I won my re-election fair and square without political thuggery –Yahaya Bello
Governor Yahaya Bello, says Nigeria will be a safe place to live in when politicians stop the use of thugs and criminals during elections.
Bello debunked the claim that he deployed acts of intimidation and thuggery to win his re-election last year.
He said though winning election through political thuggery was the norm in the state, the electoral victory that ushered him into power was secured through credible means as he “refused to play that kind of dangerous but unnecessary politics.”
Giving the reason why he shunned political thuggery and, rather rode to power on the back of the goodwill of the Kogi people as he claimed, Bello said those thugs being used to get to power are eventually dumped by politicians after the election to become what he described as “hydra-headed” monsters and criminal elements who now terrrorise Nigerians.
He said, “When politicians begin to stop the use of thugs, touts or some group of criminals, that is when we will begin to have safety and security in our land.”
The governor spoke on Wednesday while featuring on Channels Television’s programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ monitored by TheNigerian.
He added, “When I came on board, I inherited a state that was largely divided along several lines. For you to aspire to be anything politically in Kogi State then, you must have what we call ‘boys’ or thugs or touts and then use it to intimidate people during political dispensations.
“Once the political exercise is over, the so-called boys or thugs or foot soldiers would be abandoned and then left to themselves and by that, they breed into something else or a hydra-headed monster that you will not be able to curb at the end of the day. There are several history and intelligence to that across the country.
“But I refused to play that kind of dangerous or unnecessary politics when I came on board. My ascension to office is known to everybody in the world. I chose my path immediately and decided to deal with criminals irrespective of political affiliations by using the laws passed by the Kogi State House of Assembly and the existing security architecture.”
Electoral observers have said the November 16, 2019 Kogi State Governorship Election was marred with violence and bloodshed.
The United States Government, in the aftermath of the election, imposed a visa restriction on some individuals for their actions during the November 2019 Kogi State elections.
But speaking on Wednesday, Bello, who had since described the US visa ban as unjust and unacceptable, insisted that he won his re-election without the deployment of political thugs.
He said, “I won my election free and square. The police, the DSS, the military and all law enforcement agencies have their facts. Don’t listen to the things they peddle out there. When I see those things, I simply laugh and say how I wished they come to Kogi State to see for themselves.
“There was no time in my campaign that any of my followers goes into the destruction of billboards, signposts or installations of the state government, before, during and after the election.”