Bello Promises To Make Kogi ‘Holland Of Nigeria’ Through Cattle Colonies

At a time thatvmany states have refused to go along with the Federal Government’s Cattle Colony agenda, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has pledged to make the state be the Holland of Nigeria in terms of dairy milk production and other livestock products for other states to patronise.

Bello made the promise at the Kogi State Agriculture Summit, tagged: “Moving Agriculture To The Next Level”, on Friday in Lokoja, as part of activities to mark his two years in office.

“In Holland, everyone knows that Holland produce more than a quarter of dairy milk and meats for Europe and America.

“Kogi will be the Holland of Nigeria where every other state in Nigeria will come and buy milk and other dairy products.

“They will also buy meat, hides and skin, bones, horns and even cow faeces for manure, which will translate into cash for our people.

“We are looking for opportunities to make money for our people.

“If you have a parcel of land that you are not using, what will happen is that the pastoralists will come and you rent it to them for money.

“Our youths and women will learn how to breed and keep these cows as well.

“And what will happen is that we shall have hire cross breed cows that will produce more milk and high quality meats where other states can come and buy,” Bello said.
Bellp refuted allegations that he was biased in favour of Fulani herdsmen, saying,“They said I am friend to Fulani herdsmen and hate farmers, but they are all falsehood on the pages of newspapers and television.

“We are telling the people that we are tolerant in Kogi, we love our neighbours and seizing and maximising the best of every opportunity.

“Very soon we will tell our Fulani brothers not to take their cows across border to sell again.

“We will ask them to drop their cows in Kogi, and we will rent your land to them to stay.

“A land where people can come and buy, pay tax to government and they will settle the land owners.

“That your land that is there and not generating anything will become a hot cake.

“These are the various benefits we will derive from our coexistence with Fulani herdsmen.

“This is the way we are going to go; in the next six months we shall begin to see the economy of Kogi transforming very rapidly.

“The Federal Government and international agencies are bringing money, grants to Kogi to support livestock production, including keeping these cows in form of ranches in one particular area with facilities called ‘cattle colonies’”.

The governor restated his determination to support President Muhammadu Buhari in implementing his manifestos as far as revolutionary in agriculture was concerned.

He charged youths to forget yhe era of “free money”. “We must return back to farm. Let us key into various programmes of this government, especially in agriculture, he said. “All that is required is your interest and the land… You own your land, we shall give you fund, farm implements and create the market for you, what else are you waiting for?

“Why can’t we tolerate our Fulani bothers and sisters who have lived with us for a very long time? And you want them to leave now to go where?

“We have to be tolerant, we have to tolerate one another, it is out of tolerance that we gathered here today.

“We develop the culture of tolerance by accommodating one another.

“Hold on to your land, we will teach you how to use it judiciously to make huge money in the state; our land is our oil wells that can never dry,” Bello said.

Gov Bello Belongs To PDP, Faleke Tells Tribunal

Former running mate to late ‎Prince Abubakar Audu, Hon. ‎James Faleke, yesterday, alleged before the Kogi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, that ‎Governor Yahaya Bello, is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Faleke, who is laying claim to the Kogi State governorship seat, mounted the witness box yesterday to testify in support of the petition he lodged before the tribunal.

Led in evidence by his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Faleke adopted several statements on oath and documents which he filed in respect of the petition, as his evidence, and prayed the tribunal to accept them and declare him governor of the State.

‎He insisted before the tribunal that contrary to the position of the ‎Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the November 21, 2015, governorship election in the state was conclusive with the winners known.
While being cross-examined by INEC lawyer, Dr. Alex ‎Izinyon, ‎SAN, Faleke said he was not aware that governor Bello was a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

“My lords, I am fully aware that Yahaya campaigned for the Peoples Democratic Party during the election”, he told the tribunal.
More so, the petitioner who equally joined the APC as a respondent to his petition, said he was not also aware that governor Bello contested primary election of the party with late Prince Audu.

Faleke said he was duly informed that Audu resounding won the primary contest, saying before the primary held, himself and others were sent out of the venue by the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai on the ground that they were not delegates.

Asked whether he was aware the November 21, 2016 election was inconclusive, the petitioner said the results were announced both at polling units ward collation centre and State collation centre.
He said votes were recorded for all participating candidates and parties, noting that the returning officer erroneous claimed that the over 49000 registered voters in 41 polling units that did not cast their votes were higher than the margin of votes scored by the APC.
Similarly, Faleke, while responding to a question by counsel to governor Bello, Mr. Joseph Daudu, SAN, maintained that at no point did he see himself as an independent candidate.

He said he was a loyal member of the APC who is only aggrieved by the action of the INEC.
Faleke told the tribunal that Audu died at about 8am and INEC declared the election inconclusive at about 4pm.

He contended that though he is currently representing Lagos state in the House of Representatives, the 1999 constitution allowed him to contest election in Kogi State, being an indigene of the state.

‎Meanwhile, ‎the Justice Halima Mohammed-led three man panel tribunal has adjourned further hearing on the matter till today.

Specifically, Faleke went before the tribunal to challenge the refusal of INEC to declare him as the valid winner of the governorship election in Kogi State.
He is praying the tribunal to declare that INEC acted wrongly when it declared the outcome of the November 21 gubernatorial poll inconclusive.

‎Faleke who is currently representing Ikeja II Federal Constituency, Lagos, contended that the initial election had produced a winner in late Prince Audu, saying his death arrogates to him, the status of Governor-elect.

Insisting that he had a joint ticket with late Audu, Faleke argued that INEC should not have declared the election inconclusive since they had already secured enough votes to warrant the declaration of a winner on the basis of the total number of votes that were cast.

Women’s Day: Kogi Governor Recommits To Women Empowerment

As the world marks the International Women’s Day, the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has reiterated the commitment of his administration to formulate and implement policies that will improve the quality of life for the girl child and women in the state.

In a statement signed by Petra Akinti Onyegbule, the Senior Special Assistant on Electronic Media to the Governor, in commemoration of this year’s event, improving access to quality education for all including girls, and ensuring women have access to enhanced maternal healthcare will go a long way in achieving this goal.

He noted that women contribute significantly to the growth and development of the society, emphasizing that ensuring gender parity for equality was not an option but a necessity.

Efforts by the state government to partner with the organised private sector and foreign development partners in sectors like agriculture and tourism will also see Kogi women get directly involved in the sectors, as well as along the value chain.

Worried by the trend of women who shun professional healthcare on religious and cultural grounds, sometimes at the risk of their lives, His Excellency has identified religious and traditional institutions as strategic partners in the mission to propagate the message of gender parity.

The Governor is convinced that for Kogi State to move with the times, women and families in general must learn to accord health and education their rightful place. Only then can they be very useful to themselves, and contribute meaningfully to the state.

Buhari, APC, Others React To Death Of Minister, Ocholi

TRAGEDY struck, yesterday, as the Minster of State for Labour, Chief James Ocholi (SAN), his wife and son died in a fatal auto crash along Abuja-Kaduna highway.

While Ocholi, 55, and his son, Aaron Enojo, 20, died instantly, his wife, Blessing Fatima, a Registrar at Salem University, Sokoto, was said to have died later from injuries sustained in the crash.

It was gathered that the wife slipped into coma before she finally gave up the ghost in the hospital.

The late minister and members of his family were said to be travelling in his Prado SUV.

Explaining how the minister and his family members died 57 kilometers away from Kaduna, Kaduna State Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Francis Udoma, said the rear tyre of the SUV they were travelling in burst, while the vehicle skidded off the road and somersaulted several times into the bush.

Udoma, who made this known in a telephone chat with newsmen in Kaduna, yesterday, said: “The rear tyre burst and the vehicle somersaulted into the bush. The minister and his son died on the spot, the wife died in the government hospital at Doka, Kaduna.

“His driver, the chief detail, the orderly and the P. A. (Personal Assistant) were injured and are receiving treatment.”

The news of the minister’s death reportedly rattled the Presidency, which deployed some members of the cabinet to receive his remains at National Hospital, Abuja, last night.

They include Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal; Governor Yahaya Bello Kogi State; Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole; Dr. Jaf Momoh, and Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Tayo Haastrup.

Reacting to the accident, President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement by Garba Shehu, his spokesman, described Ocholi’s death as untimely, regretting that Nigeria had lost a key component of the change agenda.

He also described the deceased as an accomplished and patriotic Nigerian, saying: “Barrister Ocholi was an accomplished and patriotic Nigerian, who was keen to accept the call to service at a time his country needed him.”

The President remarked that in the few months Ocholi had been in office, he had already begun to distinguish himself through his commitment and dedication to his portfolio, adding that Ocholi had a long record of political association with him.

Buhari also extended his condolences to the government and people of Kogi State, who he described as having lost a distinguished and irreplaceable son.

This was even as he also sent the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr David Babachir, to formally convey the news to members of the deceased family as well as his church and prayed that God comforts and grants them the grace to bear the loss.

“The entire country mourns the loss of this great man, who has sadly left us when we need him most,” the President said.

Also reacting to Ocholi’s death, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State expressed shock and described him as a pragmatic and dynamic lawyer.

Bello in a statement issued, yesterday, in Lokoja by his Chief Press Secretary, Kingsley Fanwo, described the late Ocholi as a pragmatic, dynamic, humane and brilliant law officer, who was known around the world for his dexterous approach to legal and political issues and one of the most unswerving constitutional lawyers Nigeria has ever produced.

“The governor recollected with nostalgia how the late Senior Advocate of Nigeria joined other progressive minded individuals around the country to drive the intellectual pillars of the All Progressives Congress. The late Ocholi was a complete gentleman, who was irrevocably committed to the advancement of Nigeria,” Fanwo said.

The governor also described the late minister as a detribalized Nigerian, who believed in the oneness of the nation, summing up his death as an irreparable loss to Kogi State, Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress and the legal profession.

Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Umar Imam, said the late minister’s quest for peaceful resolution of every issues, be it political, community or otherwise, endeared him to the hearts of the people.

Umar in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Bawa Dangana, said though the death occurred at a time he was needed most, the people of the state would take solace in the agitation of the late minister to ensure that peace reigned in the society.

The speaker urged the family to take solace in God, and urged the people of the state to take lessons from his death and pursue peace at all times.

Erstwhile Minister of Labour and Abuja lawyer, Nwadiala Emeka Wogu, in his tribute, described his death as shocking and saddening.

He said: “It is very sad and shocking and a big loss to the legal profession. The labour movement will miss him, given his active involvement in the peaceful resolution of industrial issues.”

The All Progressives Congress, APC, in reaction, described the death of the minister and his son as shocking and a monumental loss.

APC National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, in a condolence message, said the late Ocholi, who was the party’s Deputy National Legal Adviser, would be remembered for his selfless service to the country as minister, party, legal profession and his home state, Kogi.

While extending his condolences to the people and government of Kogi State, Buni prayed God to grant Ocholi’s immediate family the fortitude to bear the painful loss.

A condolence message by his friend, Mr. Sebastian, read: “It is simply unbelievable that my good friend, James Ocholi, SAN, is dead. Worse is that he died with his beloved wife and child. This is most tragic. This is most shocking.

Death, where is your victory? ‘Where is your sting? Christ overcame you and rendered you comatose on that Old, Rugged Cross when He resurrected with tempestuous power. I mock you in most un-mistaken terms.”

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State in a statement yesterday, said Kaduna State government was in deep shock over the loss.

El-Rufai, through his spokesman, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, said the accident was devastating.

He said: “The state government extends its heartfelt condolences to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Ocholi family.

“Our condolences go to members of the Federal Executive Council and the entire nation. The minister died at a critical time when his contributions in the ongoing national rebirth and realisation of the change mantra are needed. May the Almighty God grant their souls eternal rest.”

In his reaction, NBA President, Augustine Alegeh, SAN, said: “It is a sad and shocking news. It is unbelievable. James was a devout Christian, a consummate bar man whose knowledge of law stood tall.

“He was modest, unassuming but very clear-headed and efficient in the discharge of his duties. He contributed immensely to the development of the bar. This is a very sad and painful loss to the entire bar. We pray for the safe recovery of his wife and others involved in the accident”

Labour analyst, Mrs. Funmi Komolafe, said: “His (Ocholi) appointment was seen as an indication that the Buhari administration was set to move the ministry beyond dispute resolution and strikes.

“It was the first time that the ministry had a Minister of State. Before his appointment, the ministry always had a minister. Successive governments never saw Labour as a key ministry that deserves a Minister of State. “Ocholi died before he could make his mark or justify his appointment.’’

Reps Move To Resolve Kogi Assembly Dispute

The 10-member House of Representatives fact-finding committee on the Kogi State House of Assembly crisis has commenced work with a charge to all parties in the dispute to maintain the status quo.

The chairman of the committee, Hon. Pally Iriase who said this to newsmen in Lokoja on Thursday after a meeting of the members with the state governor, noted that the mission of the committee was to look into the alleged crisis and find a way forward.

He directed all parties in the leadership crisis to allow the provisions of the constitution to prevail, pending the final resolution.

Iriase also dismissed a report that a court had restrained the committee from sitting, saying that the House of Representatives was not aware of such a court order.

According to him, the committee, which will sit in Lokoja for days, has concluded arrangements to meet with the two factions in the house and other stakeholders.

Also speaking with journalists on the matter, the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello described the crisis currently rocking the house as a minor misunderstanding.

He said that the issue of leadership was a mere nomenclature, saying that all members were equal.

Bello said that the leadership crisis preceded his inauguration as the governor of the state on Jan. 27, and that it would be wrong for anybody to say that he was behind it.

The governor promised to invite the two factions for amicable resolution of the misunderstanding and thanked the House of Representatives for the timely intervention.

The Nation

Kogi Tribunal To Commence Hearings March 4 And 8

The Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, has fixed March 4 and 8 to commence hearing of suits lodged before it by Hon. James Faleke of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the immediate past governor of the state, Capt. Idris Wada, rtd, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The petitioners are praying the Justice Halima Mohammed-led three man panel tribunal to invalidate the process that led to the emergence of Governor Yahaya Bello as winner of the gubernatorial election that took place in Kogi State last year.

Specifically, Faleke went before the tribunal to challenge the refusal of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare him as the valid winner of the governorship election in Kogi State. He is praying the tribunal to declare that INEC acted wrongly when it declared the outcome of the November 21 gubernatorial poll inconclusive.

Faleke, through his team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, contended that the initial election had produced a winner in late Prince Abubakar Audu, saying his death arrogated to him, the status of Governor-elect. Wada went before the tribunal to protest what he termed, “gross irregularities” during the polls.

The Vanguard

Kogi Assembly To Serve Newly Sworn-In Dep. Gov. Impeachment Notice

The Kogi State House of Assembly has announced plans to serve an impeachment notice on the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Simon Achuba.

The Speaker of the House, Honourable Momoh Jimoh made the plans known at a news conference in Abuja on Friday.

Honorable Jimoh denounced his impeachment by five members of the House adding that the notice of impeachment would be served on the Deputy Governor for allegedly instigating crisis among members of the House of Assembly.

The Speaker also announced the suspension of the five members who announced his impeachment saying their action is a clear violation of the rules of the House as the five members failed to form a quorum before announcing his impeachment.

Five lawmakers in a 20-member House sat on Tuesday and purportedly removed the Speaker.

The lawmakers also chose Umar Imam as the new Speaker of the House.

Friday Sanni, who briefed reporters about the impeachment, said the Speaker was impeached for not carrying other members of the House along in the affairs of the House.

He also claimed that since the new Governor, Yahaya Bello and the Speaker are both from the same senatorial district, the Speaker should vacate the seat.

Meanwhile, 15 members of the House who were seen at Hon. Jimoh’s residence insist Hon. Jimoh remains the Speaker and that their signature was forged to perfect the impeachment.

Newly Sworn-in Governor Yahaya Makes Three Appointments

The new governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has appointed Mr Edward Onoja as his Chief of staff and Alhaji Abdulkarim Abdulmalik as his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy.

Newly swoin-in Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello
Newly swoin-in Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello

A statement issued in Lokoja on Wednesday to newsmen also said that Mr Kingsley Fanwo has been appointed as the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor.

The statement said all the appointments took immediate effect.

The statement was personally signed by the new governor.

It described Onoja, the new Chief of Staff, as a tested administrator who rose to management positions in several blue chip companies in financial, and oil and gas sectors.

He hails from Ogugu, Olamaboro local government area of the state.

It said Abdulmalik, the Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, was prior to his appointment, a seasoned journalist, social media expert and media consultant based in Abuja.

He hails from Ihima, Okehi local government area of the state.

It added that the new CPS hailed from Takete Ide Amuro in Mopamuro local government area of the state.

Fanwo, the statement said, was until his appointment the Lokoja Correspondent of the Vanguard newspapers.

While congratulating the appointees, Bello demanded “utmost commitment” and “humble service” to the people.