive and decisive actions to rescue Kogi state.
He also promised that his administration would not fail because he has a blueprint, which is a sort of “marshall plan” to rebuild the state.
He said he will revive various sectors of the state including education and infrastructure with the aim of making the state a major destination.
On security, he said he knew the state was facing serious challenges of armed robbery and kidnapping, but that these would be tackled since he would soon be meeting with security chiefs in the state to come out with plans to stem insecurity.
Though successive administrations, according to Bello, have not done well and as a result, the people of Kogi state do not trust the government, he would do his best to win back the trust.
He promised to begin to pay staff of the state civil service who are currently being owed salaries for months.
“Change has come to Kogi State,” he declared.
In his speech earlier, the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said the governor’s emergence was God’s doing and that as humans, they had no choice than to accept it.
He described the new governor as ebullient, young and innovative, adding that Bello was a gift to the people of the state.
He said he could vouch for Bello because he worked closely with him in the last weeks leading to his inauguration.
Oyegun said the governor would return Kogi to its former pride of place among the states in the country and that the APC would give him all the needed support to be successful.
In their speeches, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and Governor Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, pleaded with politicians in the state to cooperate with Governor Bello to move the state forward since the election was over.tweet