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Bello and endless solidarity trips to Aso Villa

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Bello and endless solidarity trips to Aso Villa

By John Akubo

Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s open support for President Muhammadu Buhari appears to be something no one or any amount of criticism can stop.
He has taken this assignment further by almost becoming another spokesperson to the President on national issues, which many observers believe is eye-service to enable the governor remain in the president’s good books.

In the country’s history of democracy, no governor has been as heavily criticised as Bello, as the confluence state governor has always been in the news for what most of his traducers believe are wrong reasons.

Bello, who has been a regular face at the Aso Rock Villa, has nearly taken over the role of media aide to the President.
When former President Obasanjo wrote his famous letter to President Buhari, it was Bello who responded, saying nobody can stop the president from contesting in 2019.

Almost every other day, Bello is seen on national television fielding questions from State House correspondents on the situation in his state or the country generally.

Reporters in the Villa see him as one of the ‘big fish governors,’ who always oblige them with answers to their curiosities about the state, a privilege that home-based newsmen are denied.

There is hardly any session with State House correspondents, where the governor has not stoked one controversy or the other about Kogi or the country.

When members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) recently visited President Buhari to present their position on how they felt about the state of the nation and the presidency’s style of governance, Bello was there to act as the president’s attack dog.

The clerics met Buhari for a close door meeting, where they told him that Nigerians were angry over alleged bad governance and imbalance in the system.

The president had taken time to politely explain and respond to the clerics. But while addressing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa in Abuja later that Friday, the governor took a swipe at them.

He said those that looted the country were angry because the sources of their free money have been blocked by the current administration.

He specifically made reference to tithes as an avenue, where clerics get part of the looted funds, and which were no longer coming, hence their outburst.

Reacting, CBCN’s president and Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, said millions of Catholic members would deal with Bello.

“I don’t even want to dignify that reckless accusation with a response,” he said. “If the president met us, understood us and was courteous to us, why would a governor come up with such generalisation, a very wild one at that and rubbished everyone? Let our people deal with him. We have millions of our people to tackle the governor. I don’t think any bishop will comment on such an impudent statement.”

The Christian Association of Nigeria, prominent Catholic bishops and two Catholic groups, among others, also berated Bello for attacking the Catholic leaders.

Prominent groups that lambasted Bello for his unguarded statement included, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, the Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership and the Progressives Peoples Alliance.

However, the governor, through his spokesperson, Kingsley Fanwo, later said contrary to the “mischievous” rumours being peddled by “agents of disunity,” he only said he has love and respect for Catholics and all religious organisations in the country.

The governor expressed “tremendous respect for the Catholic Community” and stressed that “he would not do anything to disparage any religious organisation in the country.”

Bello said reports that he disrespected the Catholic community and its leaders were “another mischief by his detractors in their desperation to portray him in bad light. My statement to the press was well documented. I was only critical of corrupt leaders, who have been disconnected from the looting pipes. These are the leaders, who are launching campaign of calumny against Mr. President.”

Again, after the Federal Government proposed cattle colonies as panacea to farmers/herders clashes, Bello was the first to rush to the Villa to offer his state as a pilot for the proposal that was yet to be understood or accepted. He went further to donate 150, 000 hectares of land in Kogi Central for the scheme.

When President Buhari returned to the country after his medical trip abroad, the governor was not only at the Villa to receive him, but was the only governor to declare a public holiday, which even Katsina, the president’s home state did not contemplate.

During another visit to the Villa, when six of his colleagues visited for the usual Jumat prayer on the day about 73 Nigerians were given mass burial in Benue, Bello was guest of State House correspondents, where he declared that Kogi will give the president more votes than Katsina.

This statement did not also go down well with many persons, especially the running mate to the late candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 election, James Faleke, who responded that Buhari couldn’t win Kogi with Bello as chief campaigner.

Faleke warned Buhari not to rely on Bello to deliver the state, if he decides to run again.

In a swift reaction, however, Bello said Faleke has lost touch with reality at home.

Describing Faleke as a “Diaspora” politician, Bello said the House of Representatives member is a bad loser, who has been trying to bring his government down since he (Faleke) lost in all his efforts to replace the late Abubakar Audu.

Faleke, who was Buhari’s former campaign coordinator for Lagos State, responded that Bello lacks the capacity to deliver his state.

He said: “I refer to a boastful statement credited to Governor
Yahaya Bello that Kogi State would garner more votes for President Buhari in 2019 than Katsina State.

“First, the governor has never contested for any election and won. Not even councillorship election. He didn’t campaign for the governorship seat he is currently occupying. He was simply gifted the seat. So, how can such a person stand to discuss election issues?

“How can a governor, who is not registered as a voter in his state and has no voting rights, mobilise votes for no less a person than Mr. President?”

Faleke said it was the height of deceit and folly for a governor, notorious for neglecting the welfare of citizens in his state by owing them several months salaries and pensions, to boast of being able to lead the same citizenry, who are daily dying of hunger, to vote en masse for the president.

Ordinarily, as a friend of the first family, there should have been nothing wrong with a solidarity visit from Bello to welcome the president’s first son after a successful surgery abroad.

However, because of his penchant for frequenting the seat of power, Bello was heavily criticised for travelling to Abuja to welcome back Yusuf Buhari, after medical treatment abroad.

Yusuf was flown to Germany on January 12, 2018 after treatment at Cedarest Hospital, Abuja, for injuries sustained in a motorbike accident in the FCT on December 26, 2017.

Among those present in Abuja to welcome Yusuf was Bello, who has become a regular face at the Presidential Villa.

Bello’s presence in Abuja did not go down well with many Twitter users, some of whom accused him of sycophancy and incompetence. So much negative reactions had trailed the governor’s act of solidarity.

Former Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, Abdullahi Bello said Governor Yahaya Bello’s penchant for regularly visiting the seat of power in Abuja is a choice to which he is entitled.

“All governors visit Abuja a lot. Why is his case being treated differently,” he queried.

The executive director, Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Lokoja, Idris Miliki Abdul said the governor’s habit of frequently visiting Abuja is a worrisome development that calls for serious concern.

He pointed out that the frequency with which Bello is seen at the
Villa indicates the seat of power in Lokoja is no longer conducive for him to stay and perform his duties after spending a whopping amount to renovate the government house.

He asked rhetorically: “Must Bello attend every function outside the state?”

Abdul called on the governor to stay in the state and perform his duties and responsibilities.

Another former member of House of Representatives, Duro Mesoko, said if he were to give his opinion, he would advise the governor to stay more in the state because it deserves nothing less than 90 percent concentration in view of the monumental challenges facing it.

“If the governor stays more in the state, he would be better able to grasp the challenges being faced by the citizenry,” he said.

Reacting to the criticisms, Kingsley Fanwo said as the state governor and a major stakeholder in his party, he is duty bound to attend meetings in Abuja to represent and protect his state’s interest.

“He couldn’t have relocated to Abuja, when he has important duties in the state. He only visits Abuja, when it is necessary to do so like other governors,” he explained. “Governor Yahaya Bello is close to the president’s family and it wasn’t out of place to visit the family to felicitate with them over the son’s recovery.

“He didn’t leave Lokoja two do that. He was in Abuja when Buhari’s son returned. These are petty issues that shouldn’t ordinarily attract the media’s attention.”

Culled from the Guardian

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Bogoro youths reject LG election results, over massive rigging

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Bogoro youths reject LG election results, over massive rigging

From Ali Sara, Bauchi

Concerned Bogoro Youth Forum in Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi State have rejected the Local Government election results that took place last Saturday.
They alleged that the election was characterised by massive rigging.

The Youth Forum protested in Bogoro LGA capital to register their grievances.
They said, “This is the first time in our history that we are witnessing an election like this whereby results were being announced while voting was still ongoing.
“We demand that our votes must count adding whoever wins at the poll should be declared winner, we are not supporting any particular political party, but we need justice and fairness”.

The Chairman of the Forum Mr. Jerome Issac alleged that in Bogoro, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agents were seen abandoning ballot papers and other sensitive election materials

Isaac lamented that the results were announced and PDP candidates declared winners when the votes had not been collated”. He said.

“All we want is that our votes must be counted before declaring the winner of the election. I want to also remind the Governor that this was not what happened during his election in 2019 when the people stood by him and elected him as their leader, this shows that he is not a democrat and it is not good for our fledging democracy”.
The PDP
You may recall that the Peoples Democratic Party won all seats in the LG election from councillorship level to the Chairmananship.
Even some members of the state Assembly have rejected the results.

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LG election: Dogara’s aides express confidence of victory

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LG election: Dogara’s aides express confidence of victory

From Ali Sara, Bauchi

As the people of Bauchi State file out tomorrow to exercise their franchise in the Local Government election, the battle for supremacy between the two major gladiating political parties; the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC) is expected to play out.

The immediate past speaker of the House of representatives Honorable Yakubu Dogara who recently joined the APC in his Bogoro local government has vowed to leave no stone unturned having embarked on door to door campaign to ensure victory.
Those vying for the chairmanship seat in the local government are Honorable Bulus Iliya of APC and Honorable Iliya Habila of PDP who are both former Senior Special Assistants to the former Speaker.

Flagging off his campaign Wednesday Honorable Iliya said that he is not afraid of the ruling party because the youth and women are with him.

According to him, he cannot be intimidated by anybody saying he does whatever he sets out to do without fear.
“I don’t fear face because I believe in God and God decide who will rule the LGA. I am not afraid that I am contesting against the ruling party, why because I know the masses are with me and I am sure I will defeat PDP on saturday”.

The APC candidate alleged that the only option for the ruling People’s Democratic Party is to try to manipulate the election because they have the government.
He expressed the believe that with God and the people by his side he will win the election.

“Definitely, if they are going to conduct a credible election we will be victorious come this Saturday”, he confidently boasted.

He called on the electorate to be law abiding, even as he advised them to protect their votes.

On his part Honorable Iliya Habila who is the immediate past Care taker Chairman of Bogoro LGA and the flag bearer of the PDP said he does not need to campaign because within the ten months of his stewardship in office the people can testify to his giant strides in the area of human and infrastructure development.

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Lawan congratulates Ondo Governor on re-election

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Lawan congratulates Ondo Governor on re-election

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has sent a congratulatory message to the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, on his re-election to a second term at Saturday’s election.
Lawan also congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the victory of its candidate at the election, saying the triumph is well-deserved and heart warming.This was contained in a statement that was issued in Abuja yesterday by his special adviser on media Ola Awoniyi.The president of the senate noted that the election was a referendum on the stewardship of Governor Akeredolu in the last four years and that the Governor has passed the examination in flying colours.
The Senate President commended the people of Ondo State for their peaceful conduct at the poll, which has demonstrated their confidence in their country’s democratic process.
He also thanked the Ondo people for their consistency in identifying with progressive platforms now ably represented by the APC.
“By the outcome of this election, the people of Ondo State have spoken in a loud and unambiguous voice that the APC offers the best platform for the pursuit of their development goals and political aspirations.
“The electoral victory in Ondo State is a re-affirmation of the people’s faith in the APC government and the capacity of Governor Akeredolu to continue the transformation of  the state by consolidating on his achievements and opening new frontiers of development in the Sunshine State,” Lawan says.
The Senate President admonished the Governor not to deviate from the path that has taken him to a fresh mandate from his people. He also urges him to continue to implement APC’s progressive programmes for the benefit of all Ondo people.
Lawan called on other contestants in the election to join hands with the winner in working for the common good of Ondo people.

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