Impeached Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, has revealed that Ex-Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja, who is now the Deputy Governor of the state, is actually the one in control of Kogi State.
Achuba noted that Governor Yahaya Bello is not in-charge. He noted that working with the governor is not bad, but there is however a lord in-charge.
“Working with the governor was not bad in itself. It was as cordial as it should be. The issue is that he has a lord in person of the former Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja. Onoja lords it over the governor. He stays on his neck and the governor cannot turn around without him (Onoja). As a result, commissioner and no special adviser can function well,” he told Punch.
According to the embattled politician, Onojo overrules anything you say or do and insists it must be done his own way and Governor Bello can’t do anything about it.
Impeached Deputy Governor Onoja further revealed that on many occasions, after agreeing with Governor Bello on certain things, Onoja would walk in and overrule it and the governor would change his mind.
“For instance, there was a time when I suggested that we pick a few projects, complete and inaugurate them, just to show that we can achieve a lot in the state as a team. The Governor agreed, but when Onoja came in, the story changed,” he said.
“For example, since most secondary schools in Kogi State were not functioning, I had suggested that we should select one or two schools per local government area and fix them and the governor agreed. Before then, nobody had brought up that suggestion or a better idea. But the story changed because the chief of staff had a personal interest in the contracts that would be awarded for the rehabilitation of the schools,” he added.
Achuba however noted that he has no regret working with Governor Bello, saying that he still remains the Deputy Governor of Kogi State. “There was no impeachment and I am still the Deputy Governor of Kogi State. So there is nothing to regret about,” he said.
Asked if he was chosen by Governor Bello himself to be his deputy or if someone suggested he be picked, he said; “he (Governor Bello) invited me and said he would like me to be the deputy governor and I obliged him. I will continue to be grateful for that.”
He denied report that Onoja himself was behind his emergence as Deputy Governor of Kogi State.
“Onoja doesn’t know much about me. He only knows that I am an Igala man,” he said.
Achuba was impeached by the Kogi State House of Assembly few weeks ago. He however approached the court to nullify the decision of the state lawmakers.
Since the case has not been decided by the court, Achuba still technically remains the governor of the state until the court upholds the impeachment of the state assembly.
“I am still the deputy governor, whether there is a court judgment or not. I am the sitting deputy governor and I will continue to be in this position until there is another election and a winner is sworn in,” he said.
Embattled Deputy Governor Achuba further spoke on the recent request by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly to approve the sum of N10billion as refund for the federal roads constructed by the government of Yahaya Bello.
“Show me the roads that were constructed in any part of the state. You are in Kogi, have you seen any such road? What then is the refund for?” Achuba asked.
Another problem aside the phony road allegedly constructed in the state is that the request to release the funds is coming just ahead of the Governorship Election in the state next month. Besides the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, had repeatedly stated that President Buhari has warned state governors against fixing any federal roads in their states because the federal government would not issue refunds.
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.