Kogi
Indigenes of Kogi State have cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  against those they described as embittered and desperate ethnic jingoists who are strengthening the public opinion that the Commission is collaborating with certain opposition figures to persecute the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.

The indigenes said since the allegation of corruption by the EFCC against the former Governor became a national discourse, “some persons who are afraid of chasing their dreams at the polls have hidden under the veneer of activism to sponsor their tribesmen to impugn on the character of ex-Governor Yahaya Bello maliciously”.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, the Chairman of Kogi Youth Leaders Forum, Benjamin Oguche, PhD, specifically noted that those still calling for the arrest of Bello even in the face of an ongoing court process, were either uninformed or out to rubbish the image of EFCC while pursuing their prolonged vendetta mission.
The Kogi youth leaders said this particular group had consistently pursued a “we against them” agenda, causing division and hate among the ethnic groups in Kogi,  spreading falsehood and propaganda to the public on the matter.
“It is sad and regrettable that the so-called corruption allegation against Bello, which remains an allegation until established in the court of law, has become an opportunity for chronic political failures to unleash their intolerance and deep-rooted frustration on a state that our founding fathers have laboured so hard to unite.
“Without credible reasons, they have been said to have mobilised resources to fight him for daring to govern a state he hails from and for overseeing a free and fair election which produced another Governor, not from their fold,” they stated.
According to them, the polarisation, ethnic and religious colouration that have been introduced in recent times into the EFCC trial of the immediate past Governor calls for worry, especially among every Kogi indigene who has a firm belief in the peaceful co-existence of the state as an indivisible entity.
“Suffice to say that what we see playing out today is a microcosm of what our country represents, where the so called minority is discriminated against, sidelined and treated like a lesser citizen in a country he has made equal, if not greater, contributions to building. The so called minority has been made to believe his voice does not count and his fundamental right to pursue social, economic and political interest taken away.
“Since through divine providence that former Governor Yahaya Bello became governor in 2016, several arrow of ethnic bitterness, needless attacks and corruption profiling have been targetted at him and his government for no offence other than for the simple reason that the responsibility to lead our dear state at that time fell on his shoulder.
“While God saw him through his four years in office, the people of our dear state equally and overwhelmingly renewed their mandate for him, sending him to go again, amidst hate campaign, violence attacks and ethnic war by some ethnic driven elites who have sworn never to allow certain ethnic groups have a taste of leading the state. While this gathering is not about catalogue of exploits he achieved and the records he broke within these eight years, it is important to note that since he left office, same known tribal jingoists and ethnic champions have been having sleepless nights plotting the downfall of the man.
“The anti-Bello protests in the UK last week, Lagos last week and Abuja today highlight the glaring danger those they regard as minority ethnic groups face in the hands of those who feel that their population is to suppress the fundamental rights of others to seek political interest. One continues to wonder where the protesters gathered the money to go on a protest spray, if some people are not bankrolling them, which suggest a sinister plan different from genuine fight against corruption as the public is made to understand.
“We understand that the case for which these hate-induced protests are going on is in the court and the court is a place of orderliness where every party will push their stands without necessarily drawing dagger to murder our peace. We are, however, surprised that dimension of sustained protests have been added to their inglorious mission.
“We have often expressed our confidence in the judiciary and irrespective of how long it could take, the wheel of justice must grind to a logical end. We, however, frown at the seeming open hands the EFCC has been showing to the protesters which is fuelling an unfortunate suspicion that must be immediately corrected.
“While we welcome in its entirety the probe of the former Governor, we, however, reject the deliberate image smearing against him. We call on the EFCC to disregard the propaganda of ethnic agents and face the task of diligent prosecution,” the Kogi Youth Leaders advised.
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