The convener of the National Peace Committee, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has criticised Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State over the violence in the state ahead of the November 11 governorship election.
Speaking on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Kukah said Bello, who is the youngest governor in the country, has failed to live up to expectations.
“I feel very sad because Kogi has been on the front burner and Yahaya Bello, the governor, prided himself with being the youngest governor and being a representation of what the youths of this country can do if they are given the opportunity,” he said.
“Sadly, I think he’s been a very poor advertisement for what young people can do.”
Bello, 48, became Kogi governor in 2015 after the death of Abubakar Audu, who originally won the governorship election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress. Audu died before he was sworn into office.
Bello was elected for a second term in November 2019.
Like Kogi, governorship elections will also hold in Imo and Bayelsa states on November 11.
Kukah spoke about the face-off between the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Imo State government, urging organised labour to explore a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“We keep making the point, the people who are contesting elections are our sons and daughters and whatever we do, in conscience, we must always think about the common good,” he said.
“Civil society organisations, unions, churches with a bit of moral authority must always act in the common interest of everybody.
“Without a country there will be no trade union. All you need to do is just look outside the window and see what is happening in the Middle East today, specifically in Israel and Gaza.”
Kukah appealed to the police and other relevant agencies to ensure security during the governorship elections in the three states.
“When elections go wrong, it is ordinary people who suffer,” he said.
“I hope the labour leaders in Imo will really be more circumspect and ask themselves ‘who stands to gain and who stands to lose what?’ At the end of the day it is the people of Imo, they are not electing someone who is outside their state.
“Imo is a deeply Christian environment and I hope their religious leaders and others with moral authority can prevail on the union to defer whatever may be their grievance; this can only be resolved in a peaceful environment.
“We appeal to them to do what is needful and ensure that elections are duly conducted. Our people have suffered enough.”
Kukah said the people’s welfare and well-being cannot be sacrificed on the altar of personal or group interests.
“It’s very difficult to make this point, but sometimes we in Nigeria behave as if we are just a bunch of spoilt people.
“If we look outside the window and see what is happening elsewhere—the earthquakes, human and natural disasters that have afflicted the world,
“And we have to ask ourselves, ‘what have we done to God that he has been so magnanimous and gracious to us?’ Why do we turn the sword on ourselves?”