The misunderstanding between the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba and Governor Yahaya Bello has worsened as Achuba has alleged that his life was being threatened.
There has been a long standing row between Achuba and Bello, who the former said was more versed in warring with perceived enemies rather than focusing on the needs of Kogi State.
Meanwhile, Bello has denied the allegation, describing it as “a blind rage”.
In an interview with reporters in Lokoja, the embattled deputy governor said he wants to inform the presidency and security agencies that his principal has detailed gunmen to kill him.
He alleged that the gunmen, on the alleged instruction of Bello, were out to kill him, adding that the plans were no secret.
He said that the insecurity in the state is not about kidnapping and armed robbery, but about state-sponsored gunmen.
Achuba warned against the prevalence of intimidation and the atmosphere of fear that pervades the state.
He urged President Mohammadu Buhari, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the Director State Security Service (SSS) to take cognizance of the planned attack on him, his aides and family members.
The Deputy Governor stated that his recent visit to the Presidency, over the lingering impasse, was the tenth in a series, having exhausted all avenues within the state, without success.
He added that his letter demanding the payment of his entitlements followed failure by the government to address the issue.
He said his rift with the governor was because of the latter’s conviction that civil servants are insignificant, saying that from inception of the present administration, salaries had remained an issue with no end in sight.
Achuba said that in spite of the prolonged screening of civil servants, the state still does not have a nominal roll, and that notwithstanding the bailout funds received by the state, the issue of non-payment of salaries has persisted.
He said only political office holders have been paid up to date, while the civil servants are owed for two months.
The Deputy Governor maintained that all the fight by the governor since he assumed office were avoidable, says his travail was not because he engaged in anti party activities, but because he was insisting on good governance.
He said that he chose not to resign from the office as Deputy Governor, but preferred to stay, and help bring change to the system.
Achuba, however, thanked the governor for the opportunity to serve.
Bello, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Onogwu Mohammed, described the allegation as bogus and an exhibition of a blind rage by an “angry suckling with a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance”.
The statement reads: “The Kogi State Government is appalled that a Deputy Governor, who should epitomize leadership and good example in all senses, could descend so low to employ smear campaign against the person of His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, and we state without equivocation that Mr Achuba has no shred of evidence for his reckless surmising, which is nothing but a scripted venture in ruinous adventure. We do not train assassins, and as such, the state government or her personnel cannot be involved in sending assassins to murder any human soul let alone a deputy governor of our dear state.
“Despite these unsubstantiated ramblings however, we deem it fit to clear the air by letting the general public know that the Kogi State government would not be dragged into any form of political gerrymandering concocted for the furtherance of any person’s political interest or notoriety”.
The state government challenged Achuba to provide evidence of his claims, or desist from making such further spurious allegations.
“We warn Mr. Simon Achuba who is known to history as a man whose affinity for violence is unparalleled, not to judge us by his own standards. The report of the Kogi State Government Commission of Enquiry on the Iyaño ethnic crises in 2017, is still fresh in our memories.
“The Kogi State government led by Alhaji Yahaya Bello, therefore, rejects the futile attempt at seeking to link it to any assassination attempt on the deputy governor, and we advice (sic) that people desist from seeking political capital from scenarios they imagine would advance their parochial cause, no matter how banal such causes may seem.
“Nigerians and Kogites in particular are aware that it is not in the character of the administration to persecute perceived opponents, let alone the second in command of the ‘New Direction’ team. We have remained a model for peaceful engagement and political dialogue. Any inclination at portraying us otherwise will not be acceptable,” the statement added.