By Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The feud between the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yayaha Bello and his deputy, Elder Simon Achuba, has deepened as the state government has accused him of collecting bribes from a contractor.
According to the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the state governor, Chief Edward Onoja, an investigation was ongoing into the alleged undue interference of the deputy governor in accepting kick-back from the contractor in charge of the road contract awarded by the government in his area.
Onoja made the allegation over the weekend at a Town Hall meeting of the All Progressive Congress (APC) convened by Mr. John Ibrahim Ocheje, at Onyedega in Ibaji Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
He blamed Achuba for the failure of the government to deliver its mandate for the good people of Ibaji LGA.
He noted with disappointment that since the inception of the Fourth Republic the area has continued to give political supports to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) without any benefit to show in terms of infrastructural developments or the elevation of any of their sons or daughters to higher positions in the state.
Recalling his roles in the nomination and the subsequent emergence of Achuba as the Deputy Governor, Onoja revealed that he took many factors in consideration before backing the Ibaji people to produce the deputy governor of the state.
According to him , “Kogi East as a district is under-developed but there are three major LGAs in the district that suffer most.”
He named Bassa, Ibaji and Olamaboro as the three LGAs, adding that Ibaji is the most neglected area.
“I took position on the Deputy Governor office in favour of Ibaji against all odds,” Onoja said.
He regretted supporting Achuba for the position of the deputy governor.
But in a swift reaction, the Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters to the deputy governor, Hon. Aromeh described the CoS as a sinking man.
According to Aromeh, the comments made by the CoS, clearly portrayed him as a man with the spirit of lying, and wondered why a person in the capacity of the governor’s aide would sit in public to derogate the office of the Deputy Governor by formulating lies all in an attempt to cover inadequacies of a government .
He added that the CoS was telling the world that the present government has failed, while calling on him to go for a psychiatric test.
“Who was the contractor that alleged that the Deputy Governor collected kick-back. Was it because the Deputy Governor also collected kick-back that Bassa road is not completed. Was it because the Deputy Governor collected kick-back that roads in the Western and Central Senatorial Districts are not done. Was it because the deputy governor collected kick back that made projects ongoing to be inconclusive, and why the government cannot commission a project in three years, while workers and pensioners are not being paid salaries and pension for between 30 and 35 months”.
He described as a blatant lies the allegation that the deputy governor tried creating disaffection between the Attah Igala and the state government, pointing out that, “ The Attah Igala is a father to the deputy governor and all their discussions at all time centres on the growth of Igala land.
He noted that the deputy governor is not aware of any committee investigating him because he has not been found wanting in the discharge of his duties, saying the efforts to paint Achuba black by Onoja in order to win the support of Ibaji people will fail.
According to Aromeh, the people of Ibaji LGA are angry with the present administration for not able to fix the road to Onyedega after the flood, describing the action of Onoja as an attempt to score cheap popularity, by calling the deputy governor unprintable names.