Bello, PDP And Challenge Of Governing Kogi

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State (middle), new Speaker, Imam Alfa (right) and Deputy Speaker, Kekere Abdulkakareem when delegation from The Maigari of Lokoja paid a thank you visit to the Governor at the Government House, Lokoja… yesterday. PHOTO: JOHN AKUBO

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State (middle), new Speaker, Imam Alfa (right) and Deputy Speaker, Kekere Abdulkakareem when delegation from The Maigari of Lokoja paid a thank you visit to the Governor at the Government House, Lokoja… yesterday. PHOTO: JOHN AKUBO

•Assembly Takes Destiny In Its Hands

The heat is still on in Kogi State. The stress presently is on Governor Yahaya Bello’s ability to deliver the goods and provide evidence of good governance in the state. Challenge is also coming from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which believes that the governor is clueless on how to move the Confluence State forward.

Recently Bello began what he called a facelift for Lokoja, the state capital. In the process of giving the capital city a befitting upgrade, the governor descended on some roundabouts. Unfortunately, some of the roundabouts, according to natives, house native gods that protect and preserve the culture, tradition and well being of the indigenous citizens.

The demolition of the roundabouts has pitted the governor against the traditionalists. Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has pleaded with owners of the imaginary shrines hidden in those roundabouts to pardon him, stressing that his plan was strictly to give the State capital a facelift and not to trouble their gods.

He made plea when a delegation from the Maigarin Lokoja paid him a courtesy visit on the recent election of their son, Honourable Imam Alfa, representing Lokoja 1, as the new speaker of the State Assembly.

The governor lamented that the state capital was wearing the looks of a local council headquarters as a result of neglect by previous administrations.

But words have been making the rounds and trending in the social media, that the roundabouts were being demolished in search of some charms allegedly planted by previous governors for spiritual cleansing of the state.

While indicating that bogus roundabouts were no longer in vogue in many cities of the world, Bello added: “Let me quickly give a little insight into the issue of demolition of roundabouts in the state capital. If you travel round the world, you do not see round about everywhere again; just go to Abuja you see junctions with many intersections where so many roads come together yet no roundabouts.

“It is not in any way fetish to destroy the roundabout because there are certain things that are happening there. I don’t believe in that. Roundabouts are not mosques or churches, and if round about is shrine probably the owners of the shrine should pardon me because our state capital must wear a new look.”

He said there was no doubt that the inhabitants of Lokoja local council are indeed historical people of Kogi State, saying that whoever identifies with them and they identify with him, will always achieve victory.
“I have come to realise that and I quickly came to hide under their canopy and today there is no regret in that,” the governor added.

Going further, the governor said he decided to confer with the former speaker, Hon Momo Jimoh Lawal on the possible way out and they both arrived at Imam, but noted that intrigues set in.

Maintaining that the wish of God has been done in the matter, Bello added: “Please give the speaker and my government the support and prayers that you have always offered. Allow us to make our mistakes and correct them and don’t crucify us but I can assure you that at the end of our tenure, we shall achieve more than our predecessors put together.”

But the Kogi PDP has berated the APC-led administration of Governor Bello, saying that their cluelessness has led to many policy somersaults to the detriment of the state and its people.

Publicity Secretary of the party, Prince Bode Ogunmola, took a swipe at the governor for arbitrarily ordering the barricading of a section of the Government House road, which has been converted to a single lane and causing serious traffic gridlock.

Ogumola, who spoke to journalists at the party’s secretariat, said the action was taken barely 24hours after assumption of office by Bello, adding that since then road users have been subjected to agonies trying to cope with the gridlock.

“In the over 20years existence of the road, citizens have never been so molested; not even during the military era. We call on the governor to jettison his pomposity, consider the pains of the road users and dismantle the insensitive barricade in the public interest,” he stated.

Ogumola called on Bello to provide more sensitive leadership and leave voodoo to its occult practitioners who have been feeding him with untenable insinuation that the roundabouts harbor charms.

“It is speculated that the governor ordered the demolition of the roundabouts, based on the advise of marabouts of who claimed that they harbor charms planted by past governors,” he said, adding that no state can move forward if its leaders are held back by ancient unscientific and diabolic practices.

The publicity secretary disclosed that his party has incontrovertible proofs of the meddlesomeness of the governor in the crises rocking the State House of Assembly, which has been dragging the state back.

He expressed disappointment with the government for reducing appointment to age-grade contest in spite of the gap created by the governor’s lack of cognate experience in governance, stressing that his deliberate policy of excluding experienced hands in governance was detrimental to development.

On the cancellation of the Local Government Joint Account Ogunmola said, “in one of those common moments when he allows sound reasoning to take flight, Governor Bello made pronouncement about the abrogation of the joint account committee and ordered all local government councils to pay full salaries to its Staff.

“This was applauded, especially as he gave the impression that local council staff were owed salaries due to illegal deductions by the State Government”

The PDP spokesman pointed out that to their dismay, percentage payments have continued after the media propaganda, adding that worse of all is the insinuation that an emissary from the seat of power may have gone round for gratification.

Giving further instances of Bello’s cluelessness, the publicity secretary reminded Bello that the Joint account Committee is a statutory committee backed by law. Having ordered compulsory leave for permanent secretaries and directors of local government administration and finance, having ordered the immediate suspension of all treasurers, cashiers, account officers and checkers; who will administer local Government funds? Ogumola asked rhetorically.

However, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Addulmalik Abdulkareem, explained that the Government House road barricade was a temporary measure. He added that the governor was forced to operate from his residence since the Government House, which was heavily vandalized by the outgone administration, was undergoing rehabilitation.

“The previous government and its workers went away with most of the facilities, furniture and fittings in the Government House; we don’t want to dissipate energy condemning anybody. We met a Government House that was inhabitable”

On the demolition of roundabouts, Abdulkareem said it was done to put modern roundabouts befitting the State capital, saying that the demolished ones did not give the state its deserved outlook as a state capital.

He said Bello cannot be accused of meddling in the Assembly crises, which predates his inauguration, saying the scenario that played out recently was a semblance of how the embattled speaker emerged during PDP’s days.

The SA said as a sinking ship, PDP was looking for what to hold on to, adding that most of the criticisms were not founded on the collective interest of the people.

Assembly Crises: Impeached Speaker Stays Away
Sequel to the conspicuous absence of the impeached speaker and his loyalists, the faction of the House of Assembly loyal to the new speaker, Alfa Imam, may have taken over the leadership of the Assembly. More lawmakers have also joined the camp, thereby giving it the needed quorum.

Imam, who presided over plenary last Wednesday, supervised the election of other principal officers including his deputy.

With that development, it seems the House of Representatives Committee of 10 members efforts to settle the crises may have hit the rocks. The embattled speaker, Honorable Momoh Jimoh Lawal, who was impeached in dubious circumstances alongside his remaining loyalists, have remained in Abuja while 10 of their colleagues sat at the chamber to deliberate on the 2016 budget.

The impeached speaker and his group relocated to Abuja since the impeachment, only to resurface during the visit of the House of Representatives committee.

During the plenary, Imam, representing Lokoja 1 constituency, urged members to speedily consider all pending legislative businesses before the Assembly, particularly the appropriation bill.

The speaker called for thorough scrutiny of the 2016 proposed budget as presented by the executive arm of government.

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