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page 19 Blame yourself for your woes, APC tells Kogi govt By Muideen Olaniyi The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that it does not…

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Blame yourself for your woes, APC tells Kogi govt

By Muideen Olaniyi

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that it does not make sense for anyone to accuse it or an agency of the government of frustrating the release of the bailout funds to Kogi State.

The APC, in a statement yesterday in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described as cheap blackmail, the decision by the Kogi State government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum to blame political interference for the delay in releasing bailout funds for the state.

The party said Kogi State had no one but itself to blame for the quagmire in which it had found itself over the bailout funds, adding that the APC had no business with the release or otherwise of the bailout funds.

“This accusation is in line with the new-found propensity of the PDP to blame everyone but itself for the woes that have befallen the party in recent times. If the opposition party is not accusing the APC of colluding with the judiciary over election petition cases, it is accusing the ruling party of colluding with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over bailout funds. This is sickening,” it said.

The party said the Kogi State government should go and sort itself out with the CBN, if indeed it wants to get the bailout funds.

“Our investigations have revealed that the Kogi State government has not been able to justify the over N50 billion it is asking for as bailout funds. It is curious that the chunk of the funds which the state is asking for, over N40 billion, is for the payment of the salaries of local government workers.

“The state is saying the backlog of salaries owed these categories of workers dates back to 2011. How can that be, when Nigeria was not even broke in 2011? How can the state owe local government workers when it has been collecting N2.2 billion monthly in allocation for the councils, amounting to over N100 billion in four years?,” the APC asked.

Taraba judgment accidental discharge – Gov Ishaku

By Saawua Terzungwe

Governor of Taraba State Darius Ishaku has described his sack by the election petition tribunal as ‘accidental discharge’.

The embattled governor said he was not disturbed by the judgment.

The Taraba State election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, had Saturday, declared the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Jummai Aisha Alhassan, as winner of the April 11 governorship election in the state.

The tribunal held that Ishaku was not the valid candidate of the PDP for the election.

But the governor, who was at the PDP national secretariat, yesterday, to brief the party’s leadership on the development, expressed confidence that the judgment would be upturned at the Court of Appeal.

“I am not shaken. God is on His throne. I will defend the mandate Taraba people gave to me. I have confidence in the judiciary but there is corruption in the judiciary. Just like in every profession, there are bad eggs.

“There are good drivers and there are bad drivers. It is unfortunate that this driver [of the tribunal] was a bad driver. That judgment was an accidental discharge,” he said.

Similarly, the PDP acting national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, who received the governor, expressed shock at the ground of the nullification of the election and said the law would take its course.

He accused the APC-led federal government of using security agencies to write tribunal judgments.

Osinbajo storms Kogi to canvass support for Audu

From Itodo Daniel Sule, Lokoja

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in Okene, Kogi State, yesterday, where he canvassed support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, ahead of the November 21 governorship election in the state.

On arrival, the vice president went to the palace of the paramount ruler of the area, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, where he commended the people for sustenance of peace in the area.

Osinbajo, who later moved to the campaign ground, told the crowd of supporters that turned out at the rally to vote massively for the APC candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu.

He said the people of Kogi cannot afford to remain in the opposition, adding that they should align themselves with government at the centre.

Speaking at the rally, Prince Audu urged the electorate to vote for him, promising that he will provide dividends of democracy to them.

Town hall in Yobe as Gaidam explains financial status

Hamisu Kabir Matazu, Damaturu

Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State held a town hall meeting with political actors and stakeholders from across the state, where he explained the financial position of the state due dwindling revenues.

Gaidam said the meeting was necessary in order to proffer ways of improving the revenue of the state.

He said decline in the national revenue has negatively impacted on the state’s economy with attendant consequences on development across the state.

He said government had suspended payment of gratuity, reduced overhead expenditure by 50 per cent, and suspended financing non-essential recurrent expenditure.

He said government will embark on staff bio-metric verification to capture genuine employees of the local government councils as a measure to sanitize the councils.

Also, as a way of boosting its internally generated revenue, Gaidam said he will establish revenue courts, review taxes, duties, fees and levies to ensure effective revenue collection in the state.

He noted that the financial crisis at local government level was worse than at the state level, adding that the salary bill of some of the local governments in the state was far less than what they get from the Federation Account.

“In this regard, the state government has a plan to embark on sanitisation of the local government council payrolls through verification and bio-metric capturing of payees. In the interim, the affected local governments are hereby directed to sit down and critically look at their bills to come up with a more credible, realistic and affordable salary bill by removing ghost workers,” Governor Gaidam advised.

He also said that government will establish 500 hectares of irrigation pilot scheme in Nguru, Bolaram, Mugaram and Jumbam “to be extended through involvement of private partners as a measure to diversify income generation in the state.”

Suswam sold Benue shares worth N8.3bn – Gov Ortom

From Hope Abah, Makurdi

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said yesterday that his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam, sold the state’s shares in Benue Cement Company at the sum of N8.3 billion but lied to the citizens that the shares were intact.

The company is now being operated by Dangote Group.

Ortom told Daily Trust in an interview in Makurdi that he would deploy legal means to ensure that Suswam accounts for the state’s assets which he held in trust for the people within his eight years reign in the state.

“We are not afraid of their (Suswam) antics because that is what they have been doing even when they were here. They only tell you people (journalists) lies. Did the former governor not come out through his media adviser to deny that shares in Benue Cement were not sold? Did you not hear it, Madam?

“Why would the governor deny that shares were not sold? We have the confirmation. I have the records, shares worth N8.3 billion were sold. So how can government sell shares and come to tell the public that it did not sell? And what did he do with the money? These are the issues that must be unraveled, we must correct it because we have no other state than Benue,” he said.

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