Deputy Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 gubernatorial election in Kogi State and President Muhammadu Buhari’s former Campaign Coordinator in Lagos State, James Abiodun Faleke has advised Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello to stop dragging the name of the President in the mud as he struggles to shamelessly defend his disgraceful decision to embark on double registration.
Governor Bello was last week accused of double registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which also sacked three of its staff involved in the illegal action.
The electoral body said it would have prosecuted the Governor but for the immunity he enjoys.
However, in a frantic move, the governor on Monday this week appeared on a sponsored programme on African Independent Television (AIT) and denied his involvement in the criminal act. According to him, having been receiving regular mentorship from President Buhari, he has been operating above board in his official duties.
Hon Faleke who would have none of Bello’s denials fired back saying Buhari could not have mentored the Governor as the President is a direct opposite of what the Governor stands for.
“Yahaya Bello should stop using the President’s name to commit illegality. I make bold to tell the Governor that he has disgraced the good people of Kogi with his criminal act of double registration. I can confirm that Governor Bello did his first registration in Abuja on January 30th, 2011 while he did the second illegal registration on May 22nd, 2017 in Government House, Lokoja. I challenge him to go to court on this. It is an incontrovertible fact. The Governor ought to have known that for a body like INEC to come up with such a decision, it must have gotten its facts right. After the registration, the Governor’s camp in wild celebration to prove that the Governor had succeeded in registering in Kogi State at last went to town with pictures of the registration process backed by a press release signed by the Director – General of his Media team, Kingsley Fanwo explaining why the Governor had to re-register in Kogi. I hereby produce an abridged version of Fanwo’s statement.
In the press statement, Fanwo said:
“The Governor’s efforts to transfer the card from Abuja to Kogi has not been successful, hence the need to seize this golden opportunity to get registered in Kogi State. The Governor has to register to be able to move his PVC to Kogi State. He urges every Kogite of the eligible age of 18 and above, who had not registered to seize this opportunity by registering in order to be able to participate in the processes that lead to the choices for who to lead or represent them;”
Faleke wondered why the Governor who gleefully defended his action to register in Kogi State within the Government House through a press release widely published in the Media would suddenly turn round to deny such.
“On May 23rd 2017, the Governor travelled to Dubai. So, for the governor who is claiming mentorship of President Buhari to capitalize on the date as announced by INEC to deny a registration he did and his Director General issued a public statement to defend why he did it is extremely mischievous and Un- Buhari- like. It is very unfortunate that the Governor even went ahead to induce some INEC staff to remove the hard-drive from the computer used in committing the illegal registration in order to hide his criminal intensions. I have my facts and I also challenge him to go to court on this.”
“President Buhari is known all over the world for his virtues of incorruptibility, honesty, discipline and Spartan life style while Yahaya Bello is known for his unbridled extravaganza and indiscipline. No, Buhari couldn’t have mentored you. Till date, President Buhari still lives in a modest bungalow in Daura, his home town while Governor Bello his supposed “godson” prefers to live in an estimated N 3.5 Billion Castle in Okene, his home town which he just commissioned as a sitting Governor. He earlier bought an exotic Mansion in Asokoro, Abuja and four others spread across the Federal Capital City. No, Buhari would never have taught you to live corruptly and extravagantly in the midst of a poverty ravaged citizenry”.
Faleke declared that “it was an open secret that Bello bought a house next to Kogi Government House for an estimated N 100 Million just before he assumed office and later sold the same house back to the State Government for N 400 Million Naira few months after assuming office. Buhari would never be associated with such act”.
According to Faleke, “President Buhari has made it a policy not to owe workers salaries and Pensions but Governor Bello owes Kogi workers several outstanding salaries and pensions ranging from 15 to 22 months”.
“The Governor in the AIT interview claimed that his name is being slandered but I make bold to say that Bello is the chief slanderer of his own name by engaging in acts manifestly inconsistent with the deals of the founding fathers of our party, the APC. How else can one explain that after getting more than N 220 Billion Naira since you assumed office, the only major project you have commissioned is your Multi Billion naira country homes. Not a single road has been constructed and commissioned except the road to his country home in Okene while many more citizens of Kogi are daily dying of hunger and starvation. Only Monday this week, two people were reported dead in Kabba arising from the scourge of unpaid salaries and pensions”.
Faleke Congratulated INEC for having the courage to expose the Governor’s impunity, urging the agency not to be cowed nor intimidated by the antics of the Governor. He enjoined President Buhari to call Bello to order by asking him to stop dropping his name at every opportunity to cover his inadequacies in order to forestall more embarrassing moments for the ruling party and government.
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