Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has downplayed the submission by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), which rubbished the conduct of the November 16 governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States, describing the two elections as a fiasco where the unthinkable happened.
Monguno, had on Wednesday at an Inter-Agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting in Abuja, said the polls in both states were not credible, despite the assurances of adequate security before the elections.
However, Bello told State House correspondents thursday in Abuja that the NSA must have been quoted out of context.
He noted that the ‘unthinkable’ reference connoted his election as governor, adding that the last election in Kogi reflected the wishes of the people.
He said: “When you say the unthinkable happened in Kogi State; yes, of course, from the very outset the unthinkable happened and God brought me on board. When you talk of unthinkable, yes of course because this is the first time the so-called minority contested an election in Kogi State and won with wide margin. Unthinkable because this is the first time we are reducing the tempo of ethnicity in Kogi State.
Unthinkable because this is the first time we are running a very transparent and digitalised government, where we are raising the revenue, blocking every loopholes. Unthinkable because this is the first time a governor is appointing a chief of staff from a different ethnic group. Unthinkable because this is the first time after 28 years a Muslim governor is building a chapel in government house in Kogi State. So there are a lot of good unthinkables, the NSA must have been misquoted out of context.”
He also disagreed with the recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which placed Kogi State as the most corrupt in the country.
Bello said NBS got its fact wrong as the state was using the lean resources available in fighting insecurity and had also been able to increase its revenue by blocking loopholes and leakages.
“You see, you have to look and read the details of that report before you can judge. We shouldn’t just listen to somebody and quote him out of context. Before now, for a civil servant to become a permanent secretary in Kogi, he must pay through his nose but, now it has been merit based.
“Before you become local government chairman, or let’s take it from the political aspect, I am the leader of APC in Kogi State, no single person obtained form or became whatever and will claim or to have paid one dime to any political leader. It is out of blocking the loopholes and leakages that we have been able to raise the revenue of Kogi State from N300 million to over N1 billion per month. If you look at the percentage then you can be the judge. So if anybody is saying Kogi State is the most corrupt state, then that person must have his facts wrong,” he said.