Barring any last minute changes, the running mate to Governor Yahaya Bello in the November 16 governorship election, Edward Onoja, is set to be sworn in today as Kogi deputy governor, Daily Trust has gathered.
Informed sources told Daily Trust that Onoja would be screened by the Kogi State House Assembly and subsequently sworn in at the government house in Lokoja by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Nasiru Ajanah.
The emergence of Onoja as deputy governor and running mate to Governor Bello has been described by pundits as part of the strategy by the ruling party to further consolidate on its hold in the state ahead of the governorship election.
Onoja, who hails from Olamaboro LGA in Kogi East district, was before now, the Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello and one of the most influential figures in the present administration in the state.
In the build up to the 2015 governorship election, Edward Onoja served as Chief Strategist and Director-General, Campaign Organisation of Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
Meanwhile, the embattled deputy governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba, said he was treated like a common criminal moments after the State House of Assembly made its pronouncement about his removal.
Achuba, who narrated his ordeal while speaking to journalists at his private residence in Lokoja yesterday, said the state was fast degenerating into a “banana republic” where lawlessness reigned supreme.
According to him, moments after “the purported impeachment” by the state assembly, his security details were withdrawn and policemen thereafter barricaded his official residence in Lokoja keeping him under “house arrest”.
He said not quite long after, the power supply to his official residence was disconnected and that he tried to salvage the situation by asking his technician to put on the generator only for some “armed men” to storm the house and remove the battery leaving him in darkness.
Achuba said following the development and the emerging security concerns, he had to make arrangements to move out with few of his personal effects while all his vehicles parked in the residence were not allowed to be moved out.
“I don’t have access to them. We are living almost in a banana republic where those at the helm of affairs rule the people according to their will and nothing according to the law and oath of office they have taken.
“I was said to have been removed. While I was at home that day, they say there was a police vehicle by my gate. I asked what they were doing. They told me they were sent to barricade my gate. I said why and they said I have been removed.
“Nobody was allowed to come in and nobody was allowed to go out which means I am under house arrest. And you must have heard the commissioner of police who said he did so (because I read online too). That he asked the police to come to my house to protect my house and to avoid looting.
“Before this time, I didn’t know they have called my aide-de-camp and all the security personnel that were with me; they withdrew them. I was left bare without any protection and at the mercy of those he (CP) sent (whether they were policemen, I wouldn’t know). So, I had to lock my door and stay inside. After a while, my light was disconnected,” he said.
He described his impeachment as illegal and insisted he remains the deputy governor of the state, adding that any judge that presided over the swearing in of another deputy governor under the present circumstance would only be sanctioning illegality.
He called on the federal government and the entire nation to rise up to stop the “lawlessness playing out in Kogi” if the nation’s democracy and rule of law must thrive.
Achuba also called on the national leadership of his party, the APC, to weigh in on the situation, saying the current happenings portend a bad image for the party ahead of the November 16 governorship election.
He called on the Inspector General of Police to call the commissioner of police in Kogi State to order, alleging that his role in the state has not shown the professionalism expected of him.
Achuba, while applauding members of the judicial panel for standing for justice, expressed optimism in getting justice in the court.