A new report by TheCable has revealed that while both serving and retired civil servants cry over irregular payment of their entitlements, the Governor of Kogi stae, Yahaya Bello is putting finishing touches to his state-of-the-art country home, or mansion on Mahmoud Atta street, GRA Okene.
In fact, the report revealed that many of the residents of the exclusive residential area are complaining about the disruption the 42-year-old governor has brought upon their lives.
“He has converted the main street entrance to his private entrance and is creating another entrance for lesser mortals like us,” a resident complained to TheCable.
“A governor converting a public road to a private and exclusive road for himself. This is a big shame.”
But he is creating another entrance for the “lesser mortals”.
Reacting, Kingsley Fanwo, spokesman of the governor, said his principal has made a better provision for the affected residents.
“Some of these issues are not the way we see them. The point is that if he is building a house and the structure is affecting the road network and he is giving the people a better road, they should be grateful,” he told TheCable.
“It’s not as if he is obstructing the road and he is not doing anything about it. It’s not that he is flexing his power as governor. He has been considerate enough to give them a better road.”
Fanwo also claimed that the current administration had paid all salaries apart from July.
He added that Bello had given the directive that political office holders should not get their salaries until civil servants have been paid.
“As I am speaking to you, what the state government is owing as of today is July salary. You can confirm from civil servants in the state,” he said.
“We have paid till June and the governor has already given a directive that no political office holder should be paid before a civil servant. As I am speaking with you, I have not received my July salary because they have to pay the civil servants first.
“To confirm what has been paid to workers, you can log on to http://www.kogistate.gov.ng. We did this to stem the tide of misinformation being peddled by the governor’s opponents.”
However, it seemed like Fanwo lied as checks by TheCable proved otherwise. A civil servant in the ministry of education revealed that he had not been paid in the last one year, while another accused the governor of “playing politics” with the salaries of workers.
“The governor is trying to be clever by half with our welfare. What he has been doing is that in an office, he would pay some and leave out others,” said a civil servant who does not want his identity to be revealed.
“I have not been paid for six months, but some of my colleagues are being owed three months. Some, just a month. Under this kind of arrangement, how do you calculate the number of months that Yahaya Bello is owing?”
Fanwo also said Bello did not use the money of his state to build a house, describing him as a “billionaire by all standards” before becoming governor.
“About why he is building a house when he is owing civil servant, we have responded to this over and over again,”he said.
“Also, I want you to know that this governor was a very successful businessman before he was elected. By all standards he was a billionaire before he became governor. He has houses all over Nigeria before he became governor. He has businesses that were blossoming before he was elected.”