Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has declared that no amount of fake news will stop the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, from winning next month’s election.
The governor stated this on Sunday while debunking reports that he had dumped Tinubu’s presidential campaign train.
Bello, who featured on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics, said his support for Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima, remains unwavering and undiluted.
A national daily (not ABN TV) had claimed that the Kogi State governor had withdrawn his support for Tinubu against the backdrop of the permutations in Kogi politics.
The report claimed the governor was suspicious that the lawmaker representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and secretary of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Hon James Faleke, may contest the APC governorship ticket in Kogi State.
ABN TV recall that the Kogi governor was appointed the National Youth Coordinator of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council in September last year in a letter addressed to him and signed by Tinubu.
Reacting to the report of his distancing himself from the APC campaign, Bello, who described it as fake news, called on relevant authorities to ensure that purveyors of such fake news are dealt with, adding that he remained a foremost mobiliser of young voters for Tinubu.
He said, “I myself woke up this morning to see that particular fake news in the air today and there is no smoke without fire, and in this particular instance, I’m sure and the fire is prepared and fired in the air but, you know, surely that it cannot be sustained. It is most unfortunate and I’m urging all the law enforcement agencies (to get those behind it).”
He called on security agencies, regulatory bodies regarding journalism, and media practitioners practicing in Nigeria, to live up to their responsibilities and quickly take action against these people.
“The current electoral laws even empower INEC to investigate things like this and prosecute the liars. These perpetrators must not go unpunished as far as electoral laws are concerned.
“I’m adequately reassuring millions of Nigerians youths and Nigerians, our followers, as well as supporters within and across the world that I remain the very supporter, mobiliser, a campaigner, and driver of votes for our leader and the president-in-waiting Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu-Shetima, the flag bearers of our great party, the APC. Of course, every Nigerian knows that as far as this election is concerned because of the demographic I represent and across the globe.”
The governor gave the management of the newspaper 24 hours to retract that particular story, tender a public apology and give it a lot of publicity, failing which he would consider legal action.
ABN TV reports that Faleke, a staunch Tinubu supporter, was on the cusp of becoming Kogi State deputy governor in the election cycle that brought Bello to office but his principal, Prince Abubakar Audu, had tragically died just before results were announced in an election he was coasting home to victory, and Bello, who had come second in the primary, was given the party’s ticket to continue with the election, setting off a legal challenge from Faleke, which the courts ruled in favour of Bello.
Governor Bello had earlier, at an occasion, denied allegations that there was an existing rivalry between him and the secretary of the presidential campaign council, Hon. James Faleke, who is a member of the National Assembly, representing Lagos State.
Bello said, “Faleke is my brother and I don’t ever consider him as a political rival. Hon. James Faleke is a House of Representatives member at the National Assembly and I’m a governor in Kogi State. On several occasions, we compare notes and he reaches out to me and I reach out to him. I don’t think it should be a subject of public discourse how we both relate”.
Meanwhile, Kogi State APC Campaign Council had earlier refuted a story published in a national daily, insinuating that Governor Yahaya Bello has withdrawn support for the presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, describing the report as absolute falsehood and a concoction borne out of malice.
In a statement issued by the Kogi State commissioner for information and the director of media and publicity, Kogi State APC campaign council, Kingsley Femi Fanwo, the party flayed the report as one done in bad faith, saying the story was “spurious, malicious and a badly delivered hatchet job”.
The party said the publication was mischievous and was out to create distrust, acrimony, and chaos in the party by people who were desperately trying to disparage the unbending commitment of the governor to the success of the APC in the presidential election.
Fanwo, however, assured the public of Bello’s unflinching commitment to the campaign was not in doubt among committed stakeholders of the APC at all levels.
He said, “GYB is constantly on the drawing board, galvanising Kogites and youths across Nigeria to massively support the man he calls the president-in-waiting, Tinubu.
“This will definitely not go down well with open and veiled detractors of our presidential candidate, who would go to any length to paint a picture of crisis where there is absolutely none.”