By Emmanuel Mogbede
The Concerned Members of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi has urged the party’s national leadership to ensure a level playing ground for all aspirants for the governorship election by organising direct primaries.
Mr Jubril Yusuf, Coordinator of the group made the call on Monday in Abuja when he led some protesters to the party’s national secretariat.
He said direct primaries would give the party’s stakeholders in Kogi the opportunity to choose who would pick its ticket in the state election slated for November.
Yusuf said that the protesters were at the party’s national secretariat to place before the public the plight of the people of Kogi since the assumption of the incumbent governor in office, in February 2016.
“The protest is also to call on men of conscience to put pressure on the party’s leadership to provide a level playing ground for all aspirants for the state governorship election.
“The living condition in the state is worrisome. Since February 2015, payment of salaries and pensions of Civil Servants had become optional and not a priority.
“Workers and pensioners in the state are currently being owed many months of unpaid salaries and pensions.
“It is only when workers are paid that other citizens in the state will be able to sell their goods and services.
“Consequently, the economy of the state is reeling on the ground, many businesses have folded and potential investors have been avoiding the state like a plague. Virtually all the indices about the state are negative,” Yusuf said.
According to him, most of the state’s Civil Servants now borrow money to pay school fees of their children, pay medical bills when necessary, and pay for their house rents.
He also said that most Civil Servants in the state, had withdrew their children from private schools, adding that the state of public schools in the state was nothing to write home about.
“It is common place in the state to see school pupils playing around school premises while their teachers sit down in groups bemoaning their fate for non-payment of salaries,” he said.
Yusuf alleged that the present administration in the state has not been able to commence and complete one project for over three years.
He noted that the deplorable situation of the state would have been a different narrative if the problem was due to lack of funds.
He maintained that from the bailout fund, Paris refund to statutory allocations from the Federal Government, and its internally generated revenue, the state government was expected to do better to impact the lives of the people.
“As at the end of February this year, that is after 38 months in office, the state government has received at least N344 billion.
“This covered statutory allocations, internally generated revenue, allocation to Local Government, bailout, Paris club funds as well as refunds on road construction by the previous government,” he said.
He added that it was unfortunate that in spite the non-performance of the state governor, he wanted to seek a second term in office, saying that this should not be allowed to happen.
“The primary purpose of a government and any government for that matter, is the welfare of the people, Gov. Yahaya Bello’s government has abandoned its primary purpose.
“It has defeated itself and has no reason being in power, he should be voted out and replaced with a purposeful and people oriented government,” Yusuf said.