By Omeiza Ajayi
KOGI State Governor, Yahaya Bello has taken a swipe at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state for what he described as the party’s inability to conduct an ordinary governorship primary without chaos.
While asking the PDP not to draw him into their web of inefficiency, the governor said the party should blame itself for whatever fate befell its primary election on Tuesday.
According to him, the PDP in the state has a history of violence, saying the last ward, local government and state congresses of the party were characterized by violence.
Bello spoke yesterday in Abuja at a meeting with the National Working Committee NWC of the All Progressives Congress ,APC, as well as other aspirants who participated in the August 29 Kogi governorship primary.
The PDP had blamed Bello for the disruption of its primary on Wednesday morning by gun men.
He said: “I am not a member of PDP. We gave a level-playing field to PDP and other political parties to carry out their activities freely within the state. They moved round the nooks and crannies, all the aspirants in other political parties moved round the nooks and crannies of Kogi State and we provided security for them and we ensured that they were secure and safe.
I fed Gov Fintiri
“In fact, let me tell you, my colleague, the governor of Adamawa State, His Excellency Adamu Ahmadu Fintiri, who was the chairman of their primaries committee, before he came to Kogi State, he contacted me that he was coming to conduct the election. I provided for his accommodation, feeding and some other logistics within the state to ensure that they had hitch-free exercise.
“I conducted the security people round the Stadium and went round the stadium and my security chiefs in Kogi State were very excellent and up and doing.
“We, on our own part, when we conducted our primaries on 29th of August, we had a larger number of delegates than the PDP. I was the first person to go to the Stadium around 9am. As early as 10am, we started our exercise and finished everything before 10pm and left the stadium; that is how efficient we are.
“So, PDP should not make excuses for their inefficiency or for their brigandage. I am sure you know that a lot of them have records of criminality. In fact, a lot of them are still having criminal cases in court. They are known for such activities, this is not the first time they are attacking themselves. They had attacked themselves during their congresses from ward level down to the state level. If they are attacking themselves again, why should anyone point an accusing finger at me. I think they should look inward and solve their problems.”, he charged.
I’m not owing salaries
Bello, who said that other APC aspirants are supporting him and had sent congratulatory messages and texts, said he is not owing Kogi workers salaries.
His words: “As regard the issue of news making the round that Kogi State is owing salaries, I want to categorically state that, my two predecessors inherited salary arrears. It is a problem I inherited when I assumed office but I want to announce to you today that Kogi is not owing any worker salary at all. We have been able to clear all workers salary and we are up to date. As a matter of fact, at the time my primary election was held on August 29, we had paid the salaries of August. That is to tell you that we are up to date as far as salary is concerned.
“The issue of us owning up to 38 months before we cleared it was all false and lies. We did not owe up to that, what we were owing at that time was between four to five months. As I speak with you now, Mr. President graciously approved bailout of N30.8 billion. When the money was approved, our National Chairman helped me to facilitate the release and the fund has been fully applied and salaries are cleared including pension arrears. We are not owing any salary.
“In terms of performance, people are saying we have not performed in Kogi State. That has been their wish that we should not perform. Investigative journalists visited Kogi state and they went to all the nooks and crannies of the state taking their phones and making their notes themselves and they did their reports. Mr. President will in September or October be visiting Kogi State to commission projects that have been concluded and as we move round during our campaign, we will be commissioning projects and you are going to see exactly what we have inherited and where we have been to in terms of infrastructure development, security, and social safety nets. I want to believe that I have performed, Kogi is better off than we met it.”
On his part, National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said when re-elected, Bello would not be a novice in governance but would build on his achievements of the past.
“The committee headed by Gov. Badaru of Jigawa declared Gov. Bello as winner of that primary. We therefore decided to invite all those who participated in the process and who wanted to participate but for one reason or the other were not able to do so, to have a conversation on the need to put issues arising from that process behind us.
“My brothers and sisters from Kogi who participated in the process have shared with us their feelings about the process and outcome, but I think the good thing is that I thank each and everyone of them in spite of whatever they have to say recognizing the fact that they have to work together to win the next governorship election in Kogi State. Governor Yahaya Bello having governed the state for four years, doesn’t need to do a new apprenticeship. He will build on experience gained, build on where we have done well and improve on where we probably have not, so that overall after eight years, we will be able to look back, and point out the changes between when he came in and when he left.”