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Uncertainty in States as Outgoing Govs May Shun Successors’ Inauguration

Anxiety is mounting in some states across the country ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled swearing-in of new governors.

The states concerned are where the outgoing governors did not succeed in their desire for their preferred candidates to take over from them.

In this category are states like Oyo, Ogun, Imo, Zamfara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Gombe and Kwara.

In some of the affected states, there have been claims and counterclaims on alleged plans by the incumbent governors to frustrate the incoming administrations by either not cooperating with transition committees set up or by embarking on last-minute awards of contracts, appointments and employments.

In Ogun, the outgoing governor, Ibikunle Amosun, supported Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement ahead of the governorship election, but the outgoing member of the House of Representatives lost to the governor-elect, Dapo Abiodun.

Despite that Amosun and Abiodun belong to the same All Progressives Congress, they have not been on the same page even after the elections.

Abiodun and other prominent members of his faction of the APC were conspicuously absent when President Muhammadu Buhari visited the state on Saturday to inaugurate some projects executed by the outgoing administration.

A source told our correspondent that Amosun may not attend the Wednesday inauguration and may not personally hand over the reins of government to Abiodun.

The source said the outgoing governor may hand over to the state Head of Service or any other top government official who will in turn hand over to Abiodun on behalf of the administration.

When contacted on the telephone, Amosun’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Rotimi Durojaiye, was not categorical on whether the outgoing governor will attend Wednesday’s inauguration of his successor.

He however assured all stakeholders that Amosun would perform his constitutional responsibility accordingly.

“The governor will perform his constitutional responsibility accordingly,” Durojaiye simply said.

But the governor-elect said he would not be surprised if Amosun stayed away from the event.

Abiodun, who spoke through his media aide, Remmy Hassan, said the signs had been clear enough for people to see, hence he was not worried about Amosun’s possible absence.

He said, “The governor-elect is not worried at all, because the signs had been there before, during and after the elections.

“What will surprise the governor-elect is if the outgoing governor has a change of mind. But he will not be surprised at all if he doesn’t show up.

“We are prepared to get things done with or without the incumbent governor. That is the whole essence of the civil service. Government comes and government goes, those who are driving the system are those in the civil service.

“They have the records that will speak to issues whenever there is the need for such.”

In Oyo State, outgoing governor, Abiola Ajimobi supported the APC governorship candidate, Adebayo Adelabu, but the election was won by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Seyi Makinde.

The camps of both Ajimobi and Makinde have been engaging each other in war of words since the result of the election was declared.

Unlike in the case of Ogun, however, Ajimobi had hosted Makinde after his electoral victory.

Ajimobi has however made it clear that he would not be able to attend Makinde’s inauguration.

After his “Thank you visit” to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday, the governor told State House correspondents that he would not be around for the inauguration of the new state governor as he would be away for lesser Hajj.

Although our correspondent learnt that Ajimobi was still in the country as of Monday, it was gathered that arrangements had been concluded for him to leave for Saudi Arabia any moment.

If the governor fails to attend Makinde’s inauguration, he will only be borrowing a leaf from his predecessor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, who was not present during his (Ajimobi’s) inauguration for first term on May 29, 2011.

Alao-Akala, who was then a member of the PDP, chose to attend a special thanksgiving service in his hometown, Ogbomosho, as of the time Ajimobi was being inaugurated in Ibadan, the state capital.

He had earlier lost his re-election bid to Ajimobi.

Like that of the Ogun State governor-elect , members of Makinde’s camp are also not losing sleep over Ajimobi’s possible absence.

They said they had read in the newspapers that the outgoing governor might be in Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj during the period, and they wished him well.

Makinde’s spokesman, Dotun Oyelade, in an interview with our correspondent, said, “The issue of the outgoing governor not attending the Wednesday inauguration will not matter at all.

“The most important thing is whether he will be handing over to us constitutionally, and the answer to that is yes.

“All constitutional arrangements for that had been put in place. The governor will be inaugurated and we will move on.

“We have taken his excuse with an open mind. We learnt he wants to go for Umrah. Umrah is for prayers and we wish him well.

“We are not worried whatsoever on the issue of whether he will not attend.”

In Imo State, the outgoing governor, Rochas Okorocha, supported his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance in the governorship election which was won by the candidate of the PDP, Emeka Ihedioha.

Okorocha has not been on the same page with Ihedioha and he may also not attend Wednesday’s swearing-in.

Also in Adamawa, the state governor, Jibrilla Bindow of the APC lost his re-election bid to the candidate of the PDP, Ahmadu Fintiri.

It is also not clear if he will attend the inauguration of his successor.

A similar scenario is playing out in Bauchi State where the outgoing governor, Muhammed Abubakar, lost his re-election bid to the PDP candidate, Bala Muhammed.

In Gombe State, the story is the same between the outgoing governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo of the PDP and the incoming governor, Inuwa Yahaya, of the APC.

Kwara State is not an exception with the coming on board of the governor-elect, Abdulrahman Abdurazaq of the APC to succeed Abdulfatah Ahmed of the PDP.

In Zamfara State, the same scenario may play out between the outgoing governor, Abdulaziz Yari, of the APC and his successor, Bello Matawalle, of the PDP.

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