The Appeal Court judgment that re-affirmed Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi as duly elected, has continued to elicit reactions from various quarters. While many see it as a welcome development, some, especially, those in the opposition camp, think otherwise, and would rather want the Supreme Court to reverse the decision in favour of their preferred candidate, Hon. James Faleke.
To achieve their insidious objective, they have resorted to the use of certain media platforms to manipulate public opinion, just as they tried to call the integrity of the governor, the respected Tribunal judges, and even those of the Court of Appeal to question. Cleverly disguised as exercising their right to freedom of expression, their hired writers have continued to descend on the governor in an attempt to make him look like he is the bad guy.
It is clear from these reports and media interventions, that the anti-Yahaya Bello campaigners will stop at nothing to stand logic on its head by constantly pummelling the judiciary for ruling in favour of the governor, including the deployment of the services of some so called legal ‘experts’ to do a serial interpretation of the Tribunaland Court of Appeal rulings and discrediting same, as if they alone understood the letters and spirit of the constitution and the Electoral Acts better than the judges whose jobs it is to handle such matters.
It is therefore not surprising that these people have continued to react angrily to the Appeal Court’s judgement, while at the same time profiling the entire judiciary for public opprobrium if it fails to dance to their own tune, however unwise such may be. In fact, a few days ago, one of their hack writers, writing in a weekend edition of a popular newspaper that is notorious for its anti Yahaya Bello stance, had the audacity to describe the court rulings on the Kogi elections as `judicial absurdity’. But majority of Kogi people don’t think so, not only have they applauded the judiciary for the forthrightness, but have gone ahead to pledge their support to the Governor.
One would have expected that every genuine stake holder in Kogi state, should by now rally around the young Governor in order to fast track the much needed development which for decades, has eluded the state due to the fact thatit had been cornered by the vultures and political scavengers.
Rather, what we are seeing from the opponents are posturing of bitterness, even after the Governor had magnanimously extended the olive branch to all who might be aggrieved one way or the other in the whole affair, to join hands with him to give Kogi a new lease of life
While we prepare for the final leg of the judicial fireworks at the Supreme Court, it is important to clarify that the issues before the court are not as complex as Hon Faleke and his few, but noisy supporters try to present them. The Supreme Court will not and cannot be expected to search for extraneous reasons outside what the two lower courts had decided in considering the merit or otherwise of the petition challenging Yahaya Bello’s election.
Section 141 of the Electoral Act clearly covers AlhajiYahaya Bello, in the sense that not only did he participate in the primary of the Kogi state All Progressives’ Congress governorship primary, he went on to participate in the supplementary election to conclude the entire process which begun with the primary. In fact, it is Hon Faleke, that is not protected under the Sec. 141 of the Electoral Act, which is being erroneously relied upon by his supporters, because he, unlike Yahaya Bello, did not participate in the primary, but was only nominated as a running mate by another candidate after the primary election
Rather than continue dissipating energy in pursuit of shadows, Hon Faleke and his sponsors would be wise to drop their hard line posture, embrace Gov. Yahaya Bello, as the right choice of the people. The hands of God have apparently manifested in what has happened, it therefore behoves on all to embrace the man with open heart so that Kogi can witness transformation and progress.
It is gratifying that the Courts have lend their weighty voice to the fact that Gov. Yahaya Bello’s nomination and subsequent election were within the law and therefore legitimate.
The youth in Kogi and the state labour unions have also pledged their support to the Governor because they trust him and share in his vision to transform the state. This vision has already begun to manifest in the volume, nature and quality of projects that are ongoing in the state right now.
Lokoja, the state capital, is currently witnessing massive intra-city roads rehabilitation and expansion. Contract for new roads have been awarded linking Lokoja with a number of rural communities. Across the state, schools are being renovated and equipped with modern teaching and learning facilities. Similarly, attention is being payed to health Institutions like hospitals and medical centres. In a number of rural communities, water supply systems are being improved upon where they already exist, while efforts are being made to embark on new water projects for communities that do not have them.
When Gov. Yahaya Bello came into office, the security situation in Kogi had seriously deteriorated with armed robbers and kidnappers operating with impunity. But today, the situation has significantly improved, thanks to Gov. Yahaya Bello’s determination and resolve to rid the state of hoodlums and criminals.
Not too long ago, the state government ensured that outstanding salary arrears of the civil servants were settled, just as it succeeded in detecting and weeding out more than twenty five thousand ghost workers from state government pay role, thereby saving the state millions of Naira that would have gone into private pockets. There is every reason to believe that the story of Kogi state is already changing from that of despair and hopelessness to that of hope and prosperity.
THIS VIEW WAS EXPRESSED BY A KOGI STATE BASED ADVOCACY GROUP