James Emejo in Abuja
Deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 gubernatorial election in Kogi State, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke, has criticised the donation of six Toyota Venza Cars as well as cash gifts of N2 million each by the state Governor, Yahaya Bello, to masquerades in his hometown in Okene.
The donations, which reportedly took place during the last Ekwechi (masquerade) festival in December had been described as the height of absurdity by Faleke.
He said it was indeed absurd that the same governor who had not been able to pay workers salaries for several months and promised to clear all outstanding salaries and pensions last December without fulfilling it could go ahead to spend money buying car gifts for masquerades.
According to him, “I honestly don’t know what is happening in our state. We thought the governor would heed popular call to settle all outstanding salaries and pensions in the state last December as he promised after receiving the Paris Club refunds of close to N12 billion only for him to pay 60 per cent of 2 months.
“So where did the rest of the money go? Next we heard was the news of the six Venza cars he bought and presented to masquerades in Okene along with N2 million cash to each of the masquerades.
“How else can one be so insensitive to the welfare, yearning and aspirations of his people?”
According to Faleke, “The state government that had denied all along it had no outstanding (obligations) just released a fresh list of “cleared staff.
“What this means is that those staff whose names were just released had been without pay for the past two years when the screening exercise began. So who is fooling who?”
The lawmaker bemoaned a situation where instead of providing succour for the citizenry across the state, what obtains is intimidation and harassment of hapless and harmless citizens all over the places.
“A case in point is the recent case in Iyamoye community where a group of youth were distributing rice to the people for Xmas and were attacked by soldiers providing security for Bello’s appointed administrator for Ijumu Local Government, Taofeek Isah! As an Administrator, the State Government provided him soldiers with which he harasses perceived political opponents across the State. Of course, the newstands were agog few days ago with the news of how “unidentified” thugs hijacked the first batch of rice consignments donated by some senators to alleviate hunger ravaging the workers’ homes.
That is the reality of our dear state at the moment.”
In a statement, Faleke called on Bello to “turn a new leaf this year by re-ordering his government’s priorities away from childish, wasteful, unproductive extravaganza to meaningful statecraft aimed at ameliorating the current unacceptable level of pains being inflicted on the people of the state.”