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Two days to Kogi guber: Senate approves N10b refund to Kogi

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IGP, INEC Chairman teargassed in Lokoja

Collation officers to come from outside Kogi – INEC

We didn’t pray for gov – CAN

SENATE yesterday approved refund of N10.069 billion to Kogi State.

  The payment, which will be made through promissory notes and bond issuance is to cover expenses incurred by Kogi State in execution of road projects on behalf of federal government.

  Senate made the approval sequel to the adoption of a report by Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts which had earlier considered the legality of promissory note and bond issuance in settlement of inherited local debts and contractual obligations on the refund to state governments for projects executed on behalf of the federal government.

  A promissory note is a debt instrument which one party promises in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the other, either at a fixed or determinable future time, under specific terms.

  But the timing of the senate approval less than two days to the governorship election slated for Saturday in Kogi State has drawn intense flak from opposition lawmakers who criticised it as ploy to hand a financial war chest to Gov. Yahaya Bello who is also the Progressives Congress (APC) flag bearer, querying why the approval should not be delayed until after the election which has seen APC and PDP in frontline among other parties.

  It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on October 15, requested Senate to approve issuance of N10.069 billion promissory note to Kogi State Government for projects done on behalf of federal government, on the caveat that eighth National Assembly passed resolutions approving promissory notes to 24 out of 25 state governments, leaving out Kogi State.

  In a related development, Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, and the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, and National Commissioners of INEC were among dignitaries teargassed in a stakeholders parley and signing of peace accord among political parties and candidates convened ahead of the governorship election of Kogi State.

  They were meted with this treatment while policemen tried to put down an uproar that degenerated to a rowdy situation that lasted twenty minutes in the venue of the meeting.

  The meeting, which was organised by INEC had anti-riot police officers on alert, was almost disrupted when those suspected to be thugs of a political party used force to prevent one of the governorship candidates from gaining entrance into the venue.

But INEC has indicated that collation officers for the Kogi governorship election will come from federal tertiary institutions outside the state.

  INEC Federal Commissioner for Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, gave the indication yesterday while speaking to newsmen in Lokoja, explaining that drawing the officials from other states was part of efforts to guarantee water-tight credibility of the poll.

  According to him, INEC has exclusive right to appoint collation officers from any part of the country, assuring that it was collaborating with security agencies to secure electoral staff and collation centres on Saturday.

  Similarly, the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday, refuted claims making the rounds in social media that its President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle visited Gov. Bello Kogi to pray for his reelection.

  Calling on Christians to come out en mass and exercise their franchise, while urging all Nigerians to pray for fair, peaceful and credible elections in the two States, CAN reiterated that it is not partisan and does not support any candidate or party in the Kogi and Bayelsa States’ governorship polls this weekend as it did not in previous elections.

The call was made in a statement released in Abuja by CAN’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Vondip.

  “The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has taken notice of a picture of the CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, the Kogi State CAN Chairman and Governor Yahaya Bello, making the rounds in the social media where it was painted as if the CAN President went to the Governor at this period of electioneering campaign to pray for his re-election into office as Governor of Kogi State.

Let it be known right away that those behind this cheap propaganda are glaringly mischievous individuals who do not mean well for the church and Nigeria. They are people without the fear of God who forgot that God will hold them responsible for every idle or evil word and misleading information they spread about others,” the release stated.

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