Stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State have sent a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari against fielding Governor Yahaya Bello for second term in office.
They said Bello has received about N344billion in the last 38 months he has been in charge of the state.
They said the governor has been owing salaries, pensions and gratuities without any visible capital projects on ground anywhere in the state.
They described Bello as non- performing and violent governor in the past three and a half years.
The stakeholders accused the governor of wasteful and fraudulent use of funds.
They made their position known in the petition signed by the Convener of the Kogi APC Stakeholders Forum, Sen. (Dr.) Alex Kadiri.
The petition reads in part: “Governor Yahaya Bello was never elected by the good people of Kogi State.
“The death of Abubakar Audu made it possible for Bello to be Kogi State Governor.
“He has shown everyone that he lacks leadership abilities. He can’t fight for the rights and privileges of Kogi people.
“We request you to step down your support for the candidature of Governor Yahaya Bello for the forthcoming election in Kogi State.
“If the party fields him as a candidate, we are sure of losing the state to the opposition.”
The stakeholders gave insights into how the governor allegedly mismanaged statutory allocations meant for the state.
They said: “For the past 38 months including February 2019 Gov. Yahaya Bello has not paid full salaries to the workers of Kogi State, despite the fact that the state received full allocation from Federation Account as detailed below: Statutory allocation, Excess Crude and VAT(N132b); Internally Generated Revenue by the state(N51b); total allocations to local governments(N111b).
“Total funds received by the state and local governments: N294 billion. The other funds received by the state are as below: Bail Out (N20b); Paris Club refunds 1, 2, and 3 (N19b); and refunds for road construction by previous governments (N11b).
“The governor had conducted multiple staff screening for both the state and the local governments. And from the Report of the screening, the Monthly wage bill (state, local governments and pensions) at the inception of the administration stood at N5.8 billion. After screening, this figure reduced to N4.4 Billion.
“From table above it is evidently clear that the total revenue received by the state Government was more than enough to settle all salaries, pensions and gratuities with huge balance remaining for overheads and capital projects.
“It is very instructive to note that even without bailout and other funds received outside statutory allocation, Gov. Yahaya Bello could have still paid all salaries including pensions without conducting multiple screening and inflicting pains on Kogi State and Local Government workers. This must hurt APC at the polls.
“Even after the screening, all salaries and pensions payments were paid using arbitrary percentages, thereby still owing workers huge outstanding salaries.”
The stakeholders said they had tried to seek presidential and party interventions to call Bello to order without success.
They added: “We respectfully write to bring to your esteemed attention, the following facts and issues associated with our party and the governor of Kogi State.
“We had earlier, during the life of your administration petitioned against our governor, Yahaya Bello, on several occasions.
“The party, as a result, set up the Tony Momoh Committee to work on the issues in our petitions in Kogi State APC.
“The result of this committee’s work is kept secret in the cooler without the party or the government addressing any of the issues to date.
“Another committee was setup under the Chairmanship of General Garba. We appeared before the committee, and made far reaching recommendations, till this day, that report is still also kept secret and under lock and key and no action taken by the party.
“Late last year, we were invited to another meeting with His Excellency, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. We are, again, waiting for the outcome of that meeting.
“The Vice President prevailed on us to participate fully in the elections slated for early this year with the promise that our grievances were to be looked into, and addressed.
“In obedience and respect for the Vice President, we participated fully in the just-concluded elections and ensured the party was victorious in all the elections.
“However, we are today, back to where we were prior to the elections without any response or actions on our discussions with the Vice President.
“From the foregoing we will like to restate the issues that Governor Yahaya Bello has traumatized, inflicted poverty and fear on our people.
“People who dare to raise their voice to complain or protest this mistreatment have been summarily killed or intimidated to the extent that a reign of terror is foisted on the people of the state.
“We feel strongly that the traumatised people of Kogi State and most especially the APC family have had enough of Yahaya Bello.
‘We feel very strongly that attempting to foist this non- performing and violent Governor as candidate by the party and or the powers that be, will be a great national disservice and will lead to the loss of the state to the opposition in the forthcoming governorship election.
“The APC, of which you are the Leader, must have the courage to say no to Yahaya Bello’s desire to remain Governor of Kogi State for history will judge all of us for all our actions and inactions where and when we had the authority and opportunity to effect a positive change in the affairs of men.”
But Director General Media and Strategy to Bello, Kingsley Fanwo, described allegation of financial recklessness against the governor as untrue.
He said it is “the height of mischief to push out the income of the state without juxtaposition of expenditure to set the idea for public perception.
“The Governor has only been in office for 39 months but has paid salaries for 38 months; including four months before his inception.
“Salaries take the chunk of our revenue as a state. However, we have been able to invest heavily on the other sectors of the economy.”
Reeling out what he described as critical investments of the government in certain sectors, Fanwo said: “To check insecurity in the state, we bought over 200 brand new vans, over 500 motorcycles and gadgets running into hundreds of millions.
“We gave teeth to the Vigilante Service in the State through a well- coordinated training and mobilisation to complement the efforts of the conventional security agencies. Today, the security narrative we met has changed.
“The multi-million Integrated Rice Mill at Ejiba is 92% completed and will be one of the biggest legacies of our Administration.
“The administration has also made Lokoja and the other towns and cities in the state saner, cleaner and more habitable. We have completed the Ankpa Township Roads and many others are ongoing with quality jobs.
“The revolution to make water available to Kogites have paid off as the administration has delivered a lot of high-worth water facilities across the state.
“With all the development projects we are doing, it must also be mentioned that we are repaying loans taken and wasted by the previous administrations in the State.
“Sanitizing and digitalization of our Civil Service didn’t come cheap. But the administration is proud of what has been achieved in that sector.
“We have also electrified about 40 communities across the state. We have improved infrastructure in our schools, hospitals and PHC Centres.
“The GYB Administration put in place, bumps to check financial misdemeanors and will be remembered after 2024 as the most disciplined administration in the history of the State.”
Credit: The Nation