Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, and the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the November 21 governorship election in the state, Mr. James Faleke, are now at loggerheads over the arrest of a former chairman of Ijumu Local Government area of Kogi state, Mr. Funso Olumoko, by security operatives.
Already, Faleke is at the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in the case, where he is praying the court to declare him governor as he was the running mate to the late APC governorship candidate, Priince Abubakar Audu, when the latter suddenly died in the course of the election.
HOW OLUMOKO WAS PICKED UP The former Chairman of Ijumu, which is Faleke’s local government, was arrested by security operatives in his hometown, Ekirinade, Ijumu council area at about 1.30 am following a press conference he held over the visit of the wife of the state governor, Mrs. Rashida Bello.
It was gathered that the heavily armed operatives stormed Olumoko’s residence in hilux vans and used a ladder to climb the fence of the building, smashing doors and breaking ceilings before they could effect the arrest of the former local government boss.
Olumoko, who is a relative of Faleke, was said to have spoken on behalf of the community and urged the governor’s wife to shelve the idea of coming to the town following the political crisis that resulted from the conduct of the last governorship election in the state.
THE CONTROVERSIAL SPEECH
The ex-council boss, at the press briefing, was said to have condemned the attempt by the Bello-led administration to repaint and rename the Primary Health Centre built in the community by the Federal Government in 2007 as a new project to be inaugurated by the governor’s wife.
He had said, “There is no justification whatsoever for the visit by Governor Yahaya Bello or his wife to our community now, in view of the circumstances surrounding the mandate which he presently holds, the status of our son, Hon J A Faleke in the last governorship election as the perceived rightful owner of the governorship mandate, and consequently, the likely security implication of such a visit to Hon Faleke’s hometown under the prevailing circumstances.
“The idea of the visit was fraudulently conceived to find an excuse by Yahaya Bello to rub insult on the injury inflicted on us as a community by the daylight robbery of the mandate freely given to the Audu/Faleke joint ticket of which our son, Hon J A Faleke, is the only living rightful custodian of that mandate.”
ARREST CRUDE, HIGHHANDED, SAYS FALEKE
Meanwhile, the Audu/Faleke Political Organisation has condemned the invasion of the country home and arrest of Olumoko, describing it as crude and highhanded.
In a statement by its Director, Media and Publicity, Mr. Duro Meseko, the organisation said the forceful manner the police were reported to have made their way into his Olumoko’s residence reminded people of the dark days of the military junta.
He said, “Even if the police have a case against him, are there no civilised ways to invite him for questioning, rather than resorting to this rather crude and shameful method employed?
“We call on the state government and the leadership of the police to order the release of Hon Olumoko without delay, so as not to aggravate the situation.”
GOV BELLO DENIES INVOLVEMENT
But Governor Bello has said that he should not be dragged into the issue of the council boss’ arrest, saying the allegations of complicity in the arrest of some suspected hoodlums by the police were baseless.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, said he had nothing to do with the arrest as the role of protecting lives and properties was that of security agencies.
He said, “They have the constitutional right to protect the citizens of the country. The puerile attempt at parrying the ignominy of antidevelopment agents through blame shifting will not hold waters under the present administration in the state. Politics is over. It is high time we embraced development.
“Inasmuch as we would not wantto be drawn to the unfortunate circumstances
surrounding the destruction of government properties in the area, we urge citizens of our dear state to steer clear of attempts at bringing the state into chaos.”
The statement said the governor would continue to see Kogi State as his constituency, adding that “the uncivilised conduct of a few antipeople elements will not derail the new direction of the present administration, aimed at lifting the standards of living of the citizenry.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Kogi State Command, William Anya, stated that the Divisional Police Officer in Iyara had refuted the arrest.
“In the course of investigation, the DPO said the arrest was not carried out by men of his division under which Ekirinade is located,” he said.
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