The Kogi State Government has raised the alarm over an alleged smear campaign plot against Governor Yahaya Bello ahead of the 2023 general elections.
There have been speculations that Governor Bello is interested in contesting for Presidency in 2023, a move which has unsettled some major political actors, especially with the fast rising profile of the Kogi Governor.
Addressing journalists during its quarterly press briefing, the Commissioner for Information in Kogi State, Kingsley Fanwo, who highlighted some of the achievements of Governor Bello, said the state government was aware of plans to paint the governor in bad light ahead of the 2023 general election.
He said the state government had unravelled plots by certain persons to launch a smear campaign against the governor on the ground that he embezzled the state’s funds.
“With all of these achievements, it is unfortunate that some disgruntled political liabilities are still bent on launching a smear campaign on the person of His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the Government of Kogi State.
“Fresh on the heels of the discredited allegations against the Kogi State Government by the EFCC, backed by some other powerful vested interests in the country, the Kogi State Government is aware of several plots to paint it black in the public perception on a regular basis from now till 2023”, the Commissioner said.
He revealed that several bloggers and media-guns-for-hire had been contracted on a retainership basis to regularly sully the public space with claims of embezzlement of public funds by the Governor and his administration.
Fanwo said some of the figures planned to be thrown around in the days, weeks and months to come represented more money than the administration had even seen together at one time.
He stated, “We hope that you gentlemen of the Press will be vigilant and activate your investigative offices before running with such fabricated and unfounded allegations.
“Despite intense pressure and lobbying from across the country and even Nigerians in diaspora, Governor Yahaya Bello has not told anyone that he is running for President in 2023.
“His Excellency’s position is that he will give an appropriate answer to his supporters at the appropriate time.
“Intelligence reports at our disposal show that a certain George whose other details we prefer to keep for now is at the centre of this conspiracy. If and when his madness manifests, we will respond to him with the applicable legal force. Our gentleness must not be mistaken for cowardice.
“We are aware that some vested persons smarting from the failure of the EFCC adventure have decided to move to the next stage. We know their plans up to the 12th stage.
“The first one was to go and concoct something through the EFCC, that has been sufficiently punctured; now they have moved to go and concoct statements and allegations that some billions of naira have been embezzled.
“We have been able to apply the resources of the state for the good of the people and that’s why we can achieve all that we have achieved.”
“We just want the members of the public to be sufficiently aware that the reason they are doing this is to score political goals and paint the governor, who is already enjoying the support of many Nigerians, with their black grudge,” the Commissioner added.