By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has assured the electorate that the November 11, Governorship Election in the state would be peaceful, orderly and without rancour.
Bello disclosed this while addressing a mammoth crowd of All Progressives Congress (APC) members and supporters who thronged the Okene campaign ground, Agassa Junction on Saturday in Okene.
An apparently elated Bello told the overwhelming crowd of supporters that the Ahmed Usman Ododo/Joel Oyibo Salifu ticket was the best thing that could happen to the state as they were most qualified and experienced to deliver good governance.
The governor who expressed undiluted appreciation of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s political sagacity and achievements, pledged total loyalty to the President and assured him that the state, under his watch, would continue to stand on his (Tinubu’s) mandate.
Elated Bello who bursted into a chorus, “On Your Mandate We Shall Stand” commended the president for providing the the pedestal saying, that Nigerians were benefitting from his years of struggle and fight for enthronement of democracy.
On security and peaceful conduct of the upcoming election, Bello said he was in charge and would ensure nothing goes wrong.
“From Kogi East to Kogi West to Kogi Central. Today, I am in charge. I am assuring you, Mr. President; I am assuring you, our National Chairman, Your Excellency, Umar Ganduje, that in APC, in Kogi State, there will be no violence.
“I therefore urge all the security agencies to please sit down, do your job professionally and ensure that all the bad eggs are removed from our system.
“I crave the indulgence of all the citizens of Kogi State to please come and let us unite. Let us unite under the leadership of Ododo. Let us unite under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the goodies and dividends of democracy”, Bello said.
Speaking earlier, Prince Shaibu Abubakar Audu, Minister of Steel Development and Director-General, Ododo Joint Campaign Council, premised Ododo’s “imminent victory” on the tripod of wide acceptance, legacy consolidation and massive job opportunities.
He revealed that part of Ododo’s mission was to revolutionize Agriculture in Kogi State saying there would be a boost in agricultural practices with massive crop production across the three Senatorial Districts of the State.
“There are also going to be massive job opportunities for the people of Kogi State and the people of Kogi Central. Also, from the Federal level, the Federal Government is interested in the revitalization of Ajaokuta Steel Plant.
The President has given an instruction for us to declare Ajaokuta an industrial park. The President is also interested in ensuring that the Free Trade Zone scheme across Nigeria is reviewed, so that we can consider declaring Ajaokuta a free trade zone.
“Once those things are done, massive job opportunities will be created in Ajaokuta, where up to 500,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created.
“For us to do that, the President has said that we cannot afford to outsource or to hand over a critically important state as Kogi State to a hostile opposition party. This state will remain resoundingly APC”, the Minister said.
Also speaking, Hajia Barr Halima Alfa, an APC stalwart commended Governor Bello, for bringing a new dimension to the strategy of political dynamism in Kogi State saying that though a prophet was never acknowledged at home, Bello was well appreciated I. Kogi Central.
“I have been coming to Okene for rallies since 1999 but I have never seen this type of crowd come out in Okene like today. Which means this prophet is appreciated in his hometown.
“And this prophet has brought another prophet that is also being cherished in his hometown. Kogi Central is no doubt APC. History will no doubt be made come November 11, as the district will produce the highest vote for the APC,” she enthused.
The APC Governorship Candidate, Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo, pledged to build on the achievements of governor Bello ranging from security, education, health care, infrastructure, human capital development, and above all, the elimination of violence, crimes, and communal crises.
Ododo described his candidacy as a mandate for the development of Kogi State saying, “As such, we are coming to build on the legacies of His Excellency, Yahaya Bello, under the New Hope agenda of Mr President.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to run a peaceful campaign. We will continue to run an issue-based campaign, because His Excellency, our leader, has done a lot for us here in Kogi State.
“So much that we should be able to use to convince and campaign to our people why APC should be the only adopted political party as far as Kogi State is concerned”, he said.
Other personalities who spoke at the rally include the state APC chairman, Abdullahi Bello (Dollar); Pharm. Jamiu Asuku, Chief of Staff to Governor Bello; Mohammed Ibrahim Idris, sone of former governor of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris.
Highlights of the rally was massive defection of members of the SDP, PDP and other political parties in the state to the ruling APC. (Ends)
KONGONET condemns violent attack on Kogi REC, calls for investigation
***Says, attack senseless, reprehensible, affront to democracy.
By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
KOGI NGOs Network (KONGONET) has condemned in strong terms, the Friday morning attack on the residence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kogi state, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet.
In a statement signed by Amb. Idris Ozovehe Muraina, Chairperson KONGONET, made available to newsmen on Friday in Lokoja, the Network described the attack as senseless, reprehensible and an attack on democracy.
“We, the members of Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), express our utmost condemnation and outrage over the heinous and senseless attack on the residence of the REC of Kogi State, perpetrated by unidentified gunmen in Lokoja.
“This reprehensible act of violence against a public servant is not only an attack on the individual but also an assault on the democratic principles that underpin our society.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioner will play a crucial role in ensuring transparent electoral litigation processes as the head of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi State.
“Targeting such a key figure is an affront to the integrity of our electoral process and an attack on the democratic fabric of our nation.
“We demand that the authorities take immediate action to bring the perpetrators of this despicable act to justice”, he said.
Muraina urged security agencies to conduct a thorough and diligent investigation into the attack on the residence of the REC saying it was imperative that the actors behind the heinous act were swiftly identified and brought to justice.
The KONGONET Chairperson noted that an attack on a public official entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring free, fair, and credible elections was an attack on the very foundation of our democracy.
“We call upon the security agencies, particularly the police and relevant investigative bodies to allocate the necessary resources and expertise to thoroughly investigate this incident.
“It is crucial that no stone is left unturned in uncovering the truth and apprehending those responsible for this senseless act of violence.
“The residents of Kogi State and Nigerians at large deserve to know the truth behind this attack. We demand a transparent and unbiased investigation that leaves no room for doubt or suspicion.
“KONGONET reiterates its commitment to the principles of justice, accountability, and transparency. We stand firmly against any act of violence that seeks to disrupt the democratic process and undermine the peace and stability of our state”, he said.
Thugs loyal to Gov Yahaya Bello behind attacks on Kogi REC, Kogi SDP alleges
The Muri/Sam Campaign Council under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has condemned the assassination attempt on Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet, the INEC Resident Commissioner for Kogi state.
The Campaign Council and the party allegea1d that the attack was carried out by thugs loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello.
In a statement issued by Isaiah Davies Ijele, the Director of New Media of the council acknowledged thatthe timely intervention of the Army, prevented potential tragedy.
The Council called for thorough investigation to fish out those involved in the assault on the INEC Resident Commissioner.
The Council also demanded swift action from the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, urging impartiality and caution against targeting SDP members over the incident.
The statement reads:
”We strongly condemn the assassination attempt on the INEC Resident Commissioner for Kogi state, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet, which took place in Lokoja at approximately 2:00 am this morning, December 1st, 2023. The attack was carried out by thugs who are loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello.
”Election should not be treated as a war, nor should it be a matter of life and death. If the election was won fairly and transparently, then the legal process should be allowed to run its course without interference.
”However, it is unacceptable for thugs, in their high numbers yesterday, to be subject to fake protests, insisting that, on no account should forensic teams be allowed to do their jobs.
”We are grateful for the timely intervention of the Army, as the man and his family could have been wiped out overnight. The attackers also burnt his vehicles and took other valuables. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in a democratic society.
”Those individuals who have been involved in these attacks on INEC REC must be held accountable for their actions. We call for all those who have been involved in the protests, inciting violence and making provocative statements, to be apprehended and brought to justice.
”The Kogi State Commissioner of Police Bethrand Onuoha must carry out his duties by arresting the culprits and holding them accountable. We also urge the Commissioner of Police to refrain from victimizing loyal members of SDP and focus on finding the actual offenders.
”We stand with Dr. Longpet and his family during this difficult time, and we will continue to work towards a peaceful and transparent electoral process.
”Murtala Yakubu Ajaka and his Party SDP are not protesting anywhere around the nation as we are already in court to seek redress, and as such; we call on Commissioner Bethrand Onuoha to arrest those protesters in the name of SDP and its Candidate Murtala Yakubu Ajaka if he’s an accomplice of the protest.”
Attack on Kogi REC: APC calls for immediate arrest of SDP candidate, Ajaka
BY Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Campaign Council in Kogi state has called on the Nigeria Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies to immediately effect the arrest of Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governorship candidate in the just concluded November 11 off-cycle election.
In what it described as the slide into anarchy in the state, the APC Campaign Council, said Ajaka and his supporters allegedly masterminded the attack on the residence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lokoja in the early hours of Friday.
Mr Kingsley Femi Fanwo, Director of Media and Publicity/Spokesperson for the Campaign Council, Kingsley Fanwo, who made the allegations at an emergency press briefing on Friday, said SDP was trying desperately to cover the “heist committed in Kogi East” in corrupting INEC documents.
The APC Campaign Council said the attack was perpetrated days after it alerted the nation of plans of SDP thugs to attack INEC.
“The same arsonists also had an attempt to burn down the Kogi State Government House foiled by our eagle-eye security agents. The same attempt was foiled at the State APC Secretariat in Lokoja.”
“They have finally done their worst by attacking the residence of the Kogi State INEC Commissioner, engaging security agents in a fierce gun battle and eventually burning down some vehicles in the residence and in the area.”
The Campaign Council alleged that the SDP candidate and his “collaborators” were attempting to corrupt certain documents in INEC before handing them to their legal team.
“We have no problem allowing legal teams to access documents and materials. It is the norm. But we won’t allow any desperate blood thirsty politician tamper with the true verdict of the Kogi people.
“The bold-face criminality being perpetrated by the defeated SDP candidate and his violent gang of criminals was as a result of the lack of consequences over the gruesome killing of an APC supporter, Khadijat, at Kotonkarfe by agents of the SDP. They had imported thugs from neighbouring states into Kogi.
“They shamelessly came out to say Khadijat was bearing an arm. Till date, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and his gun welding killers have been moving freely on the streets.
“If they had been arrested for killing an innocent woman, they wouldn’t have had the gut to attempt to attack the Kogi Resident Electoral Commissioner.
“We also told the world of plans by the SDP to burn down the INEC Office in Lokoja. We thank the Police and other security agencies for protecting the INEC Office.
“Frustrated by the watertight security around INEC, the gun throttling SDP criminals went to the residence of the Kogi State INEC Commissioner in an attempt to kill him.
“They were engaged in a fierce gun battle and they resorted to burning vehicles and other valuables around the area.
“After their violent protests a few days ago, our people have also moved to Lokoja to ensure their mandate is protected. Resorting to assassination and arson will never help the Social Democratic Party and their confused candidate”, he said.
Fanwo said now was the right time to arrest Ajaka before “he throws Kogi into a state of anomie. Democracy is the expression of the wishes of the people. Those wishes have been expressed and no amount of bullets can silence the voice of the ballot.
“We are calling on the Police, DSS and other security agencies to immediately arrest the slide to anarchy by arresting Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and his co-swimmers in the pool of violence.
“We have cautioned our supporters to remain calm and the call will be more effective if the anarchists are immediately apprehended and prosecuted”, Fanwo said. (Ends)
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