Bello frets, transfers election aggression to Kogi workers

Governor Yahaya Bello has seemingly been engulfed in palpable trepidation over the consequential spillover of the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared him winner and re-elected for second tenure. The November 16 governorship election was marred by violence which culminated in the murder of the State Women Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi, Acheju Abuh, who was burnt alive in her residence on the election day.

The electoral violence was exacerbated by the deployment of mercenaries being monitored to be flying on election day attacking innocent voters from the air.

However, the election controversies have not ended, the battle is shifting to the tribunal where the PDP has vowed to challenge the result INEC declared to make Yahaya Bello winner on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Governor Bello had gone into the November 16 election in Kogi State with a burden of unpopularity and wild discontentment over his failure to pay salaries of the state workers, beside the failure on infrastructure development. The wide resentment against Bello generated tension in the ruling APC compelling Governor Nasir El-Rufai to go on his knees begging the people of Kogi State to forgive Governor Bello for his failure to pay salaries of workers.

The wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Hajia Aisha Buhari, also joined the league of APC leaders begging Kogi people to forgive Bello for his failure to pay workers’ salaries; and that was even after receiving bailout and Paris debt funds from the federal government.

Bello went into that election with political liability of bad leadership and populist dejection. However, INEC said he won.

Now that the battle shifts to the court, it would appear that Governor Bello is fretting over collation of sufficient records or available authentic result of the election for his defense at the tribunal or the appellate court. Invariably, Bello in search of authentic records, could be relying on the information derived from workers who participated in the election to prepare himself. Thus, Governor Bello directed through the Office of the Secretary to the Kogi State Government the submission of report from heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (NDAs) on constituencies election results under the guise of stewardship accountability.

Again, struggling with legitimacy unpopularity crisis, Governor Bello could be using institutions of the state government to survey the voting pattern in the November 16 governorship election for a suspected purpose many stakeholders fear could be vindictive.

Accordingly, an internal memo from the Office of the Secretary to the Kogi State Government with ref. No. GO/KGS/ADM/1/VOL.1/xxx issued to all Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) dated November 28, 2019, with title: “Submission of your stewardship to new Direction Administration”, read: “Following the decision reached at the State Executive Council meeting held on Wednesday, 7th November, 2019, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello… has directed all Head of Ministries, Departments and Agencies to submit in details their stewardship to the New Direction Administration in respect to their MDAs.

“The reports should include the following: Name; Local Government Area; Office(s) held; Duration; Wards;

Polling Units (PU); Result of Election in PU and Ward and Remarks.

“Your report which should be in soft and hard copies should be submitted to my office not later than Friday, 6th December, 2019.

“Please treat as very important.”

The internal memo was signed by Mrs. Folashade Arike Ayoade, Ph.D, Secretary to the Government of Kogi State.

Several political appointees, with exception of commissioners and media aides, were said to be sacked last week by Governor Bello.  Stakeholders in Kogi State expressed that the directed report could provide Governor Bello further information to sack more top bureaucrats in the state, particularly, those whose constituencies did not vote for him in the governorship election.

Furthermore, there were indications that the governor may be perturbed that citizens might provide the details of the governorship election results from the polling units to the PDP which might create uncertainty for his second tenure as the PDP prepares to take the battle to court.

Political calculations in Kogi State indicate that wide consultations could be going on between the government house and the election administrators in the state. They appear to be have discovered seeming discrepancies in compiling authentic result of the election. Thus, the governor could device the intimidation of workers, essentially top bureaucrats, to obtain necessary information on the detailed results from the Pus to strengthen his presentation at the tribunal.