The Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, on Wednesday while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme said when Nigerian politicians stop the use of thugs and criminals during elections, the country will be a safe place to live in.
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.”
He added that thugs, who were used and dumped by politicians during elections transformed into “hydra-headed monster” and criminals who now terrrorise Nigerians.
Bello disclosed that contrary to what has been in culture of the Nigerian politicians, he won the November 16, 2019 Governorship Poll without the use of ‘boys’ or thugs.
The second term governor under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, noted that political thuggery was the rule in Kogi before he came into power and he “refused to play that kind of dangerous or unnecessary politics” when he came on board as governor of the North Central state.
He said, “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.
It was reported during the November 16, 2019 Kogi State Governorship Election that Acheju Abuh, who was the Women Leader for the campaign organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate, Musa Wada, was burnt alive in her home by suspected thugs.
Following the gruesome action of the suspected thugs, the United States Government imposed a visa restriction on some individuals for their actions during the 2019 elections in Kogi State.
Earlier reacting to the US visa ban, Bello, had described the ban as unjust and unacceptable, but on Wednesday he said 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.”
He added that, “Some persons might allude to the unfortunate incident that led to the death of the PDP women leader in one of the local governments. Investigations are still on and I have promised that I am going to prosecute that case to the letter to prove who I am. The information out there is completely false.”