The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has said that he is in support of the decision of the National Assembly to re-arrange the order of elections in 2019.
The two chambers of the National Assembly have approved a re-arrangement of the order of elections. In their approval, federal legislative elections will come first, followed by those of state governors and assemblies and finally presidential election. The approval has, however, not been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC had fixed the presidential and National Assembly elections to hold together first after which governorship and state assembly elections will hold.
Speaking with State House correspondents after observing Friday Islamic prayer at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Mr. Bello said he supports the decision of the lawmakers because what happened in 2015 where the “Buhari Tsunami” helped many “bad ones” among them to get elected will not happen again.
Read excerpts of the Kogi governor’s interview below.
Q: Do you believe Tinubu committee can actually reconcile aggrieved APC members?
A: Of course. Whatever Mr. President believes in, his judgement and his wisdom I believe in him. And I believe in his ability to bring all party members together.
Q: Are you happy the National Assembly’s rearrangement of the 2019 election time table?
A: I so much appreciate this. I think if you observe critically what happened in the last election where Mr. President was elected along with other members of National the Assembly. Then we called it Buhari Tsunami; where the good, the bad and the ugly were all put together and elected. It is either going to be in their interest that the Buhari Tsunami will return them or everybody will be on his or her own. Let Buhari return and let Nigerians select the good ones out of the bad ones to return to the National Assembly. Whichever order it comes this upcoming general elections I can assure you that Mr. President will win landslide and the good ones will return to the National Assembly.
A: They have the choice to make and they have made their choice that the good will of Mr. President should not rob on the bad ones. Surely, the good ones on their own account will return to the National Assembly at the appropriate time.
Q: You have followed Mr. President’s meeting with the Catholic Bishop and the submission that Nigerians are angry, what is your take?
A: Yes. I followed it keenly and one of the key statement there was that Nigerians are angry. Yes, it is very true that Nigerians are angry but the question is who are this category of Nigerians who are angry?
The category of Nigerians that are angry are those who used private jets to cart away Nigeria’s money in dollars out of the country to South Africa. I’m sure you are aware that our money is still locked down there, such money if you bring it into the economy, a lot of youths that are unemployed will surely be employed. And of course those that have looted the country dry and normally go to the church and mosque to pay tithe are no longer doing so. Of course these are the category of people that are angry.
If you look at it critically, the farmers, those with real jobs are happy because the economy is improving. In no time we have come out of recession, our foreign reserve is increasing, no more bombing in Sambisa, no more bombing in the country, no more bombing in Emab plaza even as close as Abuja, no more bombing in Suleja and all over the country. I think those that are benefiting from these crimes and criminality will be angry and they are Nigerians. So it is important to define the category of people who are angry.
I want to urge Nigerians to continue to appreciate Mr. President, pray for him so that he will complete the good work that he has started, so that Nigeria will be out of the woods.
Q: Recently, you were reported to want to sell some important assets of Kogi state and this has met criticisms, why?
A: Well, to them you call it important but to us it is not important. It is not important because they are tying down the capital and good money of state that would have been used for other developmental projects. You don’t have an important project that is not adding values whatsoever to the lives of the people of Kogi State. And such projects can be converted and used to solve the problems that you are confronted with today. We are in deficit of road infrastructure, schools are in shambles, hospitals and the rest of them. So, why keeping an asset that is not yielding any value all in the name of this is Kogi asset instead of using it for what will benefit the people more and add value to the system.
You see, this is politics playing but we will not be deterred by some uninformed so called elites that are here in Abuja making noise. Let them come to Kogi State and compare the two years of my stewardship with previous administrations, then they will know that they are completely off the track. I think the people of Kogi State are with me and appreciate the much we are doing.