• Says Gov Bello acted alone, defied party supremacy

The choice of Mr. Simon Achuba as the new deputy governor of Kogi State, has now spurned a fresh dust in the Kogi All Progressives Congress, as a pressure group within the party is complaining that Achuba only joined the APC in October last year.

Uba Group

Twelve days after he was sworn in as Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello finally took the difficult action of choosing a deputy, since his designated deputy, Mr. James Faleke, wholly wrought, had turned down the position.

Faleke, in the meantime, is already at the Election Petition Tribunal, where he is asking the tribunal to declare him the duly elected governor of the state. Faleke was running mate to Prince Abubakar Audu, the governorship candidate of the APC, when the latter suddenly died while the election was inconclusive. But upon the death of Audu, the APC resolved to pick Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who placed second during the party’s governorship primary, to replace Audu.

But to pick a deputy governor for Bello had remained problematic since January 27 when the governor was sworn in. Faleke refused to show up for swearingin, saying to do so would be that he had abdicated his mandate as “the duly elected governor of Kogi State.”
But after a series of political horse-trading, Bello resolved on the choice of Achuba.

A group, Kogi Progressive Alliance for Good Governance on Thursday in Lokoja, however, kicked against the selection of Achuba as deputy governor, saying such a decision “is not in the overall interest of the party and the state.

A statement by the group’s President, Mr. Sunday Adejoh, and Secretary, Mr. Alimi Rotimi, queried the decision of the governor to smuggle in the choice of Achuba when the leadership of the party had ratified Mr. Alex Akoje for the position.

The KPAGG, which draws membership from the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party, Action Congress of Nigeria and Congress for Progressive Change across the 21 local government areas of the state, further noted that the governor, being the product of party supremacy, should have listened to the voice of reason.

The group also posited that it decided to support the governor in spite of the circumstance that trailed his emergence because it strongly believed in party supremacy, maintaining that shunning the advice of the party’s hierarchy on the choice of a deputy for the state would be counterproductive.

The group hinged its argument on The Point that Achuba, who joined the All Progressives
Congress in October, last year, should not have been chosen above core party-men who had been in the opposition for a very long time and worked assiduously towards the victory of APC in the last governorship poll.
It stressed that, being a former candidate of the defunct CPC and APC in the 2011 and 2015 House of Assembly polls, respectively, for the Ibaji state constituency, as well as coordinator of President Buhari in the Idah federal constituency in both the 2011 and 2015 elections, Akoje had paid his dues as a loyal party man.

Unfazed by kicks against his choice, Bello went ahead to nominate Achuba as the new Deputy Governor of Kogi State.

In a letter to the House of Assembly, Governor Bello asked the lawmakers to confirm Achuba as his Deputy, due to the refusal of Faleke, the running mate to the late Audu, to accept the post. Without much deliberation, the Assembly on Tuesday approved Achuba as Deputy Governor

The appointment of Achuba thus creates room for people of Igala ethnic nationality to pacify their folks who became furious as their kings-man, Audu, died while clearly leading in the inconclusive polls. More so, the Igala people of the state had since its creation ruled Kogi, a position it was not willing to relinquish, thus generating bad blood among rival ethnic groups in the state. Achuba hails from Ibaji local Government Area of Kogi State and was a two-time member of the State House of Assembly from 1999 to 2007 where he was Deputy Speaker during his second tenure.