Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has revealed that he will declare his intention to run for the presidency in the forthcoming 2023 election once the All Progressives Congress (APC) holds it national convention.
The governor disclosed this while addressing journalists in Lokoja, the state capital.
According to him, the APC is the platform through which he became governor of Kogi state must conduct its national convention before he can declare to contest for any position under the platform of the party.
“We are looking forward to the convention of our great party and by the grace of God, I will declare. But we must have a platform to run on and that is the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party has been built solidly under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni. They have done a great job, we shall conclude the rest in our convention.
“By the mandate and calling of Nigerians, Nigerian youths and women and people all over the world that are calling me to run and build on the achievement of President Muhammadu Buhari. I will surely answer them immediately after our convention as the case may be,” Bello said.
He commended the caretaker extraordinary convention planning committee led by Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni for their effort towards the convention assuring that APC will be more virile after the national convention.
The governor said the illegal roadblocks have caused so much hardship to the road users especially the transporters.
“The activities of the illegal tax collectors on the road are a serious source of frustration to taxi drivers and drivers of articulated vehicles because of the high illegal charges,” he said.
He, therefore, warned that he will not condone such practices in the state, adding that only legally constituted tax collection agencies backed by relevant statutes would be allowed to carry out their responsibilities.
Some of the transport workers who were held at the roadblock said they had spent hours before the arrival of the governor.
The commuters also commended the governor for his concern for the common man.
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun and his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello have mourned former Nigerian leader, Ernest Shonekan, describing his death as a colossal loss to the nation.
Shonekan, the head of the Interim National Government between August 26, 1993, and November 17, 1993, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Lagos.
Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said the Egba born British-trained lawyer, industrialist and traditional chief, passed on at a period Nigeria needed his experience most as a technocrat.
“Chief Shonekan was a first-class administrator, boardroom guru and astute leader whose imprint in the business and political firmaments cannot be erased. His commitment to a peaceful resolution and patriotic fervour will live after him,” the governor was quoted as saying.
“Chief Shonekan, an Egba traditional chief (Babasale of Egbaland), was a true Nigerian who spent most of his life for the betterment of the country.”
The governor prayed for the repose of the deceased’s soul and that God will comfort his immediate family and the Egba Traditional Council.
Similarly, Governor Bello said the late Nigerian leader would be sorely be missed by everyone, including the Kogi State Government.
In a condolence message by his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, the Kogi Governor expressed shock over the death of Shonekan.
Shonekan, he stated, contributed immensely to the unity, progress and political developments of the country, adding that his release of political prisoners detained by the military government within three months in office united the country more along ethnic and political lines.
Bello described Shonekan as a strong leader who had always spoken truth to power and was passionate about national interest.
He sympathised with the family and relations of the late Interim Head of State, the people of Egbaland and the Government and people of Ogun State over the passage and prayed for God to grant his soul eternal rest.
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Segun Sowunmi, has asked Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Sowunmi, a spokesman for the PDP Presidential Campaign Council in 2019, made the remark during an interview on Friday’s episode of Politics Today on Channels Television.
“If I was to take anybody from APC … I think I will be looking at Yahaya Bello,” he said in response to a question on who he would support to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, other than a member of the main opposition party.
“Why? He (Bello) is young, he ticks your box. He’s been a governor. I have been watching the kinds of things he’s doing, I read the kind of people who are endorsing him, but I know that he is in the party where they will never look at him.
“So maybe I will just say to my friend Yahaya, ‘come to PDP; even if you don’t get Presidency now, we will make you a president one day in our party’. But if you stay with that party, I don’t trust them. They don’t like young people … the only thing they are interested in is their narrow fixation on what they interpret to be the Nigeria of now.”
As Nigerians anticipate the process to elect another leader into the highest office in the land, political actors and parties have begun to intensify efforts at getting their anointed candidate to succeed the President.
Although President Buhari has said he would prefer to keep the identity of his preferred candidate undisclosed, some of the APC members tipped for the office of the Presidency include Yemi Osinbajo, Bola Tinubu, Godswill Akpabio, Rotimi Amaechi, Rochas Okorocha, and Yahaya Bello, among others.
Among those in the PDP are Atiku Abubakar, Aminu Tambuwal, Bukola Saraki, Goodluck Jonathan, Pius Anyim, Bala Mohammed, and Peter Obi.
Despite his position on Governor Bello, Sowunmi believes Atiku remains the best candidate to be elected in the 2023 elections.
According to him, the former vice president fits into the attribute required of the next president, such as age and fitness, religion, ethnicity and zoning, quality of character, ideas, as well as someone who has a unifying persona that can help galvanise the nation.
“I have always said, when it comes to Atiku Abubakar, the issue is not really about where he comes from; the issue is usually about the kind of ideas he stands for over the years,” the PDP chieftain stated.
He added, “I believe that where people come from is an accident on birth and I also hold very strongly that in this country, there is one error we make often – we tend to assume that there are three souths made up of the south-south, the south-east and the south-west and then when we get to the north, we pretend that there is just one north.
“To the best of my knowledge, the North Central has not produced a president in this dispensation; the North East has not produced a president in this dispensation; the South East has not produced a president in this dispensation.”
In an interview on Tuesday, a resident of the community told Channels Television that the gunmen storm Seriya’s residence at about 7:40pm shortly after she observed the evening prayer at a mosque within the premises.
He explained that the abductors, numbering about six and dressed in black suits with masks, came with a polytene bag suspected to be concealing guns and other dangerous weapons.
The source said they entered the victim’s house through the mosque and whisked her away to an unknown destination, using the car they brought for the operation.
As of the time of filing this report, the abductors have yet to make any contact with the family of their victim.
The Kogi State Government has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apologise and retract a malicious statement that it kept N20 billion bailout fund meant to pay salaries in a commercial bank meant to yield interest.
In a briefing on Sunday in Lagos, the Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said the state government did not open or create the said account.
“I want to assure you that after 48 hours from today, if they refuse to retract their ill-fated, false, politically motivated, irresponsible press statement, we will drag them to court,” the commissioner said.
The commissioner equally challenged the anti-graft agency to produce the account mandate and details of those who operated the account.
This is even as the Kogi State Government said it has gotten the bank’s response which exonerated them from running the account.
According to the state, the government has enough evidence against the EFCC to have a field day in court.
“The Kogi State government does not currently operate or maintain a fixed-deposit account with Sterling Bank.
“There is no mandate letter from the Kogi State Government to open account number 0073572696 with Sterling Bank. Sterling Bank account 0073572696 is an internal mirror account operated by the bank for purposes of managing the Kogi State Salary Bailout facility,” Fanwo added.
The EFCC in a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of an exparte application has stated that it received a credible and direct intelligence which led to the tracing of the fund reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities of accounts domiciled in Sterling Bank.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has asked the police to launch a full-scale investigation into the death of Vanguard Reporter, Henry Tordue Salem.
The journalist who had been missing since October 13 was found dead at a morgue in Wuse General Hospital on November 12.
In a statement issued on Saturday by his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, Governor Bello commiserated with the family of the late journalist, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the House of Representatives Press Corps over the loss.
The Kogi governor expressed sadness over the unfortunate death of the journalist, saying the circumstances surrounding his death were questionable.
According to Bello, Nigerian journalists deserve adequate protection in view of the important role they play in informing the public as well as holding the government accountable to the people.
While asking security agencies to intensify efforts in providing adequate security for citizens of the country, he prayed for God to grant the deceased eternal rest and fortitude for the family and the NUJ family to bear the loss.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello on Thursday presented a total budget estimate of N145 billion to the State House of Assembly for approval.
The 2022 budget estimate was divided into Recurrent Expenditure of N90.1 billion representing 61.79% and Capital Expenditure of N55.7 representing 38.21%.
In the budget, Education tops the list with Health, Infrastructure and other sectors coming behind.
While presenting the budget to the State House of Assembly, Governor Bello said the 2022 draft Budget tagged “the Budget of Accelerated Results was designed to achieve important macroeconomic goals, assuring that his administration would embark on effective delivery of good governance to the state.
He assured that the budget will focus on results that will be of benefits to the people of the state, noting that the budget has inbuilt mechanisms to enhance implementation.
According to him, the budget performance is premised on fair and equitable distribution of available resources, stressing that his administration have made sure that it will set up to minimize extra-budgetary expenditure.
Giving the summary of the budget the governor said, the total Budget package for the year 2022 is N145.89 billion as against N160.56 billion noting that the budget suffered a decrease of N14,664,157,689 or 9.13% when compared with the 2021 revised budget.
In his remarks, the Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Matthew Kolawole, promised that the House will accord the 2022 Appropriation Bill a speedy passage to enable the governor commence in earnest its implementation.
The Kogi State Government has raised the alarm over alleged plans by some politicians to embark on a corruption campaign against Governor Yahaya Bello.
Speaking during a press conference on Sunday night in Abuja, the state Commissioner of Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said the plot is not unconnected with the 2023 presidential race.
He noted that a certain judge has been contracted to lead the alleged financial embezzlement campaign against the government.
According to him, those behind the plot are out to tarnish the image of the governor ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“It is unfortunate that so disgruntled political liabilities are still bent on launching a smear campaign on the person of His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the Government of Kogi State,” he said.
“Intelligence report at our disposal shows that a certain George, whose other details we prefer to keep, for now, is at the centre of this conspiracy. The reason why they are doing this is because of 2023 which is in the hands of the Almighty God.”
The Commissioner explained that although his principal has been receiving calls to join the 2023 presidential race, he will however state his mind at the appropriate time whether or not to run for the presidency.
He explained that the state government is not afraid of any campaign of calumny, adding that the governor is ready for the battle ahead.
Fanwo said the state government had unravelled plots by the persons to launch a smear campaign against the governor on the ground that he embezzled funds belonging to the state.
He disclosed that several bloggers and “media-guns-for-hire” had been contracted to regularly publish claims of embezzlement of public funds by Bello and his administration.
His reactions come a week after a Lagos State High Court granted an ex-parte application for the EFCC, ordering the freezing of an account allegedly housing around N20 billion, said to be Kogi State’s salary bailout account.
However, the Kogi governor said that the bailout received for the state has been put to judicious use.
According to him, Kogi was among the first to publish its account activities, including details and documents generated from the activities.
“Today, Kogi State is among the first that has published all of our accounts online and all of these spendings have been put out there for the whole world to see – from bank accounts to statements of account, to payroll – all of the documents are out there.
“That is transparency. My Information Commissioner and all those that are concerned with that lies peddled by the EFCC, I think they have responded appropriately. And I will urge each and every Nigerian to please go to the Kogi State website and all the facts are there. The banks have denied that we don’t have such an account.
“Besides that, the bailout fund that we obtained, we appropriated in line with the agreement and understanding between Kogi State Government and the workers. All of these were done, we finished all of these in the year 2019,” the governor added.
He vowed never to keep for himself a kobo from Kogi’s coffers, neither will he allow any of his officials to do so.
While challenging Nigerians to demand details regarding how other governors used the fund in question, Bello warned the EFCC against being misled.
The Kogi leader said the “EFCC should not be seen to be going on a voyage of no discovery if the reputation of the commission and integrity of the present administration is to remain intact”.
Governor Bello demanded that the EFCC unravel the mystery surrounding the allegation, urging them to bring the orchestrators to book.
He compelled the agency’s boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, not to allow anyone to use him for political vendetta, adding that as a young man, he should continue with his efforts to restore the nation’s integrity.
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has called on ex-agitators from the Niger Delta to hold their leaders responsible for any lapses in the implementation of the amnesty program, insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to developing the region.
Bello made the call on Wednesday in Abuja when he received members of the Ex-Agitators Forum from the Niger Delta at the Kogi Governors lodge in Abuja.
He urged members of the ex-agitators forum not to allow the political elites, who leverage on existing fault lines to sow seeds of division to thrive.
“Your agitation is not misplaced. I appreciate the spokesperson that spoke concerning the effort of our former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. President Buhari is doing his best as well to build on what is done by former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“Mr President cannot leave the villa and call each one of you and be administering the Amnesty one after the other,” Yahaya Bello said.
He said further that Nigeria could only be fixed if everybody, irrespective of ethnic origin, religious and political views, came together.
He also urged youths to resist being used in perpetrating criminal activities especially by those who do not have the interest of Nigeria but to stand up to become part of the leadership process at all levels.
He encouraged members of the group to get actively involved in politics as another better way to emancipate the Niger Delta Region.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has mourned the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, describing his death as shocking.
Attahiru and seven top military officers were killed on Friday when a military Beechcraft 350 aircraft crashed at the Kaduna International Airport.
Reacting, Governor Bello described the death of the COAS as a “colossal loss to Nigeria particularly at such a time when the country was confronting numerous insecurity challenges in different parts of the country.”
According to a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Muhammed Onogwu, the governor said the ill-fated plane crash while on an official assignment to Kaduna.
While commiserating with the family, friends and associates of the late COAS, Bello described “Lt. General Attahiru as a hero who gave his all to the service of his fatherland and similarly died while attending to his duties.”