Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has described the exit of Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki from the party as painful but said he is confident that the party will win the gubernatorial election in Edo slated for September in spite of his departure.
Obaseki had last week Friday formally joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) when he led some of his appointees and supporters to the PDP secretariat in Benin City.
Bello, who chairs the Security Committee of the Northern Governors’ Forum, made this declaration in Abuja on Monday, while speaking to State House Correspondents after a meeting between the Governors of the North-Central zone, hosted by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
He said that the power of incumbency will not guarantee victory for Obaseki, adding that Nigerians have witnessed incumbent leaders including former President Goodluck Jonathan ‘dethroned’ from their positions.
When asked if he was not afraid of the power of incumbency in Edo State, he said: ‘We have seen those in power before that are dethroned, we have seen practically that President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC dethroned the PDP, the former President that was on the seat. So, that is not any trouble at all. APC is going to win Edo State. But unfortunately, I really felt the leaving of my colleague, His Excellency, Governor Godwin Obaseki, in whatever circumstance to another political party; it is painful anyway, but as a political party we are going to take it back.’
Commenting on the crisis in the APC, Bello said: ‘Our party is one solid party. In a particularly big family like that, you won’t rule out any misunderstanding in one way or the other. But I can assure you that our party is strong under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and as a father, he is already looking into it and I can assure you that we are going to come out very strong.
‘We are going to go to Edo State and we shall win Edo state election overwhelmingly for the APC; we are going to go to Ondo State and win it overwhelmingly for APC. We will take Anambra State and record it as a second APC state from the South-East and integrate our Igbo brothers into the fold and we are going to take Ekiti and Osun once again.
‘So, we are going to continue to expand our coast. So, APC is strong we are not divided. We are only seeing one same point from a different angle and we are trying to make ourselves understand the points, that is just it, there is no misunderstanding.’
On the agenda of the North-Central Governors meeting with the Chief of Staff, the Kogi Governor said that the meeting was to congratulate the Chief of Staff on his appointment.
‘We came to congratulate him over the appointment and that we will continue to collaborate with him as North-Central Governors and we will continue to provide necessary data and information that will guide him in the discharge of his duties and responsibilities and to guide Mr President as far as the region is concerned. So basically that is what we came for,’ he said.
Speaking as the head of a special security committee set up by Northern Governors Forum, Bello said that individual states within the zone will ensure that the area is safe.
‘Security is the topmost priority of this administration and we are doing our best to ensure that the nation is secured. As northern region governors, we met and decided that we must tackle insecurity head-on.
‘So basically, my committee is to liaise with the various security agencies and security operatives to ensure that the necessary security architecture is put in place and to ensure that at the end of the day, we get the best-secured region and that of the country at large.’
The Kogi State Governor told journalists that Governors of the North-Central States of Niger, Plateau, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kwara and Benue were on a courtesy visit to the Chief of Staff, who also hails from the zone, to congratulate him on his appointment.