Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has said lawmakers would be the losers of the National Assembly’s proposal to change the order of elections already set by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The House of Representatives committee on electoral act (amendment) Bill had, in its amendments to the 2010 electoral act included section 25(1) into the act by reordering the sequence of the elections to start from that of the National Assembly, followed by governorship and state assembly election before the Presidential election, against the time table rolled out by INEC.
The Senate had also adopted a reordered of sequence of elections by the National Assembly conference committee on electoral Act (amendment) bill which places the Presidential as the last of the elections to be conducted in the country.
With this adoption of the amendment by the Senate, the National Assembly election is to hold first, followed by gubernatorial and state assembly polls.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had, on March 9, 2017, announced the dates for the 2019 general elections, scheduling the Presidential and National Assembly elections first to hold February 16th, 2019 while the governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on March 2nd, 2019.
The INEC, had stated its resolve to obey any amendment to the Electoral Act or time table as long as it was timely and legitimate.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after observing Friday’s Ju’mat prayer at the Presidential Villa, Governir Bello said the ‘Buhari tsunami’ that happened in 2015, where many were elected riding on President Muhammadu Buhari’s popularity would no longer happen.
“When asked to react to the NASS rearrangement of the election time able, the governor said, “I so much appreciate this. I think if you observe critically what happened in the last election where Mr. President was elected along with other members of National Assembly.
“Then we called it Buhari Sunami, where the good, the bad and the ugly were all put together and elected. It is either going to be in their interest that the Buhari Sunami will return them or everybody will be on his or her own. Let Buhari return and let Nigerians select the good ones out of the bad ones to return to the National Assembly. Which ever order it comes this upcoming general elections, I can assure you that Mr. President will win landslide and the good ones will return to the National Assembly.”
Asked if he was saying the lawmakers will be the losers of this rearranged table time, Governir bello said, “They have the choice to make and they have made their choice that the good will of Mr. President should not rob off on the bad ones. Surely, the good ones on their own account will return to the National Assembly at the appropriate time.”
Reacting to the appointment of the national leader of All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, to reconcile aggrieved party members, the governor said, it was a right step in the right direction.
According to him, “Of course. Whatever Mr. President believes in, his judgement and his wisdom, I believe in him. And I believe in his ability to bring all party members together.”
On the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) submission that Nigerians are angry, Bello said, “Yes, it is very true that Nigerians are angry but the question is who are these category of Nigerians who are angry?
“The category of Nigerians that are angry are those who used private jets to cart away Nigeria’s money in dollars out of the country to South Africa. I’m sure you are away that our money is still locked down there, such money if you bring it into the economy, a lot of youths that are unemployed will surely be employed. And of course those that have looted the country dry and normally go to the church and mosque to pay tithe are no longing doing so, of course these are the category of people that are angry.
“If you look at it critically, the farmers, those with real jobs are happy because the economy is improving. In no time we have come out of recession, our foreign reserve is increasing, no more bombing in Sambisa, no more bombing in the country, no more bombing in Embab plaza even as close as Abuja, no more bombing in Suleja and all over the country. I think those that are benefiting from these crimes and criminality will be angry and they are Nigerians. So it is important to define the category of people who are angry.
“I want to urge Nigerians to continue to appreciate Mr. President, pray for him so that the good work he has started he will complete it, so that Nigeria will be not of the woods.”
On criticisms that have followed his planned sale of some important assets of the state, the governor said, “Well, to them they call it important but to us it is not important. It is not important because they are tying down the capital and good money of the state that would have been used for other developmental projects. You don’t have an important project that is not adding values whatsoever to the lives of the people of Kogi State. And such assets can be converted and used to solve the problems that you are confronted with today.
“We are in deficit of road infrastructure, schools are in shambles, hospitals and the rest of them. So, why keeping an asset that is not yielding anything or adding value all in the name of this is Kogi asset instead of use it for what will benefit the people more and add value to the system?
“You see, this is politics playing out but we will not be deterred by some uninformed so called elites that are here in Abuja making noise. Let them come to Kogi State and compare two years of my stewardship with previous administration, then they will know that they are completely off the track. I think the people of Kogi State are with me and appreciate the much we are doing,” he said.