Unable to Account for N10 Billion Federal Road Maintenance Expenses of the Previous Governments, we were all expecting his second term to take off on N10 Refund, you could recalled that, on 10th October 2019, seeks refund of N10 billion Naira for Kogi state for the settlement of inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the Federal Government to the State for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has continued with his ministry of plunging Kogi State into more debts and woes in his second term just as he did in his first term with his request for yet another 35 billion Naira. Governor Yahaya Bello, according to his Commissioner for Finance, forwarded the request of a fresh N35 Billion loan . This request is coming after his first term squandered over N200 billion in allocations and bailout funds.
Governor Bello, shortly after taking the oath of office, seems to have taken back his government from the forces that held it bound. Many observers of the events unfolding in the Government House have been optimistic even though Bello is temporarily enjoying a stolen mandate that he may be up to some good. With this new request of a whooping N35 billion, one wonders if Bello will use the money for the benefit of the people of the state, to clear the backlog of salaries (even though the government lives in denial that it owes any worker) or whether Governor Bello wants to collect the money for personal use.
Wait for a shocker, as his second term campaign slogan saying, “Do More” will take more from the people than it ever did.
Bello’s government upon assumption of first term in office got the release of N10.8b for work done by the previous administrations.
Nobody knows the whereabouts of the money. That was one case of financial mismanagement too many.
While the citizens do not frown at his borrowings on political or sentimental ground, borrowing without evidence of judicious utilization under this very clueless and people-disoriented government has yet to convince them of the governor’s next step. This new borrowing may be a ploy to source money to sponsor the ongoing election tribunal. The government benefitted N10b on the heel of the November 16 governorship election, and largely used the money to rig the election in its favour. One then wonders if Bello is borrowing the money at this time that his fate is hanging on a balance to fund his court case, to bribe the Court in case his questionable election victory is cancelled or for other infrastructural provisions.
The government that is not faithful with N200, for example, will never be faithful with N20,000. Allowing Bello to go for more borrowings indirectly amounts to selling Kogi State off to a merchant of corruption and financial impropriety. The government that has the culture of non-accountability will never give account of how monies are utilized in the state. It is time every well-meaning citizen of the state rose up to the responsibility of fighting for the future of the state by not allowing Bello to access the money. This money, when given, will put the future of many of us in the state in financial hardship years after Bello is gone.
This will make it difficult for subsequent government(s) to deliver on good mandates after Bello is removed by the election tribunal.
It is time we held the state assembly members from our various constituency accountable with firm warnings of not approving this retrogressive request for N35 billion.
Usman Okai Austin
Written From Abuja.