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Death rumour, constitutionality and a governor’s absence in Kogi State

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Death rumour, constitutionality and a governor’s absence in Kogi State

By John Akubo, Lokoja  
The fact that Kogi State thrives in controversies and rumours of negative reports about its leaders came to the fore once again with speculations trailing the recent unannounced trip of Governor Yahaya Bello, outside the country.
With the trip shrouded in mystery, the rumour mill, which for some time has been inactive, came alive with speculations that the governor had died in a German hospital. He was said to have collapsed in Abuja and rushed abroad with some of his cabinet members including his personal physician.
The rumour, mostly peddled by scaremongers, did not come as a surprise judging from the fact that a similar one was also peddled during a foreign trip embarked upon by his predecessor, Idris Wada, towards the last year of his tenure.
For a state noted for elevating strange events to a level of public consciousness, the rumour refused to die even after attempts were made to clarify the situation from the governor’s media team.
In the previous case of Wada, his deputy, Yomi Awoniyi, rose up to the occasion in defense of his boss describing insinuations of his deteriorating health in an Indian hospital, as not only baseless, but a figment of the imagination of mischief makers.
He had said, “Though the governor traveled, other senior government officials and myself are constantly in touch with him. I spoke repeatedly with him yesterday (Wednesday). The governor is doing well and in high spirit. I wonder how wicked some people could be to peddle rumor of the death of a man who since assumption of office as governor has remained committed to the growth and development of the state. The governor is due back in a few days time to continue to steer the ship of the state.”
The voice of Awoniyi came so handy because he was in charge while his boss was away and a letter was transmitted to the then House of Assembly.
But in the present scenario, the voice of Bello’s deputy, Simon Achuba was not heard all through the period confirming that he may not have actually been in charge as the people were made to believe.
The argument among media analysts was whether any official letter was transmitted to the State House of Assembly and whether the Deputy was actually empowered to hold forth. At least if these were done and made public, it would have foreclosed any space for rumors.
This could also be compared to President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical trip abroad when his Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina, informed the public that the President would proceed on a 10-day medical vacation to London from Monday, June 6, 2016, during which period he is billed to see an E.N.T. specialist for a persistent ear infection.
Buhari had, before leaving the country, written to the National Assembly to inform the federal lawmakers of his medical trip. He had indicated in the letter that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo would take charge in acting capacity.
Though there were criticisms over Buhari’s trip for abandoning Nigerian hospitals in spite of his promise to look into the excesses of Nigerian politicians and their perchance for seeking medical attention abroad, there were no rumours of death or uncertainty over his whereabouts.
While the president was away, Vice President Osinbajo took charge and government business did not suffer. Osinbajo carried out several state functions, among them a meeting with a Senate delegation to discuss issues related to the 2016 budget.
However Bello’s media team rose up in defense of the governor saying a letter was actually transmitted to the House of Assembly but not on the floor as it was not immediately made available to the press.
Some political analyst said if the governor had actually transmitted a letter to the House of Assembly intimating them of the need for him to travel abroad on health grounds, the lawmakers should have read the letter on the floor of the House and told the people of Kogi State through the media, that their governor would be away, and that the Deputy Governor would be Acting Governor.
They said ordinarily as human and number one citizen of the State it is his right to seek medical help abroad but it was wrong of him to hide his health condition from the people he governs.
Spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Bode Ogunmola, however said there was need for proper communication to the public on the part of government to avoid creating rooms for speculations amongst the people.
He said, for a man that is only 41, it will be foolhardy for anybody to wish him dead especially when he is the governor. “The position of the party has always been that as the governor of the state, he should try and do well. We don’t wish him dead as a party. The normal thing for a governor, if he is going out of the country, is to hand over to his deputy. We wish him well but he should do the proper thing as a governor. If you are traveling out, you should hand over to your deputy.”
Ogunmola challenged the governor to always do the needful adding that they pray for him even though they are not certain he is sick adding, “We hope he will come back to face what the electorates have elected him to do.”
In a swift reaction the Director General, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Mr Kingsley Fanwo refuted the rumors that the number one citizen was attending to any health issues adding that he is hail and hearty.
Fanwo explained that the governor traveled abroad for some kind of holiday away from the bustling of office work after overcoming hordes of litigation threatening his election especially the suspense at the Supreme Court.

In his words, “I want to state clearly here for the avoidance of doubt that the rumor lacks any iota of truth. It is a reflection of the depth the enemies of Kogi State have gone in their desperate angst against fate.”

Explaining further, he said the governor in line with the Constitution, had earlier transmitted a letter to the House of Assembly of his intention to go on a two-week break and that all urgent state matters should be directed to his deputy.
A copy of the said letter dated October 25, 2016 and addressed to the Speaker of the Assembly reads:
“I wish to hereby notify you by this letter of my intention to travel out of the country for 14 days commencing on 26th October, 2016. While abroad, all urgent state matters should be forwarded to my Deputy, Rt Hon Simon Achuba.”
Many critics however described the purported letter as an after thought wandering why it was not released to the public until the rumour started making the round more than one week after the governor traveled.

A media practitioner who spoke on condition of anonymity said rather than always putting the blame on the media the government should rise up to the occasion by being transparent in the discharge of government duties by taking their own story to the people rather than allowing other persons to tell it.
http://t.guardian.ng/features/policy-a-politics/death-rumour-constitutionality-and-a-governors-absence-in-kogi-state/

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APC to PDP: Abaribe must retract ‘careless comments’ on Gov. Yahaya Bello

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APC to PDP: Abaribe must retract ‘careless comments’ on Gov. Yahaya Bello

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to prevail on its Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, to retract ‘unprovoked utterances at the floor of the Senate’ against Governor Yahaya Bello and the people of Kogi state.

The ruling party said it is on record through a vedio in circulation that Senator Abaribe made ‘grievous and false verbal attacks’ discrediting governor Yahaya Bello before Senator Smart Adeyemi replied him.

The APC was reacting to a statement by the PDP asking Senator Adeyemi to retract and apologise to governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu of Abis state

But in a statement signed Monday in Abuja by the APC’s acting Deputy National Publicity Secretary Yekini Nabena, the ruling party said “a careful perusal of the facts on ground shows clearly that Senator Adeyemi’s response was initiated by Abaribe’s unbidden and unprovoked utterances at the floor of the Senate.”

“We make reference to the deplorable video by Senator Abaribe against His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello, which has been circulating on most social media platforms. As expected, the attention of Senator Smart Adeyemi was immediately drawn to the video by well-meaning kogites who were naturally disturbed by the falsehood of its contents.”

While explaining all the efforts made to get Abaribe to retract his attack on Yahaya Bello, APC said: “three Senators representing Kogi state, Adeyemi inclusive, approached Senator Abaribe, insisting that his false and malicious utterances were not just an assault on the Governor of Kogi State, but to all Nigerian youth who have ambition to serve our great country, Nigeria. They tried without luck to persuade Abaribe to retract the verbal and unwarranted attack on His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello particularly as the contents were in its entirety false and not a true representation of the Governor, or the state of affairs in Kogi.

“The senators approached him in a bid to remedying an already bad situation. But Abaribe vehemently refused to heed their call for peace. Rather, he insisted that he would not disassociate himself from the video, stating in what would appear to be calling their bluff, that Governor Bello should dismiss his ambition to run for any office come 2023 and clearly said that he will neither retract nor apologise.

“It is on record that Abaribe made grievous and false verbal attacks discrediting Governor Yahaya Bello. He personally admitted to this on the floor of the senate. How the PDP have conveniently edited this fact from the sequence of events is unbecoming, but characteristic of the party’s modus operandi. Indeed, if there is any apology to be tendered, it should be by Senator Abaribe who must retract every statement in the video currently trending, disparaging the achievement and the person of Governor Bello. Senator Abaribe’s utterances were not only false, irresponsible and malicious but most importantly, totally unprovoked. And on this note, we insist that he must publicly withdraw the false statements made by him, or be prepared to face the full brunt of the law.”

APC described Senator Smart Adeyemi as a high ranking Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a formidable track record and antecedents to show for it.

“Prior to coming to the Senate, he was a renowned journalist who served as the President of The Nigerian Union of Journalists for Two terms. The Distinguished Senator is popularly known for his interest in the protection of the masses and would NOT support a Governor who is not performing well.

“Therefore, Senator Abaribes utterances was not just an aspersion on himself, but other Senators representing Kogi State at the red chambers.

“On this note, the ‘strong warning’ issued by the PDP should immediately be directed at Senator Abaribe who should have considered his Governor and constituents before making false and
unbridled statements about a performing Governor of another State, worst still, refusing vehemently to retract and apologise.

“There is an adage that says that ‘anyone who does not want
insults must train his children’. For easy reference for Abaribe, the igbos also say that “anyone who fetches ant infested firewood must be prepared to receive lizards in his home”. Abaribe was
therefore mistaken to think he could peddle falsehood against a sitting and performing Governor on the floor of the senate without expecting an equal reaction.

“Senator Adeyemi’s remarks were as a result of Abaribes utterances which he refused to apologise for knowing full well that no content contained in the video was true. Having tried on more than one occasion to persuade Abaribe to do the honourable thing, without luck, Senator Adeyemi’s retaliation is naturally expected as he has an obligation to defend his state and his senatorial district against any perceived danger or false representation.”

The APC statement, however, demanded Senator Abaribe “publicly retract his untrue comments and immediately apologise and spare the people of Abia state the embarrassment they are currently facing with the whole world watching and noting the deplorable state of affairs in the state.

“What Governor Ikpeazu and the people of Abia state need to address more urgently is whether Abaribe is fit to continue to represent them at the Red Chambers as it has become evident that his inordinate ambition to succeed the incumbent Governor has overshadowed his moral responsibility to speak not just the truth, but also to speak responsibly at all times. This hostility instigated by Abaribe was not only mischievous but most unnecessary.

“Be that as it may, we have noted with great delight that the PDP acknowledged that the words of Senator Smart Adeyemi were respected by Nigerians while in the party. This has not changed as the credibility of his words is as a result of the integrity he has built over the years and his undeniable wealth of experience. Indeed, his words have become more formidable under the APC who are currently stirring the nation to greatness despite the huge challenges they met.”

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2023 Presidency: Bello tells oldies to cool their heels, as their time is up

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2023 Presidency:  Bello tells oldies to cool their heels, as their time is up

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State may have signaled to all the older persons jostling for the Presidency to jettison their ambitions as the time is for the younger generation
He said, the nation is bedevilled by leadership crises due to the absence of succession plan.
He spoke in Abuja on Saturday when he received a team of ex-Nigerian football internationals, led by a former Super Eagles player and coach, Augustine Eguavoen.
He said Nigerians should focus on competence of aspirants seeking for the presidency of the country as against the clamour for zoning.
The Gover had since thrown his hat in the ring backed with vigorous campaigns for the topmost job.
Bello expressed confidence that come 2023, the All Progressives Congress (APC) will provide the next generation of leaders who will fix the country.

He added that the earlier the seniors know that the time is up, the better for them.

Bello said competence should be the basis for the emergence of Nigeria’s next President instead of ethno-religious considerations.

Using the example of the new leadership of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Governor Bello said it was time the old left the political stage for the younger generation. “Mr President who listens to the calls and yearnings of the youths appointed one of us to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and you are going to see the magic wand in the fight against corruption because Mr Bawa knows that the future lies squarely on the shoulders of the young generations.

So, we will do everything possible to assist Mr Bawa to succeed on the job. “No matter the energy or talent that you had put in building the Super Eagles of those days, if you don’t have successors, younger ones who will take over from you, we would not have still had some brilliant people on the pitch today.  “Both north and south do not know boundaries when it comes to football and other sports. So, we are appealing to Nigerians to look beyond religion and ethnicity. For once, let us get one person who will fix this country irrespective of where he comes from and then the rest shall follow. “I pray that good reasons will prevail on our seniors to know that the time is up for them because I have been charged with the responsibility of educating, sensitizing, mobilizing strong, energetic, committed and patriotic new generation of men and women. I will not fail in that responsibility. “I know that the youths and students are listening to me. We have spoken. We have communicated a nd we understand ourselves. We are ready to take leadership. We are not waiting to be simply called upon. We are saying, here we are. We are taking charge. “By the special grace of God, I can assure you that come 2023, our party under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will provide the next generation of leaders who will fix this country. There will be Judases. No doubt about it. There will be gang ups. There will be landmines but we will overcome them. There will be obstacles. There will be hurdles but we will cross them. I think the elders, the earlier the seniors know that the time is up, the better for them. I want to finally urge our seniors and the federal and state governments to give every necessary support to those who made us proud at one time or the other,” he said.

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2023 election: Group asks Tinubu to declare his presidential interest

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2023 election: Group asks Tinubu to declare his presidential interest

***offers N10M to support purchase of Tinubu nomination form

By Doris Ferdinand

A group under the aegis of Tinubulate Nigeria Agenda (TINA) is urging Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to as a matter of urgency declare for 2023 presidential election.

Director General -TINA, Alamoh Kehinde Samuel disclosed this in an inaugural world press conference held at Tinubu Support Group Office in Abuja on Saturday.

Kehinde said after much consultation, the group decided to throw their weight behind Bola Ahmed Tinubu and give their unrelenting support to him because they are convinced that he is competent to actualize the Nigeria of their dream.

The group further offered a dummy cheque of N10,000,000 to support Asiwaju’s purchase of presidential nomination form.

“Our group has concluded plans to present a cheque to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as support for the purchase of the expression of interest and nomination forms to run for the presidency, when the party commences the sales of form.”Kehinde said.

“As a show of our commitment, we wish to present to Nigerians, a dummy cheque of N10,000,000 as support in the purchase of Asiwaju presidential nomination form immediately the APC commences sale of forms, this is to demonstrate our commitment to this course which is critical to the development and progress of our dear country.

“Again, we are convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu possesses all the qualities, competence, capability, capacity and experience needed to actualize the Nigeria of our dream.” Kehinde added.

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