By Temidayo Akinsuy
Lagos – With few months to the
conduct of the governorship election in Kogi State, the state governor,
Yahaya Bello, who is seeking reelection, has practically abandoned
governance and has temporarily relocated to Abuja to lobby President
Muhammadu Buhari, first lady Aisha Buhari and other leaders of the
ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bello, who was sworn in
as the fourth civilian governor of Kogi State on January 27, 2016, was
picked by the leadership of the APC to replace the late Abubakar Audu,
the original party’s candidate who died before the governorship election
held on November 21, 2015 was concluded.
Audu was leading the
candidate of the PDP, former Gov. Idris Wada, before the election was
declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission
Many had thought the late Audu’s running mate, James
Faleke, a serving member of the House of Representatives, would replace
him, but the party’s leadership led by its former national chairman,
John Odigie-Oyegun, opted for Bello, who emerged first runner-up in the
Since assuming office, he has been having
running battle with some stakeholders in the state especially those who
were aggrieved with the manner with which he emerged as the beneficiary
of the late Audu’s ticket.
Sources also alleged that aside issues
of unpaid salaries which has given Kogi a negative image amongst the 36
states in the country, the governor is also in the habit of fighting
everyone, especially the leadership of the party in his state, House of
Assembly members and serving federal lawmakers.
Sources in the
state told Daily Independent that since the conclusion of the
presidential election which was won by President Buhari, the governor is
rarely seen in the state as he has practically relocated to Abuja where
he is lobbying major stakeholders in the party as well as those in the
presidency to give him a soft landing.
It was also reported that
while Adams Oshiomhole was favourably disposed to direct primaries which
was adopted by the party in the just concluded elections, the embattled
governor was canvassing for indirect primaries where selected delegates
According to a source, “Right now, Governor Yahaya
Bello has temporarily relocated to Abuja over his ambition to secure a
second term ticket. Governance in Kogi is at its lowest ebb now. He
promised new direction when he was sworn-in but right now, there is no
direction at all.
“There is this fear that APC leadership under
Adams Oshiomhole will adopt the direct primary method, where all the
party members will vote to elect their governorship candidate. I think
that is what the governor is trying to prevent now, even before INEC
announces a date for the election.”
According to another source,
who is a member of the state’s House of Assembly, “Bello is fighting
different people in the state. There is this impression that he is not
popular among the citizens, both young and old, especially the civil
servants who constitute the majority of the people in the state.
are several petitions against him written by members of the APC to the
party secretariat in Abuja. The crux of the petition is that APC will
lose woefully in the state if they field him as the candidate. They said
even if he rigs the election, he cannot win. The situation is that bad.
is close to the first lady, Aisha Buhari, and he is using that to lobby
the president. You hardly find him in Kogi these days”.
speaking with our correspondent, Onogwu Mohammed, the Chief Press
Secretary (CPS) to the governor, denied the allegations, saying the
governor has remained in the state and even cancelled a trip with
President Buhari to Jordan in order to attend to security issues in the
“That is a lie from the pit of hell concocted by the
imagination of those who are only interested in spreading falsehood.
Governor Yahaya Bello was billed to travel with Mr. President to Jordan
alongside with Governors Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo and Badaru of Jigawa
“The governor has been on ground in the state since last
week and has not traveled to Abuja. He had to cancel that trip to Jordan
with President Buhari because from the security reports he gathered,
there was a plot to threaten the peace of the people of Omala Local
“So, he cancelled that trip and has been on
ground in Kogi State. He held meetings with the various security
agencies in Kogi. Based on the meeting, the security apparatus in Kogi
moved to Omala Local Government Area and they were there till yesterday
morning until they repelled the attack.
“The governor is
presently in the state, coming to office, attending to issues that
borders on the well-being of the people of Kogi State. To say the
governor has relocated to Abuja because of second term is a lie and
should not be taken serious by well-meaning Nigerians.
Bello is not after second term in office. He is not desperate about
getting himself a second term ticket by relocating to Abuja. He is
assuring himself of a second term ticket by giving the people of Kogi
State good governance”.
When Daily Independent sought the
position of the APC national chairman on the issue, one of his aides
said he is not concerned with the issue at the moment, adding that the
focus of Oshiomhole now is the issue of the National Assembly leadership
so that the mistakes of 2015 will not repeat itself.
“The national chairman takes matters as they come. The Kogi election will come up later in the year. What is pressing now is the issue of the National Assembly leadership which will take place in June”, he said.