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N20bn bailout: Wada faults Bello


Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

PDP, group accuse government of insincerity.

Immediate past governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada has faulted reports credited to his successor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello on the status of the N20 billion bailout fund approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He stated that there was no truth in the claim that the new administration had to apply afresh for intervention fund from the Federal Government.

According to him, it was part of the bailout fund approved for the state during his tenure that ‎the CBN released, arguing that governor Bello could not have fulfilled the conditions precedent for a state to benefit from such a fund.

“It is curious that Governor Bello announced that the CBN has approved N20 billion as part of N50 billion bailout fund applied for. It was the same N50 billion we requested for out of which N20 billion was to have been released before the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government created bottlenecks to frustrate us from getting the bailout. But the coincidence in the figures leaves a very sour taste in the mouth”, he noted in a statement issued by his media aide, Mr. Phrank Shaibu.

The former Governor wondered how the new administration could have applied for a bailout when there was no state executive council in place to approve.

Besides, he observed that the State House of Assembly ‎has not met to deliberate on the application or complete the staff audit embarked on by Bello to determine exact overhead cost of the state.

“Since the advent of the new administration, Commissioners have not been appointed. So, how could the state executive council have met to approve the application? The State House of Assembly has been in turmoil since January this year. Could some ghost lawmakers have been employed to approve the application? And has the current staff audit ended to determine the monthly workers pay? How was the so called fresh application done without meeting these conditions?” he asked.

Wada stated that notwithstanding the antics of the APC, Kogi workers and the entire nation were aware that his government was denied the bailout fund as an election strategy to deny him a second ‎term, claiming that the incumbent state chief executive knew that his days in the Government House were numbered.

The flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last year’s ‎gubernatorial election in Kogi State was optimistic he would soon return to Lugard House, Lokoja as he was sure the courts would rule in his favour soon.

Wada advised Bello not to misinform the workers and the general public as he tried to do during the May 1st Workers Day celebrations in Lokoja on happenings in his administration, pointing out that it is cheaper to stick to the truth at all times.

In separate reactions on the same issue, Kogi State chapter of the PDP and Kogi Unity Group 2015 also faulted Bello, saying, “The CBN in the release of the bailout fund to Bello had shown that it deliberately denied the last administration access to the loan to help the All Progressives Congress (APC) unseat Wada.”

The PDP spokesman, Bode Ogunmola referred to the correspondence between Kogi State Government and the CBN in the last quarter of 2015 and stated that the apex bank had no just reason not to have released the money last year.

“Political considerations held sway,” he reiterated, explaining that it was public knowledge that at that time Kogi State was a PDP state while the APC was in control in Abuja. He cited the situation where the bank pressed for additional documentation, before the formal release of the lifeline, even though no other state, which applied for the facility, was so requested at that time.

According to the PDP spokesman, the CBN in September, last year, had demanded the following; the total period covered by the Local Government Areas (LGAs)/ primary school teachers’ salary arrears claim, the total LGA staff strength/primary school teachers for each of the local governments, the report, if any, of a recent staff audit that had been conducted to identify ghost workers, status of Biometric Verification Numbers (BVN) registration/compliance by Kogi State workers and a copy of the last salary payroll for State, LGA staff and primary school teachers.”

He added that the CBN must have been surprised to receive the State Government’s response to all the above within 48 hours. Yet the money was not released. All manners of pressure and lobby was mounted to secure the release but the paymasters were set not to release the money to Wada as a sure way of ensuring he loses the election.”

Spokesman of the group, Abdulraheem Ojonimi alleged that the governor was economical with the truth before the workers when he alluded to the efforts of the last administration to access the loan as a shoddy job.

According to him, “Bello himself knows it would have been roundly impossible for his administration as presently constituted, to achieve this milestone, less than three months in office.”

According to Ojonimi, “The creeping lack of depth in the administration, the worrisome level of inexperience, the suspect human resource quality and aggregate lack of temperament and aptitude for governance of the Bello administration, cannot sustain the appropriation of this hard-worn achievement by the PDP-led Wada administration.”

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