Lokoja Metropolis went agog on Saturday as Alhaji Usman Ododo took over the mantle of leadership from Yahaya Bello as governor of Kogi State.
Ododo and Joel Salifu were sworn in as Kogi Governor and Deputy Governor by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Josiah Majebi.
Muhammadu Buhari Square Lokoja, was full to capacity as early as 8:00 a.m. as thousands of party supporters, families, friends, and well-wishers who were mobilised from the 21 local government areas of the state thronged the square to witness the inauguration of Ododo of the All Progressive Congress, APC.
Ododo and Salifu were elected on the platform of APC on November 11, 2023 during the Kogi Off-Cycle governorship election.
Ododo was declared winner after scoring 446,237 votes to defeat his closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, who polled 259,052 votes.
Ododo succeeded the immediate past governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, after completing his two-terms in office from January 27, 2016 to January 27, 2024.
Present at the ceremony were Nigeria’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima; Kwara State governor and Chairman of Governor’s Forum, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, and deputy governor of Benue State.
Government functionaries, traditional rulers, religious leaders, some National Assembly members and Kogi Assembly members led by the Speaker, Umar Yusuf, also witnessed the event.
But the SDP candidate, Ajaka, in reaction to the event, urged the people of Kogi not to be disillusioned by Saturday’s swearing in of Ododo as governor.
Ajaka, in a statement by the party’s Campaign Director of Communications, Faruk Adejoh-Audu, said the enthronement of Ododo was just a temporary distraction as the case challenging his victory was before the Election Petition Tribunal in Abuja.