President Buhari is Nigeria’s most democratic leader— Kogi Governor 

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

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Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, has differed with those who say President Muhammadu Buhari has exhibited some dictatorial tendencies, declaring that the president is the most democratic leader he has seen in Nigeria.

Governor Bello was speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said many presidents would not have tolerated some of the things that have happened in Nigeria under President Buhari.

Governor Bello said: “The president is the most democratic president I have ever seen.  This is the first time we are seeing a former military head of state so democratic to the extent that he is even allowing things that happen in his home front to be democratized, not to talk about that of the country. 

“So, whoever is tagging him to be a dictator; I think that person wishes to be a dictator himself not the president.” 

Reconciling parties

Governor Bello said the second tenure of his administration in Kogi State would continue to ensure that all parties, interests and ethnicities would be reconciled.

“Kogi State, like you all know, was largely divided before now, and upon assumption of office, till the last general election, I’ve been making every effort to ensure that there is reconciliation, bring everybody on board. 

“In fact, that was what resulted in the massive victory in the last general election.  All the leaders and stakeholders in Kogi State are being called on board to come and support the new direction administration.  So, we are moving on very well.” 

On reports attributed to the National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno, as having said that the unthinkable happened in Kogi during the last election in the state, Governor Bello said that Monguno “must have been quoted out of contest.”

Speaking further, he said, “I can say that because the last general election reflects the wishes and aspirations of the people. 

“When you say unthinkable happened in Kogi State, yes of course, my coming to power from the very onset, the unthinkable happened and God brought me to power.  

“When you talk of unthinkable, yes of course, this is the first time the so-called minority is going to contest election in Kogi State and won with this wide margin.

“Unthinkable because this is the first time we are bringing the whole citizens of Kogi State, downing and reducing the tempo of ethnicity in Kogi State. 

“Yes unthinkable because this is the first time we are running a very transparent and digitalized government, where we are raising a lot of revenue, blocking every loophole. 

“Unthinkable because this is the first time a governor is appointing Chief of Staff from a different ethnic group. 

“Unthinkable because this is the first time after 28 years a Muslim governor is building a chapel in Government House in Kogi State. 

“So, there is a lot of all these good unthinkable.  But the NSA must have been quoted out of contest.” 

Governor Bello also disagreed with reports that put Kogi State as corrupt, saying that it was under his administration that merit is put before other considerations in appointing permanent secretaries.