…assure workers of settlement of salary backlog before Nov. polls
By Lawrence Olaoye
Traditional rulers in Kogi State yesterday paid a solidarity visit to President asking him to support the second term bid of the State Governor, Yahaya Bello.
The monarchs who acknowledged the approval of N30.8 billion as the second tranche of bailout funds for Kogi state gave the assurance that workers’ salaries would be settled before the November governorship election in the state.
Bello is seeking reelection at the November gubernatorial polls amid speculations that he may have been dumped by the traditional institutions in the State.
Led by the Attah Igala and chairman of the Kogi Traditional Rulers Council, Michael Oboni, the monarchs said this was in furtherance of their endorsement of Bello’s return bid.
The Obaru of Kabba, Oba Solomon Dele Owoniyi, who addressed the press on behalf of the delegation, said: “We had to reintroduce our governor to the President. Some people in the social media are already saying we are playing politics, we are not playing politics.
“We are being realistic. When you are realistic you say things as they are. We came to reintroduce our governor to the President and demanded for normal support since they belong to the same party.
“The issue of endorsement is here, the people at home have already endorsed his Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello for second term, so we don’t need to re-endorse him in Abuja here. All we needed to do was to re-present him to the President”.
The traditional rulers also said they were at the Villa to congratulate Buhari for securing his own reelection in the last general election despite the “confusion” among Nigerians; and wished him rancour-free second term.
They further demanded better representation of Kogi State in Buhari’s next cabinet, preferably a senior Minister, instead of Minister of State.
According to Owoniyi: “Since we voted for the President and as usual, like Oliver Twist, we must demand for our rights. We decided to upgrade the list of our demands from Kogi state.
“I’m pleased to inform you that Mr. President has graciously acceded to most of our requests and has told us to go home and tell our people that he has us at the back of his mind and that he was going to approach most of these issues as they come.
“We are not comfortable with Minister of State, so our status in the federal cabinet must be upgraded to a full fledged Minister, and by the grace of God, Minister of Finance. We are happy to announce to our people at home that Mr. President has promised to treat us very well.”
They equally thanked him for approving N30.8billion as second tranche of bailout funds for Kogi so that arrears of workers’ salaries would be settled before the November polls.
“We are happy to announce too that the last tranche of bailout of funds of about N30.8 billion has been approved. So, the issue of salary arrears, allowances and pensions will be put to rest by His grace before the elections” he stated.
In his remarks, Governor Bello said he did not lead the monarchs to the Villa, but they had only sent him on an errand to secure an appointment with the President, so the visit was not his initiative.
“As their son I just needed to accompany them on this visit. As earlier stated, Mr. President in his usual manner of receiving everybody, gave us very warm reception and appreciated what we are doing in Kogi State”, he added.