Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state came under heavy backlash on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, March 7, 2018.
Trouble started when Senator Ahmed Ogembe raised an alarm over alleged attack him and members of his constituents during an empowerment programme in his constituency, Kogi Central.
Speaking at Plenary, Ogembe alleged that hoodlums and miscreants had disrupted his empowerment programme.
The lawmaker accused the Area Commander of Okene Division and Divisional Police Officer of Okene and Adavi, of withdrawing officers from the venue.
It was at this moment that lawmakers went berserk.
First was Abia lawmaker, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
‘Yahaya Bello behaves like a little Hitler’
Describing the situation in Kogi as disturbing, Abaribe expressed worry that things may get worse if governors like Bello gain control over the Police in their states.
The Senator described Governor Bello’s rule in Kogi state as bad example of youths in leadership.
He also took President Muhammadu Buhari to the cleaners.
“Why would a member of this Hallowed Chamber not be left to do what he has to do for his constituents? It may be him today but it will be another person tomorrow,” Abaribe said.
“That means if the governor doesn’t like what you are doing, he will send the Police after you. How can we live in this country and have an avowed war hero who told us that ‘once I step into office, I will take care of security’? Yet, things are worse than ever.
“We shouldn’t put this under the table. It was Dino, now Ogembe. Tomorrow it may be Aidoko, all in the same Kogi state.
“People have been running around and saying that we need youths in government. The man in Kogi is a youth but how come this youth does not know what he is doing? There is so much insecurity in this particular place
“That does not give credence that this country should be handed over to a youth. If we hand over this country to him, what will now happen? This country will be thrown to the dogs. It is not youth but the ideas that you have.
“I want you to even go for that his seat because if that is what is making him feel so big, let someone else challenge him. We cannot continue this way where Senators will be afraid to go home because somebody is sitting down there, deciding that he will be a little Hitler,” Abaribe said.
“Yahaya Bello is a threat to Nigeria’s democracy’
Contributing to the motion, deputy Senate leader, Bala Na’Allah described Governor Benno as a threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
“Yesterday it was Dino, some people are saying it’s because Dino is creating problem, what problem is Ogembe creating? The issue of Kogi is a very serious matter.
“From what I have been reading, I have tried to restrain myself from commenting but it appears we can validly say that the Governor of Kogi is a threat to our democracy,” Na’Allah said.
‘Bello sent Kogi SARS after me’
Describing Bello as ‘Kogi’s coroneted governor’, Senator Dino Melaye said fierce-looking operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) were at the court to arrest him after he was granted bail.
“I will recap shortly what I went through in the hands of the coroneted governor of Kogi state. On March 1, I was arraigned by the party I worked for and the government I helped to install. I appeared before the court where the federal government insisted they are vehemently opposing my bail for a concocted minor offence.
“Haven’t been granted bail. I was quickly alerted that they were over one hundred Policemen from SARS that they were outside the court waiting to arrest me. I was wondering that it was untrue but it was confirmed that fierce-looking men carrying arms and ammunitions with SARS written on their caps and vests. Some of them masked.
“Even if you were going for the head of Shekau, you wouldn’t have you wouldn’t have prepared any better. I was in that court for hours and they laid siege for hours. Every car coming in and out of the court were being checked. Somehow because I serve a living God, the angels of the Lord took me out of that court unnoticed and unhurt. They laid siege for more than five hours after I was resting on my bed,” Melaye said.
The lawmaker questioned the move to arrest him without prior notification sent to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
‘Yahaya Bello will not win re-election if…’
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, while recounting his experience, said Governor Bello may lose his seat if he ‘continues with his antics’.
“You will recall that sometime last year when they wanted to recall Dino I advised the governor that they are wasting the resources of that state, that it is mission impossible.
“They took three pages in the newspaper abusing me. Are we still hearing the recall today? Money has been wasted. Money that has been used to pay salaries of people in Kogi state was used to mobilise people to recall senator Dino yet those people have not been paid and Dino is still here.
“Today, I am advising the governor again, that road he is travelling will not lead him to anywhere. Ultimately, these people he is seeing here will be back here and he will leave office. If he doesn’t stop, there is no how he will come back in 2019, never. No. He will not.
“God will show him that he is a God of justice and this is a message to all those people who have caused all kinds of problem in Nigeria at different level.
“The problem in Nigeria is that our democracy is receding. Who says army cannot take over, let us not joke with our democracy, that is the issue.
“The house of a senator was destroyed in Kaduna state. We are talking about Kwankwaso who was stopped from going to his state where he ruled for eight years. In Kaduna, Shehu Sani cannot organise a meeting and we are talking about a democracy? The international community needs to know this because they helped us install democracy.
“Nigeria is losing its position in the comity of nations where are now a second class nation not just in Africa but in West Africa that we are supposed to be controlling. We are losing in every dimension. The only institution to save our democracy is this national assembly. No matter the oppression, men will do what they want to do but God has the final say,” Ekweremadu said.
Saraki generally worried
Senate President expressed concerns over the actions of some state governors in the country.
“It is not rarely about Kogi state, it is clear that Kogi is becoming the point where there is a threat to our democracy. This is not what democracy is all about. For the role we play in comity of nations we need to be good examples to other parts of the world.
“These kind of actions are unacceptable, it starts with one state – many of us have been privilege to be governors and we are almost 20 years in democracy, this is not the democracy that we should be talking about. We saw the case in Kaduna state, how a governor would go and bulldoze a house, in Nigeria? At this time and we are all still keeping quiet. These are things we must condemn totally,” the Senate president added.
The Senate resolved to send an adhoc committee to investigate the disruption of the empowerment programme by Senator Ogembe in his constituency.
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