Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said his state will give President Muhammadu Buhari more votes in 2019 than the president’s home state of Katsina.
Mr. Buhari has not formally declared his bid for re-election, but his comments and actions have made clear he will run again.
Mr. Bello said Kogi State APC had already endorsed the president for a second term was merely waiting for the right time.
Excerpts of the interview:
Q. What is the latest regarding payment of salaries in your state?
A. In Kogi State today we are up to date as far as salary is concerned. In the month of December, like Mr. President magnanimously assisted us with another tranche of Paris Club Refund, our own figure was N1.2 billion and some other change on top.
We didn’t just stop at that, we borrowed up to N10 billion and we added November/December allocation to our figures and we were able to clear four months at a stretch before Christmas and some left over were cleared before this January in Kogi State.
As you all know, the salary was very bogus and according to the figure we had we were able to distribute it among these months. So glory to God as far as Kogi State is concerned.
Moving forward from this January, we have decided that we are going to make use of our clock-in device for every civil servant in Kogi state both at local and state levels. So that as you come to work and clock-in, that is exactly how your salary will be generated. It is online, it is automated so nobody is going to cheat anybody. That is how we are going to go in the state so Kogi state civil servants, pensioners are all happy with this administration. Thanks to God and Mr. President for his magnanimity.
A. In Kogi State today we have done tremendous work as far as security is concerned.
In the months of November, December and this January, there has not been any single case of armed robbery, kidnapping — even mere stealing.
One attempt was made, as I speak the DSS in collaboration with Army and Police have apprehended a particular gang that attempted to snatch a vehicle from a citizen.
The security operatives are collaborating with us, we are spending a lot on security. So collaboration between the security agencies and understanding by the people; they are giving us a lot of information and we are treating them with utmost secrecy and we are working harmoniously together.
Let me digress, the Fulanis in Kogi State are equally collaborating with us — even the criminal elements amongst them — they are the ones even apprehending them and handing them over to the security agencies. So we are living very harmoniously with the Fulani herdsmen, farmers and the citizens. Travelers are safe day and night because anywhere you go you see security operatives and we have even vigilantes, hunters that are equally assisting us in our farms and so many other deserted areas. So Kogi is very safe.
Q. What was the rationale behind giving masquerades N2 million and vehicle each that you are being criticised for?
A. I think I’m just hearing that for the first time. But let me just tell you that in Kogi State, first we promote culture, two we don’t give millions to masquerades. In our culture, masquerades are our ancestors, I don’t know how a masquerade will go and spend money? Is it in the grave? They are supposed to be spirits and I don’t know how masquerades will spend money. There is nothing of that nature at all.
Q. What’s your thoughts on Buhari and 2019?
A. I’m sure you are following us as we are receiving decampees from PDP and all other political parties. And any time we hold any decamping rally in any local government you will see the mammoth crowd that turns out. So Kogi State has already endorsed President Buhari for second term, we are just waiting for the time to come. You are going to see the votes that will come out of Kogi State, it will dwarf that of Katsina State I can assure you.