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N5 billion Kogi palliative: Strong reasons FG should suspend fund till after governorship election

N5 billion Kogi palliative: Strong reasons FG should suspend fund till after governorship election

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N5 billion Kogi palliative: Strong reasons FG should suspend fund till after governorship election

BY:LUCKY KENEDY OSE

On Thursday, 17th August, 2023, the National Economic Council, NEC, announced the approval of N5 billion palliative fund for each States of the Federation including the Federal Capital Territory as part of measures to stem the tide of hardship occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu-led administration.It’s no gainsaying the fact that Kogi people have been living in hardship and austere situation for the past seven years under the current leadership and have been accustomed to it, hence, it is considered unwise to release the fund at this time since the trajectory would not change for any good reasons, either.’
The fund could be withheld till after the governorship election slated for November 11, 2023 in the best interest of Kogi people and the decorous atmosphere needed for the electorates to cast votes for the governorship candidate of their choice. The delay does not mean denial, as Kogi people could bear hardship occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy for the next three months.
Governor Yahaya Bello is serving out his last tenure of office which he was expected to handover to his successor on January 16, 2024, but as the most interested party in this election, having fielded his cousin, Ododo Ahmed Usman as governorship candidate on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, the development has made the whole off-season governorship election, most controversial in the history of Kogi elections
This is a right step in the right direction, given that the humongous amount of money is being released to each governor with a task to direct it to procurement of food items and to use the fund for those things that would uplift the plight of the pro-poor in their various States.
In all sincerity, this is not the right time to release N5 billion to Kogi State government in view of its wrong timing in the sense that the State is facing the most contentious governorship election in less than three months and the likelihood of utilization of N5 billion for the purpose for which its meant for, is doubtful as well as it portends danger to the good people of Kogi State.
President Tinubu would be leaving eternal legacy by ensuring a level playing field in an election that his administration would be conducting for the first time.
It is recalled that in 2015, the sum of N50.9 billion bailouts which was meant to offset salary arrears of Kogi State workers was withheld from Captain Idris Wada-led administration for reasons that he was re-contesting for a second tenure of office and the bail out was announced by the former President Muhammadu Buhari at a time that it became highly suspicious that the bailout would be diverted into election.

The fund was not released to him, despite protest and agitation by workers until Wada handed over the baton of leadership to Yahaya Adoza Bello in January, 2016 after he lost the election to the late Prince Abubakar Audu which Bello eventually inherited.
The same scenario has presented itself and the governor should be treated the “the Captain Idris wada” way.As it were, there are ominous signs trailing the November 11, governorship election campaign in Kogi State since the Independent National Electoral Commission lifted the ban on June 14, and government must do all it could to lessen electoral violence, financial inducement of voters especially the vulnerable ones. Currently, there are cases of alleged collection of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs for a negotiated fee, forms are being distributed to voters to fill with detail of particulars and all forms of vices largely perpetrated by the ruling APC.
It is believed that candidates of opposition political parties contesting governorship election in Kogi and the well-meaning citizens will be united in pressuring President Tinubu, Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima and the Central Bank of Nigeria not to release the palliative fund to Kogi State in the interest of equity and fair play until after the governorship election.

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