Kogi Governor under fire over lack of transparency, failure to account for N20 billion bailout fund
Posted by News Express | 7 February 2017 | 2,256 times
Governor Yahaya Bello.
Chairman Public Accounts Committee, Kogi State House of Assembly, Elder Friday Sanni Makama, has slammed Governor Yahaya Bello for not “exhibiting transparency in the running of the state’s funds, especially the bailout fund released to him by the federal government for the payment of workers’ salaries”.
He accused Governor Bello of failing to give account of how his administration utilised the bailout fund reported to be more than N20 billion approved and released to the state by the federal government to offset backlog of workers’ salaries, which he said has led to untold hardships, hunger and death of many genuine workers who have “illegally been declared ghost workers by the state government.”
Elder Makama, who is representing Igalamela/Odolu constituency and a staunch critic of Gov Bello’s administration, said in an interview yesterday in Abuja that not long ago his committee wrote a letter, as part of the legislature’s oversight function, to the governor for explanation “on where the bailout fund was deposited; how much was released; and the bank it was deposited.” He said by the time he was granting interview to the press, the state government had not deemed it fit to provide his committee the required information. “It is saddening that Kogi under Bello has been able to pay salary for only one month out of 12 months he has already spent in office, while sacking more than 30,000 workers in the state government. Before he came into office, his predecessor, Governor Idris Wada was owing state workers only three months. With so much money coming to the state, Kogi does not deserve to treat its workforce the way Bello is dehumanising them,” he said.
Elder Makama expressed regret that “a state like Kogi with many intellectuals and people of sound minds could be administered with utmost secrecy and recklessness by such a tyrannical administration like that of Bello.”
He added that if Governor Bello did not have something to hide, he would have been bold enough to furnish his committee and the public, the required information on the state’s bailout fund. He said the state’s auditor-general, who is now heading the committee for the screening of the work force in the state, which he described as ethnic cleansing against a particular tribe has severally acted the script of his principal, by refusing to give details of the state’s finances whenever it was demanded by the state’s House of Assembly.
“The auditor-general would always tell the House with arrogance that he is not accountable to us; the only person he is accountable to is the governor,” he added.
The Kogi State House Public Accounts Committee Chairman expressed regret that Gov Bello’s excesses in the state have continued unabated because Kogi, according to him, was under the siege of the state’s chief executive.
According to him, “The state’s House of Assembly is not in charge. Although one cannot accuse them of being money-minded, they have allowed themselves to be intimidated, especially in the unjust screening of workers that has led to death and hunger in the land. They are afraid of violence, threat to their lives and fear that they may lose their means of livelihood. It is sad.” Elder Makama said by now impeachment action would have been initiated against Governor Bello for his illegalities but “we do not have an Assembly that is bold to initiated impeachment action against the governor. They cannot come out with strong position .Even at my level, I am under the watch of the governor because of my stand against him, and my life is not safe. But I will not remain quite like others while the state is being run into a big mess.” He said he now regrets throwing his weight behind Governor Bello when he assumed leadership of the state “even for an election he did not contest or win”.
He said his action stemmed from his belief that a young man like Bello should be given the chance to bring about the required change. According to him, “I was carried away by this sentiment that a young man should be in charge of Kogi once more. Although I have been a PDP person, I keyed into the Bello project to help him succeed. I thought he would make a difference for our generation. I never knew he would lead us into this mess.”