Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
To Ahead of the November 2 governorship election in Kogi State, an All Progressives Congress (APC) group, Kogi APC Stakeholders Forum, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the national body of the party not to foist the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello on them as its candidate, else the party will lose the election.
This is coming as the state branch of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria has suspended its industrial action embarked upon in December, 2018, following the intervention of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The group revealed that the Kogi State governor has received a total sum of N344 billion for the 38 months he has been in charge of the state and still owes salaries, pensions and gratuities without any visible capital projects on ground anywhere in the state.
Describing Bello as non-performing and violent, the group stated that the governor has damaged President Buhari’s image and goodwill and that of the party, given his capacity to be so cruel to his fellow citizens of the state.
A copy of the letter sent to THISDAY and signed by its Chairman of the forum, Senator Alex Kadiri, stated that attempting to foist the non- performing governor as candidate by the party will be a great national disservice and will lead to the loss of the state to the opposition in the forthcoming governorship election.
The group lamented that despite the several committees set up to address the excesses of the governor, none of its recommendations were made public or implemented.
“We will like to restate that Governor Bello has traumatised, inflicted poverty and fear on our people. People who dare to raise their voice to complain or protest this mistreatment have been summarily killed or intimidated to the extent that a reign of terror is foisted on the people of the state.
“The APC, of which you are the leader, must have the courage to say NO to Bello’s desire to remain Governor of Kogi State for history will judge all of us for all our actions and inactions where and when we had the authority and opportunity to effect a positive change in the affairs of men.
“Citizens of Kogi State, regardless of our party affiliations, are not slaves to Yahaya Bello and will say no to his continued stay in office for the following reasons: Unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuities for Kogi workers, wasting and fraudulent use of funds that have accrued to Kogi State since inception of the APC administration of Yahaya Bello, the creation of insecurity in Kogi State. Our state is awash with guns and other instruments of violence, imported into Kogi State by Bello and his appointees”.
The group further stated that for the past 38 months, including February 2019, Bello had not paid full salaries to the workers of Kogi State, despite the fact that the state received full allocation from federation account as detailed in a report they got from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
The group further argued that even without bailout and other funds received outside statutory allocation, Bello could have still paid all salaries, including pensions without conducting multiple screening and inflicting pains on Kogi State and local government workers.
Meanwhile, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, Kogi State Branch, has suspended its industrial action embarked upon in December, 2018, following the intervention of the NJC.
The pronouncement was made through a communique issued at the end of the union’s emergency meeting held yesterday in Lokoja, the state capital.
In a communiqué titled: ‘Suspension of Strike,’ which was signed by Emmanuel Waniko and Sule Suberu, Chairman and Assistant Secretary, respectively, the union appreciated “the members for their patriotism, resilience and their absolute support to the course of this struggle for the past four months in the face of untold hardship.
“Fellow members, as you all know, various mediators, including the Kogi State Elders Forum, traditional rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Jama’atu Nasir Islam and other government representative agents, waded into, but could not resolve as the union and the government could not reach consensus.
“However, as you must have heard, the National Judicial Council (NJC), in their quest to resolve the impasse, sent a sub-committee to the state and, among other things, was able to wade into the matter with the view for amicable resolution.
The union stated that following the intervention of the NJC, it was resolved: “That the strike embarked upon on the 11th December, 2018 by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Kogi State Branch, be suspended to give room for further deliberation.
“That a committee be set up between the executive and the judiciary to work out the modalities for the payment of salary arrears.
“JUSUN has considered the NJC as the apex body that regulates the conduct and administration of the Judiciary in Nigeria, and therefore has confidence in the Council that the matter has finally been put to rest.
“Also, in consultation with other Sister Associations in the Kogi State Judiciary, that is, the Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Association of Inspectors and Area Court Judges (IAJA) are also in agreement with JUSUN.
“Therefore, the strike is hereby suspended with effect from Monday, the April 29,” the union explained.