By Bukola Olasanmi
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, on Wednesday, became the first aspirant to pick the governorship nomination and expression of interest form to contest the APC governorship primary, saying that those accusing him of non-performance are diaspora Kogites.
Bello also said his accusers will be shocked when President Muhammadu Buhari come to commission a number of projects in the state within the next few weeks.
Speaking with journalists shortly after collecting his nomination form at the APC secretariat, Bello said those accusing him of not delivering on his campaign promises are those who never visit the state.
Bello said his developmental projects are quite visible for the people of the state to see, saying “my developmental footprints can be felt, seen, touched and smelt by all”.
The governor also dismissed the position of some 20 aspirants of the APC in the state to the effect that the party has been broken into factions, saying the APC under him remained one.
Gov. Bello said it was criminal for anyone to have gone to court to depose to an affidavit to continue a case that had been withdrawn by the former party chairman.
“Hadi Ametuo was the leader of his own group, I don’t want to call it a faction because there were never factions in Kogi APC. But his own group felt aggrieved that they were never carried along in the scheme of things. For us, as a party to go into the elections and win overwhelmingly, we have to bring everybody on board.
“The issue of Kogi state APC being in court has been withdrawn. Anybody that is parading himself to say that there is a case in court, I will rather advise such person not to tow the path of criminality because you cannot depose to an affidavit in the absence of the right person who is supposed to do so. Kogi state is not known for criminality. APC is not known for criminality”
He advised those who are aggrieved with him to close ranks and join him to deliver the state to the APC during the governorship elections.
He said; “When you talk of anybody accusing me of not delivering on our mandate or dividends of democracy to the people of Kogi state, they are probably those who are living outside Kogi state. If they are actually living in Kogi state, if they cannot see it, they will feel it, because if I start to list all that I have achieved in Kogi state, I do not think 24 hours will be enough for me. But I can say it that Kogi state used to be a haven for criminality, kidnapping, armed robbery, thuggery and the rest – these things are becoming things of the past. That is number one.
“Number two, if you talk of infrastructure, it litters everywhere across the three Senatorial Districts and in weeks ahead, Mr. President will be in Kogi state to commission projects and commission projects and commission projects. Again, one other very important achievement is the unity that you see today. The issue of marginalization has become a thing of the past because we are running an all-inclusive government. Any person that is parading that we did nothing, that person is a diaspora person”.
Former Chairman of the party in the state whose faction went to court to challenge the emergence of the present leadership in the state, Alhaji Hadi Ametuo faulted other aspirants who had kicked against the use of indirect method of primaries, accusing them of impersonation.
Ametuo said he had personally deposed to an affidavit and instituted a case against the governor’s recognized Alhaji Abdullahi Bello-led Kogi state APC, adding that he has withdrawn the case from court to allow for a landslide victory for the party in the coming elections.
He said; “I am the immediate past state chairman of APC. I am a bonafide member of APC. I built the party in the state. I distanced myself when I felt that I and my people were not carried along. The former national chairman initiated a lot of reconciliation moves but there was no headway. Gov. Bello took it upon himself to initiate peace moves. We met him when he called us on June 26. I and my team met him and he said he is ready to reconcile with us. The next day we met with the stakeholders of the party and explained our position to them.
“I was the one that took the party to court and I said what next after reconciliation? So, I withdrew because I cannot destroy my own party. I single-handedly went to the court to file the suit and depose to an affidavit. How can those who did not initiate the case say the case is still in court?”, he said.