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I am out to cleanse Kogi, says Bello



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I am out to cleanse Kogi, says Bello

Governor Yahay Bello of Kogi State has more or less become embolden when it comes to dealing with controversial issues. After all, his emergence is still subject of controversy.

However what is on the burner currently is his resolved and firm issue posture in the bid to cleanse the State workforce as part of efforts to reduce the bloated wage bill allegedly caused by the ghost workers.

In pursuant of this objective, he setup a screening committee headed by General Olusola Okotima (rtd.) which has unraveled considerable rot in the system.

Preliminary reports of the committee is already causing uneasy calm in the State among the workforce as sources claimed that up to 70% may be out of job for going by the terms of reference and findings of the committee.

Speaking at an interactive session in Government House, Lokoja, Governor Yahaya said there should not be any tension regarding the ongoing screening exercise assuring that no genuine worker would be screened out.

He explained that it was only those who have been benefiting from the fraudulent syndrome of ghost workers whereby a civil servant would have multiple names on the payroll that should worry.

According to him, only such people with dubious tendency need worry and would not like the exercise to succeed. He said that those protesting on the streets are their cohorts they instigated to take to the street.

“This exercise would succeed by the grace of God. They are few people who made the system rotten so they can benefit from it.

“After the exercise any person with genuine complain should come forward through the leadership of his Union, it will be verified and such persons would be paid.”

He explained that the exercise was not in anyway linked to retrenchment, right-sizing or downsizing, adding: “But we would not be intimidated to the point of abandoning this project.”

Speaking on the bailout fund that has generated criticism from different quarters, he accused the previous administration of ‘heavily padding’ the bailout fund package that was submitted.

“If we should allow that to go, remember bailout is not a grant neither is it a free money. Any kobo that is paid would affect the economy of the State. Few individuals cannot pocket Billions and leave the burden on the State. So the right thing must be done to remove ghost workers from our payroll so there should not be cause for any tension.”

Bello dropped hints of some of the findings during his field visitation to keep taps with the Screening Exercise which has been on for the past two months, stressing that the fieldwork had been completed and that the committee was in the process of auditing the reports.

“So I took my time to go through the report that is being collated in order that our own exercise does not go the way the rest have gone in the past. The exercise is getting more interesting as a lot of revelations are coming out. In order to ensure the exercise does not linger for too long. I decided to visit the collation center to compare with what is on the field to see if they are at par.”

For instance, he said that at an Army Day Secondary School he confirmed that what was coming out was almost exactly what the committee was collating.

“Also you are aware that the President has released the bailout funds and I would not want that fund to remain in the Government account for too long. I have just received the cash backing of the bailout funds and we intend to begin to pay within this week.”

Bello harped on the need to resolve the issue of ghost workers arguing that allowing it to persist would have amounted to a great economic burden on the state with a few persons enriching themselves with huge sums of money belonging to people.

He pointed out however that what was submitted earlier was N50Bn but disclosed that the actual figure released so far was N20Bn, and advised those taking to the streets tin protests to channel their grievances properly.

He cautioned that any attempt to incite the public against the government would be resisted, as it would not tolerate any act capable of resulting in breakdown of law and order.

Bello also spoke on the recent spate of Kidnappings lamented that he inherited a state in dire need of security assuring however that the situation has improved and was improving on daily basis.

In particular, he commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase for the deployment of specialized police force and helicopters to assist in aerial surveillance of the state.

He disclosed that the recently sworn in Local Government administrators were already constituting vigilante groups who which would man the various communities to check security breaches.

He said his Government was determined to haunt down kidnappers and other criminal elements and ensure that they were no longer comfortable in kogi.

He blamed the high rate of criminality to corrupt practices that have made it impossible to absorb the teeming youths into the system, which has compelled them to resort to nefarious activities in the absence of gainful employment.

The governor promised however: “We have a lot of programs for them especially in Agriculture where we want to engage many of the youths as some of them don’t actually want to continue with crime.”

He also pledged to recover all stolen wealth of the state saying “Those who engaged in stealing Kogi wealth not only via payroll of workers, we would visit them with the full wrath of the law. We would recover the monies, we would prosecute them.”

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Group challenges Ebonyi lawmakers to Commence impeachment process against Umahi




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Group challenges Ebonyi lawmakers to Commence impeachment process against Umahi

Association of Ebonyi State Indigenes in the Diaspora (AESID) has challenged the Ebonyi State House of Assembly to commence the impeachment process of the governor David Umahi.
This is coming against the background og his recent defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress (APC),

The group said there is already a substantial breach of the Nigerian constitution and subsisting Supreme Court verdicts which insist that a governor cannot defect to another political party unless there is internal leadership crises, perhaps leading to factionalization in his own political party.

In a statement issued on Abuja by the AESID’s President General, Ambassador Paschal Oluchukwu, they asked to know the crisis that is forcing Umahi out of the PDP which has since enjoyed relative peace after the Ali Modu Sheriff crisis?
AESID therefore urged Ebonyi lawmakers to immidiately commence the impeachment proceedings against the Governor following the breaches of the fundamental rights of citizens of the State therefore and the potentialities of same to plunge Ebonyi into a serious political crises

“We make this call due to our believe and understanding of Umahi as a brutal dictator who is ready to set our dear state on fire in pursuit of his ego-laced selfish interests.

“Finally, like we have always reiterated, Ebonyi belongs to all of us and one man’s personal ambition and interest cannot plunge the rest of the State which our fore-fathers laboured for many years to have into crises of monumental proportion.
“Ebonyi cannot be set aflame simply because Governor Umahi wants to protect his wealth belonging to Ebonyi people with the pretence of running for the highest office in the land.”

The group condemned in its totality his subtle threats to his appointees and the State legislators including the suspension of Hon. Victor Aleke from the State’s House of Assembly for keeping fate with the mandate given him by his people of Ebonyi North-west constituency.

“It has become obvious to us and every discerning mind that Umahi is deliberately creating the crises in PDP through Barr. Nwebonyi in order for some of the State lawmakers to have a fertile ground to defect with him in the guise of cracks, factions or crises in Ebonyi PDP.

“We thank the National leadership of the PDP for acting rightly by dissolving the Umahi-dominated Wards, Local Governments, State and zonal Executives of the Party and constituting a Care-Taker Committee made of men who are capable of righting the many wrongs and injustices done by the quondam Excos.

“We hereby charge the newly-constituted Care-Taker leadership of the PDP in Ebonyi State to ensure it pilot the affairs of the party with all due diligence and sincerity of purpose capable of returning power to the power as was the case before the despotic era of Umahi and the Umahis.

“Already, we are aware of the distractions which the disbanded Nwebonyi-led Excos pose to the new Care-Takership and indeed, the common Party faithfuls in the State as they have made themselves willing tools in the hands of Umahi and the Umahis to cause, confusion, disaffection and disunity in Ebonyi PDP.
“We say this in lieu of the purported notice of suspension of notable leaders and elderstatesmen of our great Party by the defunct Excos some of who have continued to make themselves available pun in Umahi’s political Chessboard.”

AESID as a governance and accountability platform has maintained that it is neither surprised nor alarmed by this development especially going by what we consider as the anti-party disposition of Governor Umahi predicated on the many viral videos that had been making the rounds on various social media platforms wherein he boasted of being 100% percent APC and 100% PDP

“For us in AESID, his defection is only a manifestation of his true character personae- an ingrate, a traitor and a betrayer all combined into one.
“This is why we, and indeed majority of sincere people in the South East region find it absolutely benumbing the claim by Governor Umahi that he is protesting against the injustices meted out to the South-East, hence, his defection to the APC.

“We only wish to reiterate that his eventual decamping to the APC therefore has further exposed his known penchance for pretences and hypocrisy, greed and insatiable lust for power.
“The rest of Nigerians can therefore now see that going by his recent vituperations of calling elders his ‘children’, Umahi is a brutal dictator who has no respect, honour and dignity for the next human around him except to use men and women like unserviceable ‘machines’ during the industrial age.”

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Northern elders advocate for Igbo presidency in 2023




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Northern elders advocate for Igbo presidency in 2023

**call on APC, PDP to zone tickets to South East

In the light of the upcoming 2023 general elections, Northern elders thrown their support for Igbo presidency.
They insisted that it is the turn of the South east to produce Nigeria’s president come 2023 general elections.

They indicated that the Igbos have been side-lined for too long hence they further appealed to both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to pick candidates of  South East extraction during their upcoming primaries for the general election.

They explained that their position was borne out of the need for equal representation of all parts of the country to be fairly and equitably treated in the nation’s political affairs.

The group operating under the umbrella of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, in a statement by their national coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni and the National Women Leader, Hajia Mario Bichi, insisted that the Igbos of South East should produce next president to maintain the culture of rotational presidency between the North and South, which they said will “help to cool the political tension in Nigeria.”

The Northern elders at the same time appealed to all other zones in the country to support the Igbos in their quest to produce a president even as they vowed to canvass their position to all stakeholders in the Nigerian political project with a view to achieving Igbo presidency.

The elders explained that since  President Buhari is from the North, the right thing was that “after his eight-year tenure, the next president should come from Southern Nigeria and since South West and South South have occupied the last 20 years the South East is next in line in the spirit of the rotation principle, fairness, equity and justice.”

They said “This will bring to an end, the manifest marginalisation of the South East. This will foster national unity, and also bring to a close the bitterness of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, which has lingered for 50 years since the end of hostilities and engender unity, “it added.

They thanked the elite and leaders of the South East extraction for not taking cessation as an option despite the inglorious activities of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, which it accused of attempting to destabilize Nigerian’s unity by hiding under the delayed Ibo presidency.

They also tasked other zones to queue in by supporting a president from the South East, vowing that it is either Igbo presidency or nothing.

“We wish to thank Igbo elites and leaders for openly coming out to denounce the treasonable activities of the leader of outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra,Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who hinged his action on the delayed emergency of Igbo presidency.

Even though APC said they will do North-South zoning, it has become a culture in Nigeria that no zone is allowed to continue beyond eight years. You can take that from the time of Obasanjo.

“If all the major geopolitical zones in the country, and especially the major ethnic groups in the country have all been presidents, and in all fairness, justice and equity, we should be looking at the South East to produce the president.

“There is no denying the fact that the Igbos have contributed greatly to the development of this country. It is time for us all to reciprocate their good gestures through mass support for the next president to emerge from the South East. This is the time for it, the statement further said.

It further state “At a time that our national unity is so threatened, we believe that a detribalised tribe holding the presidency at this time is the surest way of restoring Nigeria’s unity.

“The Igbos, 50 years after the war, have been so marginalised. To heal that wound and to put that war behind us, we think if the country reaches out to them by supporting them produce the 2023 presidency, it will be the masterstroke to heal the wounds.

“For if that wound is not healed and is made deeper, it can only promote tribal groups.

“When it was given to the Yoruba to heal the wound of Abiola, Obasanjo emerged in our party and Falae emerged in the other major party. It was not like they just went into the room and came out with these people. They went through party primaries to emerge.

“Last time, you saw the primary that produced Atiku, you saw the primary that produced the president and that two Fulanis came on board.
“The rules will not change. If you zone to the South East, the two parties will have tow that route so that interested candidates from the south East can slug it out. Eventually, two people will emerge. The country will vote for them and whoever is better will carry the day.
“Igbos from other geo-political zones can seek for the office of Nigerian President when it is the turn of the zone they fall into, South-South or North Central.

The group strongly advocated that Nigeria’s 2023 President ticket should be given to the South and that South East Geo-Political Zone should take the slot.

“We are asking for a Nigerian President of South Eastern extraction. We are not asking Nigeria for “Igbo President because that will amount to asking Nigeria to possibly alter geo-political-zones-based rotation arrangement for Presidency in Nigeria”.

“We are asking Nigeria to stay true to it. Igbos in South East will give their aspirations resounding support when presidency rotates to their geo-political zone”.

They called on Ohanaeze Ndigbo (umbrella organization of Igbos worldwide), to reach out to great Igbo leaders to make contacts with leaders from other geo- political zones and interest groups for support for South East president.

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Defection: PDP won’t join issues with Umahi — Secondus




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Defection: PDP won’t join issues with Umahi — Secondus 

By Laraba Raphael 

The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has said the party will not indulge governor Dave Umahi, who recently defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC), in a fight.

Umahi, had alleged that he decamped from the opposition because of injustice and marginalization against the South-East, that has never produced a president since the country returned to democracy in 1999.

But, Prince Secondus, during the 90th National Executive Council (NEC), meeting in Abuja, yesterday, in Abuja, countered Umahi’s allegation, and said that the reason for his defection would be unearthed in no time.

“You must have read the eventual defection of PDP Governor in Ebonyi state, His Excellency Dave Umahi to the ruling APC on Tuesday and his provocative reason of allegation injustice against South East by the party. 

“We have refused to join issues with him in any way but we cannot bow to any blackmail. What I can report to NEC is that the strength of our party in Ebonyi state and South East is intact and the NWC has taken necessary steps to protect and guard it. The real season that informed this decision will soon be exposed.”

Ahead of the 2023, he noted that the APC-led administration would not be reliable in ensuring free, fair and credible polls, but, maintained that the PDP would ensure that election malpractice does not arise.

“We know as a fact that transparent election under the watch of APC is not feasible with the current Electoral Act. We are liaising with our very reliable members in the National Assembly to ensure that a fraud-free law is put in place ahead of 2023.

“Within our family also, we are putting all on hands on deck to ensure we enter the next election stronger as one united and harmonious family and to achieve this I solicit the full and undiluted cooperation of NEC.

“On your behalf also we are continuing in our extensive consultations with critical stakeholders to ensure that no stone is left unturned for our return to Aso Rock,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Sokoto State governor,  Aminu Tambuwal, “said 15 Governors are together in unity working, struggling for the stability of the party.
“We are individually committed to good governance to continue to make our party proud are electorates proud by repositioning our party for the future of our party.”

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