By Boluwaji Obahopo

WHAT is your reaction to Senator Melaye’s claim that the governor knows about the alleged assassination attempt on him?

The allegation is unfortunate and unfair to the governor. The governor is not expected to be passing judgment when investigations into the matter are ongoing. The Senator should have reported the incident to the governor too because whether anybody likes it or not, it doesn’t change the status of the Governor as the Chief Security Officer of the state.

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

At what point did the relationship between the governor and the senator fall apart?

The governor holds no grudge against anyone, including Senator Dino Melaye. Alhaji Yahaya Bello is a fine-spirited man and a leader who is determined to develop the State. Senator Dino Melaye was inspired to know that the Governor is a divine choice who is on a divine assignment to fix Kogi State. The Senator said this during the inauguration of the Governor on January 27, 2016. I don’t know why the Senator decided to move against the Governor. Efforts were made to reconcile them, and the Governor has always been open to peace, but the whole process collapsed when the Senator addressed a press conference to condemn the Governor and the reforms in the civil service. We are not ready for politics. We want development and progress. He cannot be distracted.

The Senator also pointed accusing finger on the State ALGON boss and ‘some powers that be’ which is being viewed by some as the state government. How do you see this?

The ALGON Chairman can defend himself. He is a complete gentleman and a key stakeholder in Local Government Administration in the state. He has no record of violence as far as we are concerned. There is no evil force in the present State Government, so we don’t understand what he was talking about. Violence is not our culture in Kogi State.

The APC in the state is a divided House. The governor is at loggerhead with the state exco, former acting governor, Clarence Olafemi and now Dino. Does this not portend danger for the party in subsequent elections?

Kogi State APC is in good health. It is true that some APC leaders are disenchanted with the governor’s style of transparency and accountability, but others are moving well with the present administration in the state. With the developmental strides across the state, the Governor is making it impossible for any opposition to succeed in the state. Governor Yahaya Bello is making APC proud in the state. We didn’t disagree with Chief Clarence Olafemi. We only defined our positions on certain issues. Governor Yahaya Bello is the most detribalized Governor in the history of governance in the state. A new crop of leaders is emerging from the fertile leadership of the Governor. Government officials are relating directly with the people, and for the first time in the history of the state, people have a strong sense of ownership of their government. It is no more Government of the leaders by the leaders for the leaders. That era is gone. We are working with leaders who are selfless and desirous of development for our dear state. We won’t depart from this path.

The PDP recently accused the governor of ruling the state like ‘a Pharaoh.’ Please respond.

Can’t you see that the PDP is confused? I will tell you why they are attacking the governor. One, they are jealous that the Governor is turning their failed era to a forgotten era, by delivering solid dividends to the people. Two, the decision of the Governor to set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe how our Commonwealth was used in the last fourteen years didn’t go down well with them. They scampered from one court to another to stop the Commission but failed. We shall unveil the report soon. Three, the Staff Verification Exercise has exposed how fraudulent the past administrations were in managing the civil service.

Also, they lost six members of their party to the APC in the State House of Assembly. PDP is fast turning into a historical monument in the state. I sympathize with them. Their condition is a lesson to us all to thrust the people at the center of everything we do. APC will avoid such mistakes that led to the death of the PDP.

The staff screening exercise has lingered on for more than a year. Will it not become the governor’s albatross?

Staff Verification Exercise in the State is a blessing to the state. Even the civil servants know that. It is one of our thematic areas of attention and this administration will follow it through. Our civil service was a cesspit of corruption. Without the verification, the state would bleed to death.


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