Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Kogi State Government has said the recent visa ban imposed on politicians alleged to have rigged the November 2019 election in the State by the United States of America was an ‘overreach and unacceptable’ saying it negates the verdict of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which said the election was largely free and fair.
In a state broadcast Thursday morning marking Nigeria’s 60th Independence Day Anniversary, Governor Yahaya Bello said it sounds strange that a foreign country will meddle in state affairs.
‘The recent Letter of Protest from the Kogi State Government to the United States of America through her Embassy in Nigeria was strictly in the service of our sovereignty and nothing more, or less,’ the Governor said in his address.
‘The Nigerian Judiciary up to the Supreme Court having ruled that the polls by which we were reelected were substantially compliant with our laws, we see no way a foreign country can contradict the Judiciary and in essence overturn her verdict and still claim to be acting in any good faith.
‘The US action was therefore most unfair, an absolute overreach and we needed to let it be known that we find it unacceptable.
‘My overriding mindset as a leader is that governance is far too important to be reduced to a popularity contest. This is why my need to be liked will always come a distant second to my need to be a great and transformational Governor to Kogi State and all Kogites.
‘It is also why my administration will continue to do what we consider best for our people and state without hesitation, fear or favour,’ the Governor said.
While saying his administration has done its best to lay a good foundation and provide durable democracy dividends to the people, he said he was handicap with the dwindling r monthly evenue allocation and the huge debt incured from past administrations.
‘To give you an idea of the huge scale of this problem, let me inform you that this administration has had to clear over N50billion in salary obligations inherited from previous administrations.
‘The bulk of that money was borrowed and along with our other debt obligations continues to impede our ability to free up funds for infrastructural and other development as we would like. Those who actions hurt our state and people must face a reckoning,’ the Governor threatened.
Saying security has remained a permanent priority of his administration, Governor Bello said since his first term, ‘we have arrested dozens of armed robbers, kidnappers and other violent criminals and out them behind bars. Many others have been wasted in gun-battle when they dared to confront our gallant law enforcement agents and vigilantes.
‘Be assured that we will never relent in our efforts to rid Kogi State of these antisocial and criminal elements.’
The Governor who observed one minute silence during the broadcast for those who lost the lives in felele tanker Inferno where o et 40 people lost their lives, said work has already started on the road and assured family of the victims of prompt support.
On the state of the country, the Kogi Governor remarked: ‘Every Nigerian will agree that our journey together has been a challenging odyssey. It is a credit to our unbroken will to succeed and our resilience as a nation of diverse peoples that we have made it thus far despite plenty of milestones in our history where we could have messed it up, or missed it totally.
‘Those who look at Nigeria and see a dysfunctional polity or as some irrationally say, ‘a failed state’, can only do so because they have refused or otherwise failed to acquire a dynamic understanding of our ongoing metamorphosis.
‘We are not great because we have gotten it right in all respects, because we have not. We are great because we have what it takes. We have been blessed by our Creator with an abundance of the human resources and natural endowments we need to become or to achieve anything we want.
‘All that remains is for us to get our act together – in citizenship and civics, but more importantly, in leadership and governance,’ he added