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Allow peace to reign in Kogi

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Allow peace to reign in Kogi

As Kogi, like other states which are in dire financial straits, grapples with the payment of salary and pension arrears, Governor Yahaya Bello and Senator Dino Melaye are embroiled in a political supremacy battle. Senator Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial District, accuses Governor Bello of masterminding his recall bid from the National Assembly.

The Senator pitched himself against the Governor when he demanded for the payment of backlog of workers’ salaries and pensions. He alleged that Governor Bello had kept silent when an assassination attempt was made on him recently. Melaye linked the alleged assassination attempt and his recall bid to the same source but Governor Bello urged his accuser to allow the Police investigate the incident.

The political relationship between both politicians was cordial until recently. Although, Melaye did not support Bello he (Bello) emerged as the All Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer following Alhaji Abubakar Audu’s sudden death during last year’s inconclusive governorship election. Melaye, a loyalist of the late Audu, later mended political fences with Bello. Their supposed smooth relationship developed rough edges when Senator Melaye allegedly wanted to exert undue influence over the Governor and they fell apart. Their disagreement is a reflection of deep-seated divisions in the APC.

Though this rivalry is not really necessary since the gladiators are representing the Kogi people in different capacities, critics accuse the state government of devoting a whopping one billion naira to implement the recall, which has reached advanced stages. The large turnout of the signatories points to the fact that the process is being heavily bankrolled.

Both political rivals are in their forties. As young men, they are expected to bring out the vibrancy and innovativeness of the youth to bear on their political careers to justify the call for more involvement of the youth in the leadership of the country at all levels. They are not setting good examples.

The amount of money that has obviously been sunk into the exercise is not justified against the background that Kogi is one of the most heavily-indebted states, owing workers and pensioners for years. We expect Governor Bello and Senator Melaye to join hands, focus attention on ways of improving the economy of their state and making life better for the people, rather than getting involved in unnecessary political muscle-flexing.

Governor Bello, as the custodian of the people’s mandate should be the father to all. Senator Melaye should also operate within his bounds. We call on the two of them to sheathe their swords and give peace a chance in the interest of their people. We also call on the APC leaderships both at the state and national levels to intervene before the dispute leads to further loss of lives and property.

Culled from Vanguard Editorial comment

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