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In Kogi, fresh wind of opposition blows from the east

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In Kogi, fresh wind of opposition blows from the east

For almost two years of the Yahaya Bello administration in Kogi State, the majority Igalla ethnic group that narrowly lost the opportunity of maintaining their grip on the state’s political power through the death of Abubakar Audu, are beginning to create opposition against alleged bad policies of the state government.

Before providence shifted the baton of authority to the minority Ebira with the emergence of incumbent governor Yahaya Bello, through the sudden death of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Audu, the majority Igalla ethnic group dominated political power in Kogi State.

For many years since the creation of the state, the Igalla of Kogi East have been maintaining the dominance pushing the Ebira of Kogi Central and the Okun of Kogi West into playing the second fiddle by producing Deputy-Governors.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the minorities to occupy the Lugard House was created in the last governorship election but since Bello carried the day, most of the leaders from Igalla who put their weight behind the victory of APC through their support for Audu, have been left out in the cold as the new Pharaoh did not know Joseph.

Therefore most political leaders from the east who have been nursing their bruises from the missed opportunity, went underground. But with almost two years expended in the life of Bello’s administration, they are beginning to regroup to confront him.

The new wave of opposition from the East is being complemented by agitations even among the minority groups who have shifted their demand for power shift to calls for good governance amid allegations of failure on the part of government to bring development to the state.

Currently, the entire citizenry seem to be united by poverty, hunger and starvation because of non-payment of salary and allowances to the state workforce, a development that has denied the economy of the state of that important lifeline.

Worried by what it described as effects of “a rudderless administration,” an influential group of statesmen from the majority Igalla under the platform of Kogi East Elders Council (KEEC), has come out publicly to condemn Bello’s style of governance.

At a news conference in Abuja, chairman of KEEC, Sen. Dr. Amadu Ali said in their attempt to give the young administration the benefit of the doubt, the leaders had restrained themselves from taking any critical posture, in the hope that the government would retrace its steps and take the right path when it started taking wrong turns at inception.

As an apex socio-cultural body formed on the principles of equity, justice, fairplay and good governance in Kogi State, Ali said the Council had laboured behind the scene to ensure harmony among various political divides in the state and even across the three senatorial districts.

He said, “It is therefore with absolute distress that the elders decided to go public on the deplorable and deteriorating condition of resources-rich Kogi State.

“In the last two years since Alhaji Yahaya Bello providentially took over the mantle of leadership as the governor, impulsive and ill-informed steps taken by the administration have left in their trail, the sounds of wailing and lamentation in villages, towns and cities across the state.”

Ali added that hopes that the government would take the right path were being dashed as the leadership was sinking deeper into errors, making a shipwreck of the opportunity given to the younger generation to steer the ship of the state towards a greater future.

On the stalemate in the state-owned university Ali declared that the termination of the appointments of 135 academic staff of the institution was an evidence of government’s ignorance and insensitivity adding, “These lecturers, some of them professors and PhD holders, were sacked from the state’s university, at a time when many universities in the country are hunting for intellectuals to beef up their faculties.”

He said in their attempt to salvage the situation, the KEEC had sent a delegation led by a former minister, Architect Gabriel Aduku, to the governor with suggestions in the form of a communiqué to indicate their displeasure at the lingering crisis between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the institution and the state government.

Ali recalled that when Bello was being inaugurated on January 27, 2016, the governor noted in his inaugural speech that salaries have not been paid to civil servants for some months, hence he proposed to commence payment as promptly as possible while implementing strategies to gradually defray the arrears but the promise was not kept.

The group disclosed further that the condition of Kogi has degenerated to a situation in which federal lawmakers had to donate bags of rice to the state workforce and therefore called for a speedy conclusion of the tortuous staff screening exercise that appears to be the longest in the history of the country.

On the state of insecurity in Kogi, the group observed that it has culminated into a situation in which people are being felled by bullets adding, “The evidence of widespread insecurity was manifest in the imposition of 24-hour curfew on five local government areas by the state government on November 9, 2017. The LGAs include Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okene, Ogori/Magongo and Okehi.”

The group therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a presidential committee to investigate the purported staff audit as well as how the funds that went to the state as bailout and Paris Club refunds were utilized.”

Ali said the findings of the group revealed that cash that accrued into the coffers of Kogi State since 2016 was a total of N167 billion adding that the average monthly receipts of funds by the government for 21 months is, on the average, N8 billion. In terms of expenditure, he observed that an outline of civil servants and pensioners salaries and emoluments between 2012 and 2015 before Bello took over totaled N4.8 billion and that the total surplus that has accumulated from January 2016 to September 2017 is N67 billion.

According to him, “This amount should be available for infrastructure development, but the projects which might have gulped this sum are not on ground for the people of Kogi to see. If the government is not engaged in the construction of vital infrastructure, why has government been unable to pay the salaries of even the ‘cleared civil servants’ as at when due? Why did the state government embark on a borrowing adventure from commercial banks, and what has government used the borrowed money to service?”

But reacting through the governor’s Chief of Staff (CoS), Edward Onoja, the government said an industrial crisis actually engulfed the state university, which saw ASUU members refusing to teach for seven months adding that the plight of the stranded students degenerated to a point at which government was forced to proscribe the activities of the union to bring succour to the institution.

According to him, government disengaged academic staff of KSU who failed to resume normal duties after the proscription came into effect and the process of replacing them with other qualified persons was almost concluded.

The government therefore assured KEEF and other citizens of the state that the university can only come out of the process stronger and better positioned to retain her primacy among functional tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

On the issues surrounding insecurity and non-payment of salaries, the state government reiterated its desire to put an end to all criminal activities and that as acknowledged by the KEEC themselves, steps were already being taken in that direction as well as the conclusion of a process that will produce an effective workforce to deliver good governance in the state.
Culled from the Guardian

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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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