Indications have emerged on how traditional rulers in Kogi West, Central and East made a last minute U-turn after they had deliberated and adopted Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman (retd) as a consensus candidate for the November 16 governorship election.
They were said to have decided to present him to the Presidency as the anointed candidate only to be cajoled, harassed, and intimidated by Governor Yahaya Bello on their way to Abuja.
According to our source, the traditional rulers from the Central and West had met last week with their counterparts in the East and enquired about their preferred candidate.
At the end of the meeting, all traditional rulers from Kogi Central, West and East Senatorial Zones of the state resolved to adopt Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman as the preferred candidate after being tired of Bello’s government.
On getting the hint of the clandestine move by the traditional rulers to recommend a preferred choice, Vice Admiral Usman to the presidency.
Governor Yahaya Bello summoned all traditional rulers in the State to the Government House in Lokoja where he, out of furious rage, threatened to depose any traditional ruler who dare endorse and present any other gubernatorial candidate apart from him.
A source said, “In his usual Brooklyn Movies style, Governor Bello shouted on, bullied and cajoled them into reneging on their earlier resolution and changing the name of their agreed candidate from the Vice Admiral to that of him (Bello) and then presenting same to the Presidency.”
A traditional ruler from Kogi West who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that their original plan was hijacked by the governor.
“We met, discussed, and agreed to present the erstwhile Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Jibrin Usman because we deem him as the only aspirant with the experience and capability to rescue the State from its current precarious predicament. We have always been bullied and affronted by the present governor who has reduced us to insignificant chiefs before our people. He bullied and threatened us to change our choice and we had no option than to do his bid. To obey is better than to be deposed”, he said.
It was not clear as at press time the exact amount the incumbent Governor used as a bargaining chip on the traditional rulers, but we got it on good authority that about N500 million was earmarked by Yahaya Bello to be frittered on his endorsement project and name presentation to President Muhammadu Buhari as the traditional rulers preferred candidate for the November guber today in Abuja.
Details Later ***