By Stephen Adeleye
The Kogi Government has raised alarm over an alleged smear campaign plot against Gov. Yahaya Bello, ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Addressing journalists at its quarterly news briefing on Sunday, the Kogi Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, said the state government was aware of plans to paint the governor in bad light ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
“There are speculations that the governor is interested in contesting for presidency in 2023, a move which has unsettled some major political actors, especially with the fast rising profile of Yahaya Bello.”
According to the commissioner, the state government has unravelled plots by certain persons to launch a smear campaign against the governor on alleged embezzled of state funds.
“Intelligence reports at our disposal show that a certain George whose other details we prefer to keep for now, is at the centre of this conspiracy.
“With all of these achievements, it is unfortunate that some disgruntled persons are still bent on launching a smear campaign on the governor and government of Kogi.
“Fresh on the heels of the discredited allegations against Kogi government by the EFCC, we are aware of several plots to paint the Bello administration black on a regular basis from now till 2023,” the commissioner said.
He alleged that several bloggers and media-guns-for-hire had been contracted to regularly sully the public space with claims of embezzlement of public funds by the governor and his administration.
Fanwo said some of the figures planned to be thrown around in the days, weeks and months to come, represented more money than the administration had even seen together at one time.
“We hope the media will be vigilant and activate its investigative offices before running with such allegations.
“Despite intense pressure and lobbying from across the country and even Nigerians in diaspora, Yahaya Bello has not told anyone that he is running for President in 2023.
“His position is that he will give an appropriate answer to his supporters at the appropriate time.
” If and when the smear campaign manifests, we will respond with the applicable legal force. Our gentleness must not be mistaken for cowardice.
“We are aware that some vested persons have decided to move to the next stage. We know their plans up to the 12th stage.
“The first one was the allegations through the EFCC, that has been sufficiently punctured; now they have moved to concoct statements and allegations that some billions of naira have been embezzled.
“We have been able to apply the resources of the state for the good of the people and that’s why we can achieve all that we have.
“We just want members of the public to be sufficiently aware that the reason they are doing this is to score political goals and paint the governor, who is already enjoying the support of many Nigerians, with their black grudge,” the commissioner added. (NAN)