Contrary to fears being expressed over the possibility of violence, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has assured the people of Kogi State, and Nigerians in general, that the governorship election billed for November 11, 2023, would be the most peaceful ever held in the state.
The governor has also clarified that he has no blood relationship with the APC governorship candidate in the state, Alhaji Usman Ododo, as alleged by the opposition.
According to him Ododo emerged as the APC governirship candidate based on merit, through a keenly contested, free and fair election.
Bello spoke at the 3rd Governor Yahaya Bello (GYB) Seminar for Nigeria’s Political and Crime Correspondents/Editors in Abuja.
On allegations and counter allegations regarding the destruction of campaign offices in the state, the governor said the APC candidate remained the most popular and loved and so would not engage in any act that might mar the poll.
“Ododo has endeared himself to the people of Kogi. How can you be the most popular candidate, positioned to win and still instigate violence?
“Ododo and I may come from the same place but we do not share any blood relationship whatsoever. Do your findings. He is a very compassionate, hardworking and competent fellow and those qualities spoke for him at the primaries,” he said.
Bello explained that part of his administration’s focus was to do away with ethnic sentiments that had set the state backwards before his emergence.
“Ethnic sentiments set Kogi back for 19 years and we must break away from that for competence.
“My administration has changed the narrative of ethnicity and has been appointing and working with competent people as against choosing people from tribes in the state.
“We raise people from different backgrounds, irrespective of their senatorial zones,” he said.
Kogi State Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said no blood would be shed because of an election.
Fanwo said that security remained key to the state and therefore the government would not be distracted from the path of peace.