The Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State Governor, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo has threatened an online news medium, Leading Reporters with a court action if their “unsubstantiated allegations of fraud against the Governor” is not retracted in the next seven days.
Addressing press men at Mopa, headquarters of Mopamuro Local Government Area on Saturday, Fanwo said Governor Yahaya Bello is paying necessary attention to issues of financial transparency and accountability.
It would be recalled that Leading Reporters, an online news outfit recently published a news report, detailing how the Governor allegedly wasted over N270 million in two days and how his official vehicles have been converted into a vault.
Reacting to the allegations, Fanwo said the reports shows how “desperate easy money-seekers could go to blackmail people into parting with money”.
“I have read the report and my first reaction was that of not giving attention to an amorphous media that are just striving to survive on blackmail. The report is a fountain of falsehood and unbridled desperation to poison the mind of the public against the giant stride of the present administration.
“However, the preposterous nature of the report is capable of hoodwinking the unsuspecting public into believing the watery lies of a fast fading media war against the Governor and government of Kogi State.
“The incredulously unimaginable lies against the person of the Governor and some top government officials is condemned, disapproved and rejected. At no point did the Governor or any government official engaged in such a senseless cash handling as reported by the discredited online news.
“Operations of government and its officials are unambiguous. Accusing the Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs of sharing money at Government House is false, unintelligent, maligning and an assault on the intelligence of the Kogi people.
“Mr. Kabiru Onyene was never involved in paying money on behalf of the government. Also, the vehicles mentioned in the report show that the sponsors of the malice-laden piece didn’t do enough investigations before going to press.
“I was contacted by one of the staff of Leading Reporters and I know what they actually wanted. But I also know that as a transparent government, the present administration in Kogi State is not prepared to succumb to cheap blackmail by the opposition.
“Governor Yahaya Bello has been using his personal vehicles bought before he became Governor as official cars. His political appointees are yet to receive official cars as we speak. He kept saying it was impossible for government officials to be riding in posh cars when civil servants were yetto be paid salaries.
“Since Leading Reporters claimed to have documentary evidences of the allegations against government, they will have to present this in a law court. We won’t sit by and allow people insult the sensibilities of the Kogi people. Whenever the state is maligned in the press, it is not just against the Governor or government of Kogi State , but against the entire people of the State.
“The intention of sponsors of this campaign of calumny is clear : They have seen the trend of development and are running against time to stop investors from having continued confidence in the Kogi State Government. With the aggressive approach of the administration against insecurity and the innovation that is about to emerge in IGR collection, they know Kogi is destined for greatness against their wish.
“No amount of propaganda and preposterous derogatory assault against the Governor can stop or wane down his determination to reposition the State and make it one of the best in the country.
“The Kogi people have won the KSU ASUU disagreement. The Kogi people has won the war against ghost workers. The Kogi people is winning the war against insecurity. We will win the media war because fact is superior to falsehood”.
Fanwo urged the people of the State to key into the Good Governance Initiative of the present administration which encompasses transparency and accountability, saying the Governor is gradually enshrining the culture of financial discipline in the minds of the political and bureaucratic class.
He said the Governor is committed to his pledge to ensure no legitimate worker loses his or her job to the screening exercise, assuring affected workers with genuine complaints that their cases will be handled diligently and fairly by an appeals panel which shall be set up shortly after the submission of the back up committee reports on the screening exercise.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor said the Alhaji Yahaya Bello has chosen “competent and trusted hands” to help pilot the affairs of the State, insisting that the bulk stops on his table.
“Governor Yahaya Bello is a team player who believes in his team. But he enjoys the prerogative of taking or rejecting recommendations. Insinuating that someone else is ruling on his behalf is an insult to the collective pride of the Kogi people”.
He said the Governor cannot be distracted from his desire and commitment to transform Kogi State.
“We are not unaware of the machinations of our detractors to peddle spurious publications against Governor Yahaya Bello to win the sympathy of the judiciary ahead of the determination of the tribunal cases before the appellate court.
Truth is sacrosanct.
“The fearlessness of the judiciary in upholding the sanctity of the law gave the Governor five victories in five days at the tribunal. The facts remains unchangeable, unimpeachable and unshakeable that non-candidates have no locus standi to challenge the outcome of an election and that votes are for political parties and not candidates. The tribunal gave a sound judgement that will serve as a legal bedrock for similar cases in the future.
“Governor Yahaya Bello remains confident in the judiciary to protect the rule of law and democracy. The judiciary has been gallantly unfettered in its determination to mulch democracy in Nigeria. Opponents of the Governor should begin to strategize for 2020 as there is no vacancy in Lugard House .
“I can understand the frustration of the opposition. They kicked when the Governor started a process in the civil service that will save the State billions of naira annually for investment in infrastructure because they don’t want him to succeed. Governor Yahaya Bello is here to succeed and succeed he will. His New Direction Agenda is already sounding a death knell on the opponents. His work will always win any election for him. Kogi is in safe hands”.