LOKOJA – As the Kogi governorship elections scheduled for 16th November is around the corner, the state governor, Yahaya Bello who contested for second term under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC planned to win the election as he buys about 1,500 exotic Suvs as campaign vehicles which cost millions of Naira.
An election to decide who governs the state for the next four years is just by the corner on 16 November. Various political parties have completed nomination rituals for the emergence of party flag-bearers in the upcoming exercise. As expected, the events have pushed the State on the threshold of yet another critical decision making point.
With incumbent Yahaya Bello firmly in custody of his party, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) ticket, the choice before the people appears like a simple one. The election should be more of a referendum on the rejection of much vilified Bello. But the task is not that simple to accomplish. The people are being presented with multiple choices.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), moderator of the exercise fixed 5 September as terminal date for the conduct of primaries or nomination of candidates by political parties. The timetable also sets Monday, 9 September as deadline for the submission of names of candidates by parties.
Out of the 93 political parties in the country, about a score have shown interest in the contest by conducting congresses to nominate their respective standard bearers. While some of the primary elections witnessed state of the art manipulations and chicanery, most have passed without notice.
The candidates and their parties include incumbent Yahaya Bello of the APC, Barrister Natasha Akpoti of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Engr. Abdulmalik Adama of Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Sheik Jibril of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Engr. Emmanuel Olorunmowaju Orugun of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP). Others are Mohammed Abdullahi of Accord Party (AP), Abdulrazzaq Baba Emeje of United Democratic Party, (UDP), Engr. Musa Wada of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and Muhammed Zakari of Young Democratic Party (YDP). Musa Leslie Lasisi will hold the banner of National Action Council (NAC), while Jimoh Ahmodu will hold the one for Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA).
Most candidates are from the East Senatorial Zone of the state, underscoring the agitation for return of power to the area. From this obviously crowded basket of candidates will Kogi people choose their next governor.
Tuesday, October 15, President Muhammadu Buhari sent a letter to the Senate, seeking its approval for the payment of N10 billion to Kogi State.
Buhari, in the letter, addressed to Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the money would be used by the state government to settle local debts it incurred as a result of the projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
Buhari said his request was based on the resolution passed by the eighth Senate
The President’s request which was contained in a letter dated 10th October 2019, was for the settlement of inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the Federal Government to the State for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
He noted that 24 out of 25 state governments had received the approval of the National Assembly for the settlement of claims on projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government since the eighth Senate passed the resolution.
He added that N10.069 bn was the outstanding amount due to Kogi State Government which is the only state yet to receive a refund.
The letter read, “Based on my request for the Resolution of the National Assembly approving the establishment of a promissory note programme and a Bond Issuance to settle inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations of the Federal Government, the 8th National Assembly passed Resolutions approving the Issuance of Promissory Notes to refund State Governments for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
“The Resolutions of the 8th Assembly were conveyed through three different letters from the Clerk of the National Assembly as follows: Letter dated July 27, 2018 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.10/277 which approved the Issuance of Promissory notes to 21 states.
“Letter dated January 29, 2019 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.11/004 which approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Delta and Taraba States; and letter dated May 23, 2019 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.11/164 which approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Bauchi State.
“The three Resolutions approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to 24 out of the 25 State Governments requested, and the only State for which approval has not been given is Kogi State, with an outstanding claim of N10,069,692,410.15 (Ten billion, Sixty-Nine million, Six Hundred and Ninety-Two thousand, Four Hundred and Ten Naira, Fifteen Kobo).
“The Senate may wish to note that, subsequent to Resolutions of the National Assembly approving the refunds to the 24 State Governments, the Federal Government has issued Promissory Notes to all the approved States for the settlement of their claims.
“Accordingly, the Senate is hereby requested to kindly approve, the Issuance of a Promissory Note in the sum of N10, 069,692,410.15 as refund to Kogi State Government for Projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.”
The Senate President referred Buhari’s request to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts for further legislative work.
Meanwhile, NEWS FLAKES NG had earlier reported that the coalition of 45 political parties on Wednesday, October 16, have jointly adopted Governor Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as their candidate in the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.
The Chairman of the coalition, Sani Teidi, who announced this at a press conference in Lokoja, said the parties decided to adopt Mr Bello to boost his re-election bid.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 12 of the parties in the coalition are fielding candidates in the election, while 15 others have no candidates.
The coalition also included 18 political parties that had earlier voluntarily withdrawn from the election to brighten the chances of Mr Bello in the election.
NAN also reports that the parties with candidates include Accord Party, Alliance for Democracy, Green Party of Nigeria, Peoples Party of Nigeria, National Conscience Party, Young Democratic Party and Justice Must Prevail Party.
Others are Zenith Labour Party, Peoples Progressives Party, Hope Democratic Party, Africa Action Alliance and Peoples Redemption Party.
Mr Teidi, the governorship candidate of the Young Democratic Party, said that Mr Bello did well during his first tenure and as such, deserved a second term to complete the ‘good work’ he had started.
“In addition to effective governance which Bello has provided Kogi State going by various indices of development, he has done the most in our state’s history to eliminate ethnic, religious and class differences among our people,” Teidi said.
He said that the ethnic colouration being given to campaigns by other candidates was a disincentive to voters in the state.
Mr Teidi further appealed to other candidates to respect the rule of law and play according to the rules before, during and after the election.
He enjoined Mr Bello to see his endorsement as a call to provide more transformational leadership for the people and not as a victory over opposition.
The chairman of the coalition also called on voters to turn out en masse on November 16 to vote for Mr Bello.
In his reaction, the deputy governorship candidate of APC in the forthcoming election, Edward Onoja, said the decision of the parties would further promote unity, progress and development of the state.
He commended them for shelving their individual interests for the collective interest of the state, saying that Mr Bello would work to unite the people, irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliations.
Mr Onoja expressed the appreciation of the APC leadership to the parties, urging them to help in selling the party to their supporters at the grassroots.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have been reacting to the latest action of the governor buying 1,500 exotic vehicles for political campaign;
@OgbuecheC Shame on Alh Yahaya Bello. You owe workers salary and still have the conscience to do this.
@427Emekabrown What’s wrong with Nigerian politicians???
@BusolaDavid_He knows he won’t win so he’s trying to squander all he can before leaving! Smh
@chiukwujioke Thunder punish u bello…u cant pay workers 38months. Salary…but yet u can buy new set of cars for campaign.
Photos of the Campaign Vehicles as obtained by NEWS FLAKES NG: