Kogi APC Crisis Festers

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Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Dino Melaye, recently stormed the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja with other aggrieved members of the party from Kogi State, where he accused Governor Yahaya Bello of anti-party activities. The development marked a new turn in the crisis-torn Kogi APC. Yekini Jimoh writes

Recently, some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Kogi State, led by Senator Dino Melaye stormed the national secretariat of the party in Abuja, where they accused the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello of anti-party activities. They also claimed to have set up committee to investigate the governor.

Dino and other members of the party felt that Governor Bello was more or else a lone ranger not ready to bring on board other members of the party. So far, Bello has constituted his cabinet, appointed Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Commissioners, administrators into 21 local government councils and some boards. Although most of the appointees are young people, some stakeholders in APC said the appointments cut across the three senatorial district of the state.

They said the governor tried to avoid a situation, where some people who served about 10 years ago are still interested in serving in his present administration. THISDAY reliably gathered from top government functionaries that there was a particular politician in the state, who had served over 15 years ago and wanted to be appointed as a commissioner in this present administration.

According to the stakeholders, the governor was very careful in choosing his cabinet and appointing people into his government. Prior to the appointment of administrators into the 21 local government councils, THISDAY investigation reliably gathered that a top member of APC approached the governor and told him to allow him to appoint all the Administrators from his own Senatorial district, to which the governor allegedly objected.

Some are of the belief that the governor was avoiding a situation, where some APC stakeholders would want to highjack the structure from the governor for obvious reasons. So, it was not a surprise to the government, when some aggrieved members of APC from the National Assembly, House of Assembly, party executives and prominent party leaders stormed the APC national secretariat in Abuja to table a case against the governor.

The members led by Senator Dino Melaye said they had set up a panel to probe the governor. Members of the disciplinary committees are: Senator Dino Melaye (Chairman), Hon. S.T. Adejoh (Secretary), Senator Mohammed Ohiare, Senator Abubakar Abdulrahman, Senator Nicholas Ugbane, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, the APC Chairman in Kogi State, Hon. Buba Jibril, Hajia Hajara Aliyu, Hon. Folasade Joseph and Hon. Suleiman Ali.

The party men, who made the resolution after a crucial meeting in Abuja, accused the governor of engaging in anti-party activities. They, therefore, set-up the 11-member Disciplinary Committee to review the various allegations leveled against the governor, and report back within seven days. According to the resolution of the meeting, which was also attended by Ametuo, and read to journalists by Melaye, Bello allegedly made all the appointments without carrying the party along.

For instance, they claimed that, “Out of the 15 Commissioners he (Bello) appointed, PDP has 13 card-carrying members while APC has two. Out of the 105 members of the Caretaker Committee members for the 21 Local Government Councils, PDP has 72 while APC has 33,” adding also that “Out of the 28 people appointed as Special Advisers and Senior Special Assistants, PDP has 24, APC has one, APGA has one, Labour has one, Accord has one.”
The party said it acted based on the Article 12 (8) of the APC constitution to convey the meeting, where it had agreed to set up the committee made up of members from the three senatorial districts of the state to invite the governor, for necessary questioning. They said their action became imperative following an alleged decision by the governor to rebuff all attempts to hold a meeting with the state working committee of the party since he was sworn-in.

They also threatened necessary disciplinary actions against the governor in accordance with the party’s constitution in case he chose to disregard the party’s resolution. Part of the resolution reads: “After much deliberation, the House noted that Governor Yahaya Bello has substantially breached the provision of Article 21 of the constitution of the APC. The House, therefore, resolved to constitute a disciplinary committee of 11 members to invite Governor Yahaya Bello and give him the desired fair hearing.”

Meanwhile, Governor Bello has described the allegations of anti-party activities against his government as a plot by those that did not mean well for the state. According to him, this group of people has continued to plot one form of distraction or the other aimed at bringing the government down, but will not succeed as “the majority of Kogites have decided to support our administration to turn around the fortunes of the state that have been on a downward slope”.

In a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Strategy to the governor, Mallam Abdulmmalik Abdulkarim, noted that the allegation is spurious and should be thrown to the dogs, insisting that “the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are well represented in Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration even though he has earlier made it clear that he was going to run an all-inclusive government.”
The governor stressed that it was unfortunate some persons see themselves as the only people fit to hold public office in the state and be in control of government and anything outside that is either labeled anti-party or given another negative connotation to give the present administration a bad name.

“Before now, this administration has stressed that owing to the endemic underdevelopment in the state and the need to quickly jumpstart our economy, we are open to allowing all Kogites to make input in this administration. We are prepared to operate an all-inclusive government and move ahead with a combination of politicians and technocrats that will drive our idea of where we want to take Kogi State to,” he said.

Part of the statement also advised “Any aggrieved member of the APC that is not happy with the present situation to ventilate his anger but join the new Direction train that is blind to ethnic, religious and political sentiments.
“The recent appointment of commissioners could be seen to be an example of all-inclusiveness. For instances, the commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Tim Ndice, hails from Bassa Local Government. The Commissioner for Transport, Salisu Sani Ogu is from Idah Local Government area and a staunch member of the APC in the state. His father, Alhaji Sani Ogu, is a chieftain of the party which any well-known politician can attest to. Others are Mrs. Justina Abanida, the Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, who hailed from Yagba West Local Government Area; Mr. Emmanuel Odiniya, the Executive Chairman, Bureau of Local Government Pension from Olamaboro Local Government area and so many others.

“Most of the appointment made by the Governor had the input of the APC chieftains in the state including those crying foul. So, it is unfortunate to hear that party stalwarts were not carried along in the appointments and general administration of the state. This is not only untrue but a plot to misinform the people and create bad blood for the governor, who is trying all his best to unify the state as his appointments had shown.

“No PDP member is part of the present government in the state, the allegations were totally false and an attempt to foment trouble having lost out in their evil machination and plot to frustrate the government in the state. We are committed to taking the state out of the present doldrums, emancipate the people from the shackles of poverty, and build a state of our dreams, where all will be proud of. But we will not allow those that have held the state down and want to be part of every administration in the state to draw us back,” the statement said.

The Commissioner for Information, Hon. Awwal Mohammed Imam also berated the APC stakeholders calling for the probe of the governor at the party’s national secretariat. Imam attributed their action to alleged high level of greed and total hatred they possess for the state.

In a press conference, the Commissioner said the leader of the probe, Melaiye produced the Secretary to the State Government without an input from other APC members from the western senatorial district of the state, adding that Melaiye’s grudge started when he (Melaiye) asked the governor to allow him produce all local government caretakers from the district, which he said the governor refused.

Also speaking, the Deputy State Women Leader of the APC in the state, Mrs. Debora Oyiza has warned Senator Dino Melaye and his group to desist from creating crisis in the state. The APC Chieftain alleged that Melaye was only out to distract the governor from pursuing the vigorous Agenda of developing the state, adding that he could not be the judge in their own case. She however appealed to the group to embrace peace.

Similarly, a politician in the state, Mallam Muktar Bajeh, also condemned the call for the probe of Governor Bello. He noted that what was expected of any loyal party man at this point is to support the governor now that the period of litigation is over, describing the present move as a distraction to Bello whom he said has genuine intention to develop the state.

He therefore appealed to the national secretariat of the APC to quickly wade in and bring the situation under control. He said the move of the group was not in the best interest of the party and its members.

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Some are of the belief that the governor was avoiding a situation, where some APC stakeholders would want to highjack the structure from the governor for obvious reasons. So, it was not a surprise to the government, when some aggrieved members of APC from the National Assembly, House of Assembly, party executives and prominent party leaders stormed the APC national secretariat in Abuja to table a case against the governor