KOGI 2019: Making A Case For Kogi West And Tunde Irukera, By Bala Haruna

The race to the gubernatorial elections in Kogi State this year is intense and peculiar for several reasons. Apart from the fact that the incumbent has betrayed the trust of the people with non-performance that has made it impossible to pay workers’ salaries and execute projects, the issue of fair play and equity among the various zones have come to the front-burner. Of the three zones in the State, only the West – the second largest ethnic group, have never ruled the State. Therefore, it becomes pertinent to dissect the credentials of a prominent son of Kogi-west and what his candidacy portends for the State.

Babatunde Irukera, the present Director-General of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) comes across as the perfect alternative to Gov. Yahaya Bello. A cosmopolitan and a technocrat with vast international exposure and connection will be the breath of fresh air that Kogi desperately needs at this trying times. It will be recalled that he contested the 2015 elections but as a faithful and loyal party man, he stepped down at the last minute for Late Abubakar Audu. What happened in that election is now history as Audu, the presumed winner passed on before the official declaration of results while his Kogi-west deputy, James Faleke was eventually prevented from ascending the throne based on some alleged lacuna in the electoral act. However, not a few people believed that Kogi-west was schemed out of the Governorship by vested interests. Compensating Kogi-west with the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial ticket now becomes imperative in the interest of justice and fair play. Given the level of resentment the people of the confluence State have for the incumbent and by extension the APC, the party needs to field someone deemed a break from the norm with a record of performance in both public and private sector, that is where Irukera comes in. Born on the 4th of September 1968 in Kaduna state, Irukera hails from Egbe, Yagba West. He studied law from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife and upon graduation in 1989, he proceeded to the Nigeria Law School in Lagos in 1990.  In 1995 he proceeded to the United State of America, where he carved a niche for himself as a successful Immigration expert in 1996 after passing the Washington State Bar examination at first sitting, a year after arriving America.

In 1997, he started a partnership ( Thomas & Irukera) which ultimately became Partners, Attorneys & Counsellors, both in Chicago. As DG of CPC, he is responsible for the daily management of the Council and leadership in fulfilling its mandate to protect consumers and secure remedies when consumer rights are violated. His record of advocacy and cases in favour of consumers is outstanding and provides the clarity that both the Council and industry need in ensuring due regard for customer service and protection of consumer rights. Irukera has to his credit key sector related consumer protection advancements including advising the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority with respect to its role in sector consumer protection. He led the initiative in developing current aviation consumer protection regulations as well as the Passenger Bill of Rights. He also led the team that revised existing aviation economic regulations and superintended a comprehensive regulatory and parliamentary investigation into anti-competitive behaviour by foreign airlines. He has also provided capacity-building and advisory services to federal agencies and other clients with respect to competition/antitrust issues. He co-authors the Nigerian chapters in a range of competition/antitrust-related widely regarded international publications. Apart from his intimidating credentials, what stands him out is his strong corporate network which he has garnered over the years as DG CPC. This will come in handy to develop Kogi State as corporate organisations will find Kogi State a viable destination to do business with Irukera in the saddle. The APC already bedevilled with a string of gubernatorial losses in Adamawa, Bauchi, Imo, Oyo, Sokoto and just recently Zamfara – adjudicated by the Supreme Court, cannot afford to gamble with Kogi State. The people of the State groaning under the current leadership of Gov. Bello are yearning for a viable alternative to liberate theState. The APC must not by its acts of omission or commission handover the State to the opposition. The party can reinvent itself by fielding a man of integrity, competence and charisma like Babatunde Irukera. Indeed, the party can kill the proverbial “two birds with a stone” – placate Kogi west to entrench equity and give the State afresh start with Irukera. The way to redemption can’t be better defined. Bala Haruna, a political analyst and Kogi State Indigene wrote from Abuja.

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Kogi Gov donates 104 patrol vans to Army, Navy, Police, others

The Kogi State Police Command has rated the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello high on issues of security in the state.

In a chat with members of the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) in his office on Thursday, the Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Williams Ovye Aya lauded the state governor for providing patrol vans and other logistics for security operatives in the state.

DSP Aya said Kogi state is relatively peaceful when compared to what it used to be before the incumbent administration came on board. He noted that although there is no perfect security in any part of the world but there is always room for improvement.

”The state governor has been committed to ensuring adequate security of lives and properties of Kogi residents by providing all needed logistics since inception of his tenure,” he said.

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Fake News: Osinbajo Never Said Kogi Govt Will Be In Trouble

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo never said Kogi State government will be in trouble if he had died in a helicopter crash, transcript of his goodwill message has revealed.

Newspaper and online platforms had published reports that Prof. Osinbajo had claimed that the Kogi State Government would be in trouble if he had died in the helicopter crash.

Speaking at a special thanksgiving service at the Banquet Hall in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Prof. Osinbajo thanked God for his live and for surviving the crash.

God is truly worthy of praise and thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Him enough. I and my family, and so many of us here today have so many reasons to thank Him.

Occasionally, my wife and I reflect on how unlikely our journey here is. She frequently reminds me that all she wanted was a quiet life as one of the many families of academics living on the university campus. That was all that I promised, and that’s all that she really expected, but here we are.

If someone had said to me in 2013, “you will be campaigning across the country; attending rallies and that you would win the elections and become the Vice President of Nigeria”, I would, because I am generally polite, have said amen, but in my heart, I would have said what a crazy chap!

Anyone who knows how difficult it is to campaign for Local Government Chairman and win, will understand how difficult it is to accept that merely because someone said so, that you would be elected into any position. I’m sure many of us here today, also celebrating the success of the elections, national assembly members and governors-elect also, would accept that except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain who build it. It is impossible to know the outcomes of anything. It is the Almighty God who brings about the wonderful phase that we celebrate and thank Him for.

I realize that I have no special qualification to be here or to have enjoyed such an incredible promotion. Psalms 75:6 says for exaltation comes neither from the East nor from the West nor from the South, all the exaltations comes from God.

Psalms 75:7 says but God is the Judge; He puts down one, and He exalts another. I want to thank the Almighty God for exaltations. I want to thank Him also for all of us here present, and those believing God for exaltations. I believe the Lord God Almighty would promote you also in Jesus name.

On the 2nd of February 2019, God gave me and members of my family, friends and colleagues, even further reasons to know that if not for His mercies, we would have been consumed. We were going to Kogi for a two-day campaign tour, and then our helicopter crashed as we got in to land at Kabba. You know how it is when things happen, everybody becomes spiritual; everybody becomes a prophet, people saying why and how?

I remember in the split second when the incident occurred, for a second, there was absolute silence and nobody said anything. It was my brother who started shouting Jesus Jesus Jesus! But for a moment, there was complete silence in the helicopter.

On reflection, it occurred to me that if we had died, that is what would have happened, complete silence, nobody saying a single word. A few minutes later with all of the activities, all of us got out of the helicopter without a scratch. God is surely worthy to be praised!

I reflected over the various problems that would have occurred; the smaller problems would have been the rumours, how did it happen? Who did it? Why did they do it? With the way we are, I just felt sorry for so many people who would have been involved in conspiracy theories of things they knew absolutely nothing about. But God delivered them too because they would have had to explain themselves.

We bless the name of God that He not only wrought such a great deliverance, but that He did it in such a way that only He could take the glory. We give all the glory to Him!

I want to thank everyone who has supported in so many different ways, all through the campaigns and elections, so much support and prayers, so much love and kindness. I pray that the Almighty God would be kind to you also, you will never lack in support, you will never lack in care and affection, you will never lack the genuine prayers of those who want you to succeed in the mighty name of Jesus.

I pray that all of us will travel in aircrafts and the Almighty God will always deliver. It is by His grace that we are delivered. It is not by anything we do or we are careful not to do.

I recall that there was a gentleman who was talking about how it is always good to exercise, but another friend of ours reminded him that there was a particular gentleman who we all knew very well, who died while exercising. So I think that all we can depend on is the sheer grace of the Almighty God.

So we praise the Almighty God and I want each and every one of us who believes that the Almighty God is worthy of praise, shout one mighty halleluiah!

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2019 Elections: Kogi Governor Vows To Bring Perpetrators Of Killings To Book

Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has vowed to bring those behind the killings and pockets of violence recorded in the last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly, in some parts of the state to justice.

He said that such acts were inimical to the zero tolerance stance of his administration, and as such will be investigated and those behind it made to face justice.

The governor Wednesday in a radio broadcast to the people of the state thanked them for their massive turnout and voting to return President Muhammadu Buhari into office.

He described Buhari’s second term victory at the poll as a watershed moment.

He said: “The reelection of Mr. President along with his able running mate, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, marks the watershed moment of the 2019 general elections, and in particular, the presidential and National Assembly Elections.

“I thank the great people of Kogi State for their massive turnout and peaceful conduct. This amply demonstrates your commitment to the democratic process characterised by free and fair elections.

“We have done our best to complement your aspirations by placing the credibility and integrity of the electoral system above any desires to win every contested seat, and by all available means.

“Despite initial teething pains and some malignancy in the campaigns, we did our best to provide the secure and conducive atmosphere needed by our people to exercise their franchise freely. In the end, the good people of Kogi State spoke loud and clear that despite any shortcomings, government at state and federal levels have acted substantially in line with their mandate.

“The voice of the people is the voice of God. Our people have resoundingly insisted that while change must now make way for progress, the All Progressives Congress still remains their preferred driver for the journey ahead.

“As a government, we have been forced to function with only one federal legislator in the entire state, so the outcome of these elections is a great victory and a precious gift to us by you. By your votes, you have improved our abilities to function well as a government by giving us a majority of the elected federal legislators. It will now be easier for what belongs to us to be harnessed in Abuja and brought home for the benefit of our communities.

“I am saddened by the pockets of violence which marred the elections in some constituencies and led to loss of lives and properties. I am particularly pained by the death of Mr. Daniel Usman who came out to exercise his civic duty to vote only to have his life cut short by a stray bullet at Anyigba. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and to all those who may have suffered unjustly in any other manner.

“Most significantly, I also give them my word that we will ensure they get justice by getting to the roots of the problems and bringing all perpetrators to book. We will ensure that legal action is taken against individuals and institutions which prevented or disrupted the conduct of elections in some polling units across the state.

“Our stated objective of zero tolerance for crimes and insecurity remain intact, thus we cannot condone such recklessness or neglect to punish them.

“As we prepare for the state Assembly Elections on March 9, we again urge our people to troop out enmasse and cast their votes. It will help the conduct of government business greatly if our people can also help us again by voting people at all state constituencies who will not delay or totally derail the business of government with unnecessary party politics. Nevertheless, we reiterate that our primary commitment is for everyone to come out and vote their choice without any form of duress.

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Vice President Osinbajo Promises Improvement Of Cashew Product

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has promised to improve processing of cashew products in Kogi state to make it viable and create more jobs.

Osinbajo made the promise in Idah, Kogi state while addressing monarchs and people of the area at the Attah Igala’s palace.

Professor Osinbajo said government was investing massively in agriculture and that farmers would be getting loan facilities that would aid them in the cashew business.

According to the Vice President, the administration was targeting about one million jobs through its social investment programmes for youths to improve their means of livelihood.

Professor Osinbajo insisted that arrangements were being finalized to revive the Ajaokuta steel complex in view of its importance to Nigeria’s industrial development.

Attah Igala, Doctor Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni, the sector lauded federal government’s efforts in improving the economy and security noting that people of Igalaland would remain supportive of government.

In a remark, Kogi state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello solicited Federal government’s intervention in exploitation of the state’s abundant natural resources as well as resuscitation of Ajaokuta steel complex.

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Kogi Judiciary Staff Embark On Indefinite Strike

The Kogi State chapter of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, has directed its members to embark on an indefinite strike action over unpaid six months salaries by the state government.

In a statement signed by the Secretary of the judicial staff, Comrade Sule Subaru on Monday night, the union said after an emergency meeting, it resolved to shut down the courts indefinitely with effect from Tuesday.

Subaru said; “The Exco commends members for their endurance and faith in the union despite untold hardship inflicted on them by the non payment of salary by the state Government”.

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Gov. Bello Donates N7m To Churches

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has donated N 7 million to 11 churches in support of their projects with N2 million of the amount going to Christ the King Catholic Church, Okene and N500, 000 each to other churches in Central Senatorial district of the state.

Alhaji Abdulmalik Abdulkarim, the Director -General, Bureau of Information and Grassroots Sensitization, disclosed this in a statement he issued in Lokoja on Tuesday.

He said Bello announced the donation during a service to round-off the centenary celebration of the Christ the King Catholic Church, Okene, adding that the money was meant to assist the churches in their various projects.

Bello, who was the Special Guest of honour at the event,congratulated the church  on its 100 years of existence in Ebiraland and pledged to donate coaster bus to aid its evangelism.

Abdulkarim quoted Bello, as commending the past and present leadership of the church for immense contributions to peace and harmony in Ebiraland and urged other churches to emulate the church by preaching the gospel of love, peace, unity and religious tolerance.

According to Abdulkarim, the benefiting churches are : Gospel Assembly Church, Nagazi, Adavi, Mountain Crusader Church, Ihucheba, Adavi, St. Andrew Anglican Church, Lafia, Okene, Deeper Life Church, Obehira, and St. Paul Anglican Church, Okengwe.

Others are: Christ Apostolic Church, Oboroke, Okehi, St. Peter Anglican Church, Ihima,  Gospel Assembly Church, Iruvusechi, Eganyi, First Baptist Church, Ajaokuta and Catholic Church, Ogori.

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Governor Bello Calls For Peace Among APC Aspirants

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has directed that aspirants under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) across the three senatorial zones in the state must enter into a peace accord as means of assuring peaceful primaries to elect qualified candidates that will represent the people at local, state and national levels in the 2019 general elections.

Governor Bello gave the directive at the APC stakeholders and aspirants meeting at government house in Lokoja, the state capital.

He encouraged aspirants to support each other.

He called on those who do not scale through the primaries to accept the defeat with hope for a better future.

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Flood Sacks Over 150 Households, 64 Villages In Kogi

About a 150 households in 64 villages have been trapped by the recent flooding in Kogi State.

The flood was reportedly caused by the overflow of the banks of the Niger and Benue rivers, and killed one adult and a child.

Several communities affected include Kpaku, Nury, Ekwurika and Babasu in Kogi Koton Karfi Local Government Area.

Meanwhile, the Kogi state Ministry of Environment and the State Emergency Management Authority, in collaboration with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), have started gathering data of persons affected by flooding across the state.

The national and state emergency officials say plans are in place to resettle affected persons.

The flood displaced persons alsoexpressed gratitude to the authorities for their intervention and called for a permanent solution to their problem

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NCAN Kogi Chapter Visits SDGs Focal Person In The State To Strategies For Buhari

The Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network (NCAN) kogi state chapter today, paid a courtesy visit to the Special Adviser to Kogi State governor on Sustainable Development Goals and the state Focal Person, Arc. Abdulmumeen Ahmed Okara after the group successfully purchased the Nomination and expression form for
President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group was led by the State Coordinator Hon. Shehu Otuoze Yahaya and Miss Mariam Muazu the deputy State Coordinator.
In his Statement, Hon. Shehu stated that having purchased the nomination form for President Buhari, the mission now is to deliberate and map out a strategic plans towards his return in the 2019 presidential election.
Re-echoing the National Coordinator of the organisation, Hon. Yahaya said “We have decided to pool our meagre resources and purchase the expression of interest and nomination forms for President Buhari as he presents himself to our party members to be chosen as its candidate for the 2019 general election. Our members from various villages, local governments and states have contributed to make this happen.”
He said the group and other interested parties must now work to ensure the victory of the president at the polls.
In his reaction, Arc Abdulmumeen Ahmed Okara expressed happiness with the good strides and kind gesture from the group, saying that there is no doubt that Mr. President has, both in action and word, been working to lay a foundation for a greater and prosperous Nation that our generation and future Generations will be proud of.
He said under his Administration, “Nigeria has become a country sought after for investment in the world. Nigeria has assumed its leadership role, not just in Africa, but the world.”
“President Muhammadu is much more better as a leader, he might not have met the expectation of some people, but definitely he has made and is making Nigeria better that what it was. And it is the norm, apparent success of his administrations, manifest in his second term so that he can successfully complete the good job he is currently doing, stems from Security, Economy, Agri revolution, health, improvement in our infrastructural facilities and strengthening our foreign policies.”
The meeting had in audience an APC front runner for the House of Representatives in the state,  Hon. Joseph Asuku Bello who came to pay homage to Arc Abdulmumeen Ahmed Okara in his office. “Engr. Joseph Asuku commended the efforts of Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network and pledged to support them in any way he could.
“We acknowledge the challenges we face today as a nation, but we are not oblivious of what the situation used to be especially in the immediate past adminsitration that brought us here. This is why we believe that in spite of what we may be going through, we can only get better if we support the path to the greatest that has already been set in motion which in many ramifications is worthy of consolidating,” Engr Asuku concluded.
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Kogi Govt Appeals To Residents To Leave Flood-Prone Areas

The Kogi state government has advised residents of flood-prone communities in the state to relocate to a safer place, to avoid loss of lives and property.

Sanusi Yahaya, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, made the announcement in a statement in Lokoja.

“The Kogi Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources wishes to announce to members of the public, especially those in the nine flood-prone local government areas to relocate.

“In view of the heavy rainfall recorded so far this year due to climate change, as well as the high volume of water from tributaries of Rivers Niger and Benue, which has led to steady rise in water level of the rivers, as confirmed by our monitoring team,

“This development may likely cause flooding in some flood-prone LGAs: Omala, Bassa, Kogi/Kotonkarfe, Lokoja, Ajaokuta, Ofu, Idah, Ibaji, and Igalamela/Odolu.

“The Ministry, therefore, strongly appeal and request the people living in these flood-prone LGAs, particularly those living close to river banks, to start moving to safer ground, to avoid loss of lives and property in the event of flood,” Yahaya said.

He said that the state government had started preparing temporary shelters for flood victims in the event of emergencies.

Yahaya assured the people that the protection of their lives and property would continue to be given utmost attention by the new direction administration of Gov. Yahaya Bello.

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Why We Want Buhari To Continue Beyond 2019 – Kogi Gov

Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said the decision of “patriotic Nigerians” to extend Buhari’s Presidency beyond 2019 was borne out of a genuine desire to deepen good governance and transparency in Nigeria.

The Governor who stated this on Saturday while fielding questions from some selected international media said the President has saved the nation from economic calamities as a result of “deep stealing by the previous administrations in the country”.

“As far as we know, Nigerians are happy and satisfied with the performance of Mr. President. He is honest man who is trusted by the international community to take Nigeria to the promise land and will therefore be re-elected next year by the masses of this great nation.

“It is unfortunate that the opposition was doing everything to bring the nation down to justify their desperation to return to power. When a child defecate on a chair, it is expected that the chair will be cleaned and allowed to dry before the child can sit on it again. The Nigerian system is undergoing serious cleansing process and Mr President should be allowed to conclude his Nigerian rebirth Agenda.

“Those who love Nigeria and the strides of Mr President want him to continue the rebuilding process. Our nation was a subject of international scorn for corruption and insensitivity to the plight of the masses. Today, the respect is back because of the personality of Mr President.

“Our economy is looking up and it is trickling down to the states. Kogi State has keyed into the agricultural policies of the Federal Government to create more jobs and wealth. Our youth and vibrant populace now see a career in agriculture.

“The Federal Government has been very supportive of our war against criminality in the state; the same way the war against insurgency has been waged with serious mindedness.

“Nigerians surely do no want the gains of this administration reversed”.

On the current crisis rocking the National Assembly over calls on Senate Bukola Saraki to resign his position, Bello said he has nothing more to say after the National Chairman of the party had stated the position of the party.

“Our National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has stated the position of the party. I have nothing more to say about it.

“What I will just tell Nigerians is that it is not enough to have President Muhammadu Buhari. They must also strive to vote equally patriotic Nigerians into the National Assembly to work with Mr President to make Nigeria great. We must have a National Assembly that has the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians at heart”.

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