Vice President Kashim Shettima has expressed absolute confidence of the President Bola Tinubu administration in the new governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Usman Ododo, to deliver the dividends of good governance to the people of the state.

The vice president noted that the “change of baton from one progressive to another will not disrupt the dividends of good governance”, adding that “Kogi State remains bound by the ideals and promises of a unified council of leaders and the largest party in Africa,” the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Senator Shettima spoke yesterday during the inauguration of Ododo and Salifu Joel Oyibo as the executive governor and deputy governor of Kogi State respectively at the Muhammadu Buhari Square in Lokoja, the state capital.

Delivering his speech entitled: “Standing Together, Standing for the People,” the vice president conveyed what he described as the heartfelt goodwill of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the people of Kogi State, saying that the president holds absolute confidence in Ododo as the new helmsman of the state.

He stated: “The president remains committed to collaborating to optimise the vast potentials of Kogi State and bring to fruition the aspirations of its illustrious people.

“This historic day is not an orphan; it is born from a collection of sacrifices and an inventory of commitments to serve the people. This historic day is the ultimate demonstration of faith in Alhaji Usman Ahmed Ododo, a man fit for the shoes he is about to step into”.

For the outgoing governor, Yahaya Bello, VP Shettima who described him by his nicknames, “indefatigable White Lion, the people’s lion,” pointed out that the historic inauguration of Ododo as his successor “is an eloquent referendum on” Bello’s stewardship.

“We are not here by accident, for none of us would ever escape our destiny. It’s this fatalism in our service to humanity that inspires our humility to stay on track. We are here merely because we are chosen by the people to represent their ideals.

“While political parties embody ideologies, it is the people who uphold the value system that appeals to our humanity, and Kogi State is fortunate to have our trusted patriots safeguarding their interests,” he added.

The VP also observed that Ododo is stepping in as the next governor of Kogi at a time it may seem difficult “to assume a leadership position in Nigeria, especially as Nigeria adjusts to geopolitical events that have exerted pressure on our economy and the inherited greed and grievances that have threatened our national security”.

He, however, implored the governor not to despair, averring that while “it is precisely during these tumultuous times that a leader of note proves their resilience,” it is the same resilience that sets Nigerian leaders apart, as they navigate through challenges that shape the nation’s collective destiny.

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Calling for collective efforts in governance and team work among members of the APC in the state, Shettima said: “Today, as we celebrate a well-won victory, let us remember that nobody functions in isolation.

“A defining principle of sound leadership is the wisdom to acknowledge one’s roots and the collective effort that propels success. The power of collectivity is the backbone that makes the summit exhilarating, proving that it is never lonely at the top.

“As His Excellency, Governor Usman Ahmed Ododo assumes the weight of leadership today, we must appeal to the pillars of the party in Kogi State to work as a team. Our ability to manage this weight shapes our future and influences our image, and we must remain ambassadors of the party, wherever we are and in whatever we do.”

In his inaugural speech, the new Kogi governor, Ododo, pledged to build on the achievements of his predecessor in order to move the state forward.

The governor who promised not to betray the people’s trust also pledged to pay attention to the health, education, agriculture and infrastructural sectors.

Governor Ododo singled out President Tinubu for praise for his commitment to the conduct of free and fair elections.

He pledged to hit the ground running by completing critical projects left behind by the immediate past Governor Bello.

To match his words with action, the governor announced the appointments of the Secretary to the State Government, his Chief of Staff and his Chief Press Secretary, among others, even as he also forwarded the list of his Commissioner nominees to the State House of Assembly.

Dignitaries who also graced the occasion included the National Chairman of the APC, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje; members of the National Working Committee of the APC; members of the National Assembly representing the state; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar; Governor of Kwara State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

Others are Deputy Governors of Benue, Nasarawa and Ogun States; Deputy Chief of Staff to the President (Office of the Vice President), Sen. Ibrahim Hadeja, and royal fathers, among others.

The colourful event also featured a parade by officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, Kogi State Command.