August 12, 2016

Kogi Judicial Panel of Enquiry, not a political ploy – Fanwo

The decision of the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to set up a Judicial Panel of Enquiry to probe contracts awarded in the State between 2003 and 2016 was not aimed at victimizing political opponents but to protect the Commonwealth of the Kogi people.

The Governor, who made this known through a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kingsley Fanwo, said his administration is interested in taking stock of the past contracts in the State in order not to plunge the state into "economic crisis".

"The Judicial Panel of Enquiry to be instituted by the Governor is to hear from contractors that have questions to answer, especially CGC. Nobody is condemning them yet because as a democrat that is committed to the rule of law, Governor Yahaya Bello will ensure they are all given fair hearing.

"Upon assumption of office, Governor Bello engaged a consultant to help ascertain the state of projects across the state and find out what is needed to complete the projects since government is a continuum. The reports submitted by the firm has made it pertinent to call the contractors for some questioning as a result of some shoddy discoveries.

"The decision to start the probe from 2003 was due to the fact that the firm did not discover any failed contract prior to the period. The late Prince Abubakar Audu placed his foot on the ground to ensure his projects were completed. He will remain a great example of good leadership.

"The terms of some of the contracts awarded between 2003 and 2016 are such that could mortgage the future of our dear State. People who collected huge sums of money to execute projects abandoned such projects. As a responsible Governor, he cannot close his eyes to such financial rape on the purse of the State."

Governor Yahaya Bello also pledged to complete all laudable projects abandoned across the state, as they will have direct bearing on the standard of living of the people.

"As a government of Change, the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello is poised to redefine governance in the State. If past administrations abandoned projects, we are bound to complete them to show the difference between our government and theirs. We are not interested in complaining about the past; we are here to make Kogi prosper.

"He has told the contractors that it won't be business as usual. Kogi people deserve value for money. Contractors who have absconded the shores of Nigeria will be tracked and brought to justice if found guilty of taking part in what has brought the finances of the State to its knees."

In the same vein, Governor Yahaya Bello called on the people of Kogi State to remain eternally grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for fulfilling his electoral promise on Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Itakpe Iron Ore Company, saying the two companies will reposition the economy of Nigeria.

The Governor was quoted as saying: "Today, I am happy that Mr. President has delivered on his promise to make Ajaokuta Steel Company and Itakpe Iron Ore Company work. That it is happening in my time when fate has placed me here to serve the people of Kogi State is even more heartwarming. I call on the Kogi people to make the best use of this opportunity as we are prepared to become the steel capital of Africa."

He said his administration is determined to take Kogi to new heights and make it one of the most developed states within the next four years.

"I urge our political opponents to join us in developing our state. We have no other place to call our own. I hold no grudge against anyone. We are brothers, proud Kogites who are determined to make the state the epicenter of excellence."