The death of Prince Abubakar Audu the winner of the November 2015 election in Kogi state, made way for the party’s second runner up Yahaya Bello to emerge as the next governor of the state through a court ruling.
But in order to satisfy the majority who were aggrieved by the sudden death of their son Abubakar Audu and also ensure that some sort of political and leadership balance is attained,the new government decided to pick it’s deputy governor from Kogi east who became Elder Simon Achuba.
Upon resuming office as the deputy governor of the state,Achuba played the role of a subordinate as demanded by his boss and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,that kept the both in one accord.
But in the last two and half years, Lugard house has become hell and unbearable for the deputy governor who has lost favor in the sight of his boss,others said it was Edward Onoja (the Kogi State chief of staff) who instigated the rift between the deputy governor while others alleged it was Achuba’s refusal to remain submissive to the governor that bounce back at him.
In an effort to get the actual reasons behind the lingering issue between Elder Simon Achuba the deputy governor of Kogi state and Yahaya Bello the governor of the state,we tried contacting the deputy governor both publicly and privately,but he kept mute refusing to speak on the alleged conflict,then we were able speak to a contact person in the government house who has a first hand knowledge of their disagreement and is also a part of the same government,but pleaded anonymous.
He said “certain key things led to the lingering problem between Achuba and his boss,and with the look of things they are not likely going to make peace very soon.
He further went on to list out those key incident namely.
• The Kogi State government in 2017 approved over 500 Million for an unnecessary program, at Kabba and Simon Achuba the deputy governor complained about it,suggesting that instead of spending such money on an unnecessary program, while don’t the state government use it to pay pensioners who are dying every day in the state,this was the first problem they had.
• After the death of Buba Jibrin,the Senate president Bukola Saraki and Senator Dino Melaye led some entourage to pay a condolence visit to the family of the deceased and his constituency,the state governor was not on seat and Elder Simon Achuba the deputy governor thought it right to go out and welcome the Senate president, which he did,but that action did not go down well with the state governor who on the other hand felt he was making friend with his enemies.
• The third issue was the 5 Billion naira released by the governor to facilitate senator Dino Melaye’s recall which failed,Achuba was never in support of the recall and suggested that the money should be used to pay workers salary,this also heightened their problem and even led to a loud quarrel at the governors office.
• Simon Achuba was quoted to have said “He wished that President Muhammadu Buhari became President about 10 to 20 years ago, when he was much younger as he felt age advantage could facilitate a better performance” this statement did not also go down well with his boss the state governor.
• the deputy governor’s constant refusal to support the heavy loans the government was always procuring without using it for any thing meaningful,except buying fleets of cars was also one of the problems.
• The deputy governor also kept in touch with members of the opposition party which made the governor feel he is divulging most of his secrets to them and hitherto accused him of anti party activities.
• Honourable Arome the SSA to the deputy governor on political matters and some of his aides were removed without his consent or knowledge, and the likes of Anthony Achuba were going for months without been paid salaries and many other minor issues kept coming up.
• The deputy governor’s travelling allowances have not been paid since 2017 and all his effort to get the governor to correct this also failed.
• the Deputy governor’s impress has also not been paid for more than a year now.
The source also said the state governor hardly listen to what ever the deputy governor suggest and would rather take that of his Chief of staff who the governor always reverend like god.
It is no longer news that the Kogi State Chief of staff Edward Onoja has more power than the governor since the inception of the administration,he calls the stakes and decides for the entire government.
He further spoke on the present situation at the government house “as I speak with you all the amenities like electricity,water,security,drivers,cleaners and every other aid attached to the deputy governor’s house and office has been withdrawn,with those left not paid salary and since the deputy governor resumed from his acclaimed leave he has not been allowed access to his office” said our source.
“Achuba has moved his family from the Lugard House to his private resident and has been passively staying alone at the deputy governor’s quarters”.
Mid last year,the spokesperson to the deputy governor was quoted to have said the deputy governor has not been paid for over four months,our contact person in the House went on to confirm it,saying that the deputy governor has not been paid for over eight months now,non of his aides has also been paid,not even a single allowance and he has been surviving from his personal income or money from well wishers.
In spite of all this humiliation the deputy governor has remained silent,suffering all alone with his kinsmen thinking he has betrayed them.
There has been several instances where state governors fell off with their deputy,but the reasons for the lingering problem between Achuba and Bello that has led to the humiliation of Achuba are not tangible enough,in a state where workers have not been paid for 32 months the state government should for no reason spend 5 billion naira on a recalling process of a senator, who is only advocating for a better leadership in such state.
There may have been disagreement between the governor and the Senate President Bukola saraki, but that does not mean the governor should not go out to welcome him and the entire Senate or even ask the deputy governor to do so on his behalf,so why should the governor humiliate his deputy for making up for his irresponsibility?
As regard the alleged statement he made about President Mohammadu Buhari,this is a harmless and a mere wish saying,which if considered is not even far from the truth.
Another point of view to the problem between the governor and the deputy governor is the actions and in actions of the chief of staff, Edward Onoja who in the face of these clashes has unofficially become the deputy governor of the state.
He has been the one representing the state governor at every function,he presides over executive meetings when the governor is not on seat,he gives executive approvals when the governor is not disposed, and over sees all the executive activities and directives when the governor is or is not on seat.
Also asking our contact person if the deputy governor has resigned as rumored and he said, nothing of such has happened yet,but the modus of operation in the state house indicates clearly that the deputy governor has been pushed aside and he is no longer part of the administration again.
And that one of the hidden plan of the governor is to ask the new elected Assembly members who are all his loyalist to move for his impeachment when they are sworn in and then replace him with either Edward Onoja the chief of staff or another loyalist of the chief of staff.
Every effort to reach the deputy governor,his aides or his personal assistant has been fruitless
How ever we believe that as we make every effort to ensure that we trace out every role Elder Simon Achuba has played in the three years of this failed government, we will be able to prove to the citizens of Kogi state that the deputy governor was never in support of all the actions the state governor took and he on several occasions confronted the governor on most of the wrong decisions he made,only to be turned deaf ears and even humiliated the more.
Emmanuel Adegboyega K.
(AN ADVOCATE FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE)