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Bello Dissolves State Executive Council, Appoints Accountant-General, others

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From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has taken a decisive and strategic action on Monday, January 8 by dissolving the State Executive Council.

The statement from Onogwu Muhammed, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, said the move served as a recalibration of the governance trajectory and signifies the initiation of the comprehensive transition process as the ‘New Direction Administration’ gracefully concludes its tenure.

Heads of agencies, parastatals and other appointees are also affected by the announcement.

While making the announcement at the end of the State Executive Council Meeting on Monday, at the EXCO Hall of the governor’s office, governor Bello commended affected officials for exemplifying unparalleled commitment, diligence, and unwavering patriotism throughout their tenure.

The commendation bestowed upon the outgoing Executive Council members during the session on Monday echoes the governor’s appreciation for their years of dedicated service to the state.

Bello wished them success in their future endeavours, a sentiment extended to all heads of agencies and other appointees whose roles are now concluded.

Government officials affected are instructed to ensure a thorough and proper handover process, transferring all government documents, properties, and materials to the Permanent Secretary of their ministries or senior government officials.

However, the governor retained the following members of the council and aides; the Secretary to the Government, Mrs Ayoade Folashade Arike; PhD, Rtd Navy Commodore Jerry Omodara, State Security Adviser; Hon Sunday Faleke, Deputy Chief of Staff; Alh Oricha Umaru Shaibu, Director-General, Government House Administration; Barr Mohammed Sanni Ibrahim, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; Abubakar Bashir Mohammed, Commissioner for Solid Mineral and Natural Resources; Kingsley Olorunfemi Fanwo, Commissioner for Information and Communication.

Others are Commissioner for Rural and Energy Development, Mohammed Ihiezue Abdulmutalib; Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Asiru Idris Asiwaju; Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Abdulsalam Ozigi Momodu; Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Wemi Jones; State Auditor-General, Yakubu Yusuf Okala; Special Adviser to the Governor (government House Imam), Musa Bashiru Ohu, Special Adviser on Political Matters, Hadi Ametuo.

Others also retained by the governor are; Dr Abdulazeez Adams Adeiza, Personal Physician to the Governor; Onogwu Muhammed, Chief Press Secretary to the governor; Sunday Bamidele Ayenibe, Director- General Protocol; Afolabi Joseph Raji, Special Adviser on Special Duties II; Moses Okezie-Okafor, Director-General; Research and Development, and Ahovi Salami Ibrahim.

Not affected by the dissolution are all domestic staff to the governor and deputy governor including those of their wives.

Similarly, the governor appointed the following persons to fill the vital vacant positions in the state: Habibat Oyiza Tijani, State’s Accountant-General, Abdulrazaq Muhammed, Executive Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, Yakubu Siyaka Adabenege, Auditor-General for Local Governments, Kadiri Mohammed Okeji, Special Adviser on Finance, Isah Taofeeq, Director-General, Project Monitoring Agency.

In order to strengthening the security architecture of the State in the area of intelligence and information gathering, governor Bello also appoints the following persons as Security Advisers from all the Federal Constituencies of the State;

Goke Okparison, Zonal Security Adviser, Okene/Ogori Fed Constituency, Mustapha Aliyu Aka’aba, Zonal Security Adviser, Ajaokuta Fed Constituency, Salami Joseph Omuya, Zonal Security Adviser, Adavi/Okehi Fed Constituency, Olorunleke Moses, Zonal Security Adviser, Kabba/Ijumu Fed Constituency, Muhammed Mundi, Zonal Security Adviser, Lokoja/Koton Karfe Fed Constituency.

Others are Pius Kolawole, Zonal Security Adviser, Yagba Fed Constituency, Kabiru Adaji Zonal Security Adviser, Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency, Ayuba Nana, Zonal Security Adviser, Ankpa Federal Constituency, and Abu Odoma, Zonal Security Adviser, Idah Federal Constituency. These appointments take effect immediately.

Bello charged the newly appointed officials with a clarion call for total commitment, unwavering patriotism, and steadfast dedication in the discharge of their duties.

The governor added that efficiency, competence, and the relentless pursuit of progress must be prioritised.

POLITICS

Edo Election: PDP Approves Delegates List

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has approved the delegates list for the Edo State Governorship Election Primary to nominate a candidate for the Sept. 21 governorship election in the state.

It has also approved the conduct of the Edo State Governorship Election Primary for Thursday, Feb.

22 at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.

The NWC in a statement by the PDP’s Spokesman, Hon.

Debo Ologunagba yesterday charged all delegates, aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders, members of the party and the public to note the official date and venue and be guided accordingly.

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POLITICS

Benue Diaspora Lambasts Benue National Assembly Caucus, Enumerate Alia’s Achievements

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

A political group, under the umbrella of Divine Mandate Benue Diaspora (DMBD), on Sunday said Governor Hyacinth Alia has recorded remarkable achievements within seven months of his administration more than other governors that had ruled the State in the past.

The group further said it is regrettable that a surge of political manoeuvring had unfolded over the recent months, marked by numerous politicians vying for recognition and relevance thereby portraying the administration of Alia in bad light and unjustified criticisms.

The DMBD is an arm of governor Alia’s campaign group, who pulled human and material resources together to galvanized support for his victory during the 2023 governorship elections in the State

Speaking at a press conference in Makurdi, the State capital, the group Chairman and Lagos State coordinator, Mr.

Akpur Emmanuel, said the group have not just become a beacon for leadership recruitment in Benue State, but also presented a wonderful brand, in person of Alia and cannot fold arms to continue to watch the brand tossed about and distracted from delivering on his campaign promises and mandate.

Mr Akpur, while reacting to remarks by the Benue National Assembly Caucus who claimed that governor Alia had embezzled security votes of about N3 billion and  unlawfully dissolved the local government council chairmen, development they alleged were responsible for the insecurity in the state, said such accusations must be condemnable.

He explained that Alia’s administration had succeeded within seven months where past leaders who stayed longer years in office failed.

The group’s chairman stated that Alia has embarked on unprecedented projects including construction of 16 township roads and flyovers within Makurdi, purchased 300 metric tons of fertilizer and sold them to farmers at subsidized rate.

“Fr. Alia’s administration stands out as it is taking the bull by horns in exercising the hydra-headed demon of non-payment of salaries and uncanny reference to pensioners as dead people as it was the case in the previous administration.

“Our action governor has also wasted no time in domesticating the federal government approved new retirement age for primary and secondary school teachers, thereby retaining seasoned hands within the bedrock of our educational system.

“Knowing fully the financial challenges in the State, Governor Hyacinth Alia has taken the registration of WAEC and NECO examinations for SS3 students from government approved schools as responsibility of his administration. This is a step to enhance development in education.

“Contrary to the puerile remarks by the national assembly members concerning insecurity, Fr. Alia has continued to interface with various security agencies of the Federal Government to set the necessary security safeguards to guarantee the return of the IDPs to their ancestral homes and instituted a regime of fair and equitable distribution of both relief materials and palliatives to all.

“As they look to ingratiate their personal selfish agenda, we direct their attention to the fact that the Alia administration in collaboration with the Federal Government is currently constructing the dilapidated Otukpo-Enugu road.

“Alia cannot share money as it was done in the past. We urge this group of distractors to familiarize themselves with the nation’s constitution which clearly outlines the responsibilities of every office at each level of government.

“It is imperative that the national assembly members concentrate on their constitutionally mandated duty of representing their constituencies effectively at the national level.

“It is regrettable that, since 1999, the people of Benue have witnessed minimal impact from their representatives in the national assembly, whether in terms of employment opportunities or the execution of constituency projects contrary to what we observe in the States where we reside.

“We unequivocally implore our current representatives in the national assembly to refrain from becoming agents of mass distraction to the committed governor”, Akpur stated.

He however called on the people to emulate the governor’s focus and diligently work towards delivering the benefits of democracy to the constituents they are representing.

The group Chairman further enjoined every Benue indigene particularly those in leadership positions to come together and collaborate for the well-being of Benue populace.

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POLITICS

Gov Alia Raises Alarm over Plot to Destabilize His Administration

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State, on Sunday, raised the alarm over plots by some forces in Abuja comprised of some members of the national assembly to destabilize his administration.

Governor Alia further said he smelt this on many fronts, particularly, following the torrent of divisive concoctions sponsored in the media by these same agents of underdevelopment.

The governor particularly made reference to the senate minority leader, comrade Abba Moro, whom he said has been a serial beneficiary of the caretaker committee system in Benue state under the same 1999 constitution as amended.

Alia in a statement by his chief press secretary, sir Tersoo Kula, made available to newsmen in Makurdi, noted that comrade Moro has served in the same capacity in Okpokwu LGA some years back and wondered why Moro could alleged during a press briefing in Abuja recently that, the dissolution of the former elected LG Councils by the Benue State House of Assembly is the cause of insecurity in Benue state,

“The government of Benue state is worried because such insinuation coming from a person of Moro standing should not be overlooked.

“Benue people should ask Moro to unravel more about what he knows of the root cause of insecurity as it relates to the dissolution of elected LG councils. Our suspicion is that Moro may be discreetly cooking crooked plans to destabilize the state to justify his assertion.”

“We have also viewed the actions of Philip Agbese as a deliberate attempt at misinforming the people with the vicious aim of creating an uprising against the government of His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia.

“Agbese blatantly, during a press conference in Abuja, lied about security votes for the state. We make bold to state unequivocally here that the security vote for Benue has never risen to N1bn needless to mention N3bn under Rev. Fr. Alia’s administration. So, Agbese will surely be provided an avenue for him to prove beyond reasonable doubt such unfounded allegations against His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia and the Government of Benue State.

“We read in the media insinuations that a letter was sent to herdsmen to return to Benue for open grazing.

“However, it would be recalled that during the burial ceremony of the late Tor Sankera at Katsina-Ala recently, His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia made an unambiguous pronouncement that the Anti-Open Grazing and Prohibiting Law of Benue State is still alive and shall be enforced fully.

Therefore, His Excellency has not through directives or by himself sent a letter to any group including Herdsmen to come into the state to contravene the law in question.

“The Government of Benue State is worried that based on the already exhibited desperation of some retrogressive elements, it is possible they must have equally cooked such a nefarious communication to achieve their unholy ambition. The Benue State government is digging into this matter. If anything of such is discovered, the perpetrators must be assured, they will have to answer for their sins against the State.

“We appreciate President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is keeping his promise to help Governor Alia in his determination to keep and fulfil his side of the covenant with the people of the state”, Kula stated.

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