*Demand finance minister position for state
Traditional rulers in Kogi State on Wednesday pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to support Governor Yahaya Bello’s second term bid in the state’s governorship election slated for October this year.
They also told the President that they were no longer comfortable with minister of state post, that their status in the federal cabinet must be upgraded to a full fleshed minister and specifically the Minister of finance post.
Led by the Attah Igala, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni, the President Kogi State council of chiefs, the monarchs who said they were in Presidential Villa in a solidarity visit to President Buhari, also asked him to support Governor Yahaya Bello for his second term bid.
Governor Bello is seeking reelection as the gubernatorial polls are held next November, amid speculation that he may not be endorsed by all traditional institutions in the State.
The Obaru of Kabba, Oba Solomon Dele Owoniyi, who addressed the press on behalf of the delegation, said they were at the Villa to also congratulate Buhari for securing his own reelection in the last general election, and wished him well in the second tenure.
They equally thanked him for approving N30.8billion as second tranche of bailout funds for Kogi so that arrears of workers’ salaries, pensions and allowances would be settled before the November polls.
Owoniyi said, “We came for three basic things, one to felicitate with and congratulate him for winning the last general elections. We co congratulated him because the election was so hectic and so many Nigerians were confused, they didn’t know what to do. But to God be the glory at the end of the day the president came back for the second term and his mandate was revalidated by most Nigerians especially in Kogi state.
“Secondly, we came to pray for him that this last lap is very critical in the checkered history of Nigeria and it is our wish and prayer that all the aspirations of Mr. President will come to fruition without much rancour.
“Thirdly, like the chairman of the traditional rulers said, the Attah of Igala said, he had come to upgrade what he called the shopping list. Since we voted for the president and as usual like Oliver Twist we must demand for our rights, we decided to upgrade the list of our demands from Kogi state. I’m please to informed you, ladies and gentlemen that Mr. President has graciously alluded to most of our requests and has told us to go home and tell our people that he has us at the back of his mind and that he was going to approach most of these issues as they come.
“Fourthly, we had to reintroduced our governor to the president. Some people on the social media are already saying we are playing politics, we are not playing politics we are being realistic. When you are realistic you say things as there. We came to reintroduced our governor to the president and demanded for normal support since they belong to the same party, the issue of endorsement is not there, the people at home have already endorsed his excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello for second term, so we don’t need to re-endorsed him in Abuja here, all we needed to do was to represent him to the President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of Nigeria.
“So we are very happy that Mr president received us very well and the traditional rulers have reconfirmed their support for both the federal and state governments. And we are happy to announced too because our governor announced it there, that the last tranche of bailout of fund of about N30.8 billion has been approved. So the issue of salary arrears, allowances and pensions will be put to rest by His grace before the elections. So we are confident that this federal government we are going to have a good deal with it and by the grace of God since we are supporting Mr. President, it is natural and normal for him to pay us back in the right coins. So we are happy to announce to our people at home that Mr President has promised to treat us very well. Like the chairman of our traditional council said, we are not comfortable with minister of state, so our status in the federal cabinet must be upgraded to a full fleshed minister and by the grace of God Minister of finance.”
In his remarks, Governor Bello said he did not lead the monarchs to the Villa, but they had only sent him on an errand to secure an appointment with the President, so the visit was not his initiative.
He nonetheless, thanked the traditional rulers for their overwhelming endorsement and pledged not to let the people of the Kogi down if they elect him again.