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By ABDUL LATEEF TAIWO
There is indeed a marked difference between soapbox campaign and rhetoric, and the actual arts of governance, especially being at the driver’s seat of a complex state like Kogi. Governor Yahaya Bello must have come to a grim realisation following the flurry of agitations and demand from stakeholders and various interests in the state to cut his tour of Lugard House to just one term.
Indeed, when he took the oath of office in 2016 as the fourth executive governor of Kogi State, deep down his heart, he never wished that his four year sojourn in the Government House will almost immediately be riddled with unsettling public odium and opprobrium occasioned by maladministration and non-performance in office. Notably, barely seven months to the expiration of his tenancy in the Government House, Governor Bello is seemingly facing his first baptism of fire both from within and outside the state.
First to fire the salvo is his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Kogi State. The Senator Alex Kadiri led faction of the Kogi State chapter, recently passed a vote of no confidence on the embattled governor. The group in a letter dripping with threat to President Muhammad Buhari, warned of the imminent danger if the APC goes ahead to field Yahaya Bello for the November governorship election.
They stated in their letter to the Presidency that governor Bello has received the sum of N344 billion in the past 38 months since his inauguration, but filtered away the lump sum, while he owes salaries, pension and gratuities without any visible project on ground anywhere in the state.
In addition, Sen. Kadiri, described Yahaya Bello, as a non-performing and violent governor stating that the governor has dented President Buhari’s image and goodwill, and that of the All Progressives Congress, given his capacity to be so cruel to fellow citizens of the state.
Alex Kadiri, a Chieftain of the APC in Kogi State, warned that any attempt to foist the non-performing governor as candidate by the party will be a great disservice and the APC will lose the state to the opposition in the forthcoming governorship election. “We will like to restate that Governor Yahaya Bello has traumatised, inflicted poverty, and fear on our people. People who dare to raise their voice to complain or protest this maladministration have been summarily killed or intimidated to the extent that; reign of terror is foisted on the people of the state.
“The APC which you are a leader, must have courage to say ‘NO’ to Bello’s desire to remain governor of Kogi State, for history will judge all of us for our actions or inaction’s when and where we had the authority and opportunity to effect a positive change in the affairs of men,” he noted.
The stakeholders and elders have further stated that, “Citizens of Kogi State, regardless of party affiliation, are not slaves to Yahaya Bello, and will say No to his continued stay in office for the following reasons: Unpaid salaries, arrears of pension and gratuities for Kogi workers, wasteful and fraudulent use of funds that accrued to the state since the inception of the APC’s administration of Yahaya Bello, the creation of insecurity in Kogi State. Our State is awash with guns and other instruments of violence imported into Kogi by Bello and his appointees.”
Like the saying that a prophet is not honoured in his home town ;while perceptive watchers of the politics in Kogi State may attribute the Alex Kadiri-led stakeholders position to the political divide in the state, the Ohinoyi of Ebira, Abdulrahman Ado Ibrahim, Yahaya Bello’s cousin corroborated to Sen.Kadiri’s claims by giving his royal blessing to the agitations to stop Bello.
Speaking in an interview with a national daily recently, The Ohinoyi of Ebira captured the feeling of the Ebira people, Yahaya’s immediate political constituency. “Governor Yahaya Bello has lost the goodwill of the people and it will be difficult to convince them to vote him for a second term in office,” he declared. The traditional ruler said that he supported Bello in 2015 because his assessment of the governor was positive. “He is different today,” he added.
On the reason for the renewed agitation across the state he said: “There is this issue of the boy (Bello) not knowing what he should do because he has extremely wrong people around him. Bello use to be a nice young man and highly intelligent, which was why I supported him that time. People said, I was supporting him because he is my cousin, well partly, that could be one of the reasons. Two, he had money to do it and that money has misled him so far.
“The governor did not allow traditional rulers to advise him. I haven’t sat with him to advise him on issues required to stabilise the peace of the people. I think, I should have advised him on policy issues, but he gave more time to those who idolise him. He is enjoying that,” he pointed out.
According to the Ohinoyi Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, “Yahaya Bello’s relationship with Ebira people is a bit dented because he has more relationship with the Igala people who are leading him in government, and they are the people I am now talking to so that they will have a change of mind and vote him back,” he was quoted to have said.
Senator Alex Kadiri, is an Igala man from the Kogi East Senatorial District. But Governor Yahaya Bello over the weekend broke his silence on his alleged planned defection to the Accord Party and the mounting opposition from the stakeholders and the elders in the state.
Speaking on the sideline with State House Correspondents at the ongoing induction ceremony organised for governors-elect, the embattled governor said that, “The real elders and the real stakeholders, the youth, the women and the people of integrity know that the Kogi State Chapter of the APC is intact and that was why we were able to deliver the state to Mr. President in the presidential election,” he said
Alluding to the elders and the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Yahaya Bello, told journalists that, “Those that are making certain passes of me leaving the party, I think that is their wish and by the grace of God, their wish will never be granted.”
Except for last minute intervention, AljazirahNigeria reliably gathered that with regard to agitations against Yahaya Bello, the Presidency and the All Progressive Congress NWC are between the devil and the deep blue sea; either to heed to the agitations to stop Yahaya Bello or lose the state in the November governorship election. The party has the option for the replacement of Yahaya Bello with Babatunde Erukera, the Director General Consumer Protection Council, CPC, Dr. Saidu Onailo Mohammed, the Director General National Space Research and Development Agency, NASDRA, and Admiral Usman Oyibe Jibrin, a retired former Chief of Naval Staff.
AljazirahNigeria gathered that despite the closeness of Yahaya Bello to the Wife of Mr. President, Aisha Buhari, Babatunde Erukera and Saidu Onailo are close to the Vice President and chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Sources at the Presidency and the APC told AljazirahNigeria that the party has received several petitions against Governor Yahaya Bello. The source pointed at the Paris Club refund and the bailout received by the governor for the payment of the backlog of salaries. The source, who does not want his name in print told AljazirahNigeria, “When states were applying for bailout, Kogi State, applied for N50billion. Kogi received the highest but this does not translate to the situation in the state today as the state is still owing 36months salary”
Meanwhile, the current crisis of confidence between Governor Yahaya Bello and the Kogi State chapter of the All Progressive Congress, APC, may just be a storm in a tea cup, considering that the party members from the Kogi East Senatorial District are rumored to be contemplating leaving the party en masse, if the All Progressive Congress, APC, gives Governor Yahaya Bello the nod to contest the November election.
AljazirahNigeria sources at the APC National Secretariat, Abuja ruled out the possibility of Yahaya Bello’s success at picking the party’s nomination. However, they say the party is considering a soft landing for the embattled governor because of his loyalty to the president and the party.
The sources expressed confidence that those against the nomination of the embattled governor pointed at the abysmal performance of the party in Adamawa and Bauchi, despite the early warning signals that the party’s candidates in the governorship elections were embroiled in crisis of confidence.
You will recall that when the APC houses of Gov Ambode, Rochas, Amosun, Sen. Shehu Sani and many others were on fire; they were in denial, saying that all is well but when the chips were down, they were running from pillar to post. As a governor that is all time loyal to his party but allegedly disloyal to his people, delivered his party, the APC 75% in the last general elections would be the second APC governor that may be denied second term ticket; only time will tell.
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