The Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello, on Saturday accused some members of his cabinet of betrayal before and during the just-concluded governorship election in the state, vowing that their acts of betrayal would not be ignored.
Speaking during a closed-door meeting with stakeholders in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lokoja, the state capital, the visibly angry governor, maintained that he would “cut off” even his fingers if they decided to hinder him from “going far”.
A source privy to the meeting told THISDAY Saturday night that an angry Bello alleged that many of his so-called allies betrayed him because of his choice of Usman Ododo as his successor, describing some of them who he said were going around telling people that he disappointed them in unprintable words.
The governor maintained that he forewarned all of those he alleged to have sold him out, insisting that “all of those disgruntled elements” moved against him “after everything I did for them.”
“I was fighting known enemies while enemies within were pulling me down,” saying “God punish you all”.
He added: “They said if it can’t be me, then it can’t be Ododo. They were busy conniving and conspiring with the opposition. They call themselves leaders, but were misleading the people,” and rained more curses on them.
He told them mockingly that he was smarter than all of them, accusing them of collecting peddling lies against him. “Shame on you all,” he said.
Bello warned that if he ever heard the “leaders” threaten any of their subordinates, he would deal with them severely.
He singled out a member of the National Assembly from the state whom he said was “wrecked” by his brothers before he (the governor) revived him from his alleged financial bankruptcy.
“Today, you are a second-term serving senator. You were laughing with us while you went behind to text opposition messages to hinder our party from having 25 per cent in some local governments,” he added.
As governor of Kogi State, Bello said he had outsmarted members of his kitchen cabinet who attempted to sell him out to the opposition and used the occasion to reveal that he would issue a “questionnaire” to all the 21 local government chairmen.
He added that those who benefitted the most from his government were “the enemies within causing problems,” insisting that “I virtually provide everything for them”.
“You all combined are not 10 per cent of what I am made up of. Shame on you all,” he repeated.
Bello assured the people of Kogi West that payback time would soon come and called on leaders to educate their people and be selfless.
To the Okun people who he said stood behind the “Kogi Agenda” and “ignored their brothers with fruitless mission,” Bello promised to reward them.
Bello described the Igala nation as good people, saying: “The Igala nation are not tribalistic or racist. They are good people but the majority are being misled by poor representation.
“The genuine Igalas that I know are not ingrates. Selfish leaders misled the people. New leaders shall emerge from the east,” Bello said.
He further alleged that the transportation money meant for those that travelled home was siphoned.
Addressing a top political office holder in the state, who was present at the meeting, the governor said: “I warned you; I cautioned you. Those of you who connived and conspired, have shown yourself to the world the product that you are made of. I have been shielding my kitchen cabinet. New leaders shall emerge,” he added.
He also pointed accusing fingers at another member of the National Assembly, saying: “I gave you a ticket, gave you all the support down to the Appeal Court. I stood for you.”
He added: “Ododo has come to stay; we will never turn our back on him. He shall succeed. I thank God I never made a mistake in the choice of Ahmed Ododo. Imagine power going into the hands of betrayers.
“I took them from scratch, raised them, and fought for them but in return, they betrayed. I’m doing my best; you all portrayed the wrong image of myself at the grassroots. New leaders shall emerge!”
He reiterated his commitment to preserving the unity of the state, noting that he has made transparency his watchword in the distribution of the gains of democracy to the people.
He thanked God and President Bola Tinubu for the support which led to the victory of the APC in the November 11 governorship election, stressing that the party and its candidate, Ododo “won the election clean and clear.”
“The journey was full of ups and downs in the last seven years. But we thank God for the resounding victory. With all the obstacles before, during and after the election, the APC came out stronger.
“The time for everybody to carry his cross has come. Everybody will bear his father’s name because there is still a future,” he said.
While maintaining that Kogi State must develop as one united state, he pointed out that under no illusion must any tribe think they could vote for themselves and become Governor without the support of other tribes.
“In 2019, I won without ethnic agenda. I cautioned against tribal sentiments and asked that we desist from it before the election. I was optimistic that the APC would win the November 11 governorship election. I wanted it to be a sweet victory, the reason I cautioned against sentiments,” he added.
Bello, however, said people allowed emotions and personal and parochial interests to becloud their sense of reasoning.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Ibrahim Oyewale