Ex- Kogi governor Yahaya Bello in Abuja, not on the run – Investigation

Contrary to speculations in a section of the media, the immediate past governor of Kogi state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has been in Abuja since exiting office last November, Blueprint’s findings have revealed.

It was gathered that the governor, as at the time of this report, was neither on the run, nor was at any time being invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

After an eighth-year tenure of tow terms, Bello handed over the reign of leadership to Ahmed Usman Ododo January 27, 2024.

Ododo’s swearing-in followed his victory as the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship election last November.

Prior to his exit, the then Governor Bello was speculated as nursing the ambition of becoming the national chairman of the ruling party, but he denied same.

Also, in a response to what the state government described as witch-hunt by the EFCC over alleged missing state government’s fund, the Kogi State Government dismissed same.

…KGSG’s denial

In a statement by the state commissioner for information and communications, Kingsley Fanwo, the government had asked the EFCC to desist from mentioning the former governor’s name in its “ongoing persecution”, claiming  some political actors were out to destroy the former governor.

“As a subnational in the Nigerian nationhood, we wish to express our utmost respect for agencies set up to perform specific functions towards the greatness of Nigeria,” the statement read.

“The desperation of the EFCC to hastily and for glaring political reasons, hound the immediate past Governor on their corruption list is unfortunate and speaks volume on how we reward altruistic leadership in our nation.

“For the records, we wish to make it clear that Kogi’s funds are not missing and that the EFCC is trying so hard to find what is not missing.

“We therefore call on the EFCC to desist from mentioning the name of Kogi State in its ongoing persecution, orchestrated by some political actors in and around the Presidency bent on destroying the image of Alh. Yahaya Bello and Kogi State.

“The amended charges in which the name of the former Governor was mentioned are false, frivolous, fictitious and far from the truth. They are cooked-up charges that signpost their desperation to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it,” the government had said.

‘…Ex-gov not on the run’

However, findings have revealed that the former governor has constantly  been in the Villa for one consultation or the other with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu  since leaving office.

Our source said: “Only a few days ago, he (Yahaya Bello) was in Lagos to pay Sallah homage to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Obviously, that does not portray a man running away from the law.

“Until last week’s Sallah celebration, when Alhaji Yahaya Bello went to his home town of Okene to spend the Eid-el-fitr holiday, where he, in company of the current governor prayed together, he had remained in Abuja. Yahaya Bello is not on the run and has returned and remained in Abuja.”

Also, it was further gathered that throughout the Ramadan period, the ex-governor prayed most times  with friends, family and some of his appointees in his Benghazi home in Zone 4, Abuja.

“Yahaya Bello is not under the cover of the convoy and comfort of the current Governor Ahmed Usman. He freely walks around like any other Nigerian. He has no reason to hide. EFCC has never formally invited him. It’s all politics.  What’s happening is the handwork of some mischief makers and chieftains of the APC to tarnish Yahaya Bello’s reputation. He is as free as air,” said one of our sources.

On the claim of Bello’s ambition to become APC chairman, another source said: “The former governor is relatively young and not yet ready to retire, so the question of him replacing Dr Abdullahi Ganduje as APC chairman should not even arise at all. It is just dirty politics that is playing out.”