The governor of Kogi State and the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the November 21 election in the state, Idris Ichalla Wada, has accused the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele of working in collaboration with the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Abubakar Audu, to frustrate the bailout package for the state.
Kogi was supposed to have received N50.842 billion in order to offset workers salaries owed. States like Osun, Benue, among others have all received the fund. The CBN had in September, after giving out the bailout funds to 18 states, said four states, including Kogi, were still being processed. But more than a month later, Kogi is still waiting for the fund.
“Kogi was one of the first states to apply with complete documentation, but many states that applied after us, some of them even copied our presentation, they have been given. I have gone to see the CBN Governor three times and I went to the President to complain that are we being delayed,” Wada told Vanguard in an interview at his office in Lokoja, the state capital.
“I went to the CBN Governor and asked that what is going on, he said they will soon get to us. At a critical meeting, he committed that within the following week, they were going to release the money, but up till now they have not.
“The next thing we know is for the APC governorship candidate in the state to be boasting in his campaign that they will not release the money until he becomes the governor; that he is going to win the next election and that APC is in charge of the Federal Government, that they have blocked the release of the money to Kogi.
“This is shocking because this country belongs to all of us; whether you are in APC or PDP, the interest of the people is why we come to public service. So, if you say you want to be governor of a state, why will you block what will improve the lives of the workers of our state? It will improve the economy because everybody that collects salary will buy one thing or the other, and that is how the money circulates to improve the lives of the people.
“I have done everything I can, which include seeing the President, who said he had no problem authorizing the release of the money, but why the CBN governor has refused to release the money is what I don’t know. They asked us to bring biometric verification of the teachers and local government employees. We have done it. They asked us to bring BVN verification of these people, we collected those that have done their and told them that others have not because the time frame for BVN registration has not elapsed.
“Immediately, we wrote a circular to our employees and unions that they should they get their BVN as they will not be able to receive their money without it. I challenge the CBN to tell Nigerians, which other state they put through this type of process? This is injustice, it is unfair,” Wada lamented.
Audu had in a recent campaign promised workers in the state that he would pay all salaries owed if voted governor of the state. Wada has no doubt the CBN is witholding the fund so as to help Audu achieve this.
“It is political and unfortunate. Nobody has taken the trouble that I have taken to get this money for our state. This is not the money that can be mismanaged or misappropriated because the names of people, with the amount due to them, their account numbers and their BVN are there with biometric verification so how can you take out of the money except someone willingly gives you his own money?
“I am confident it is not the intention of Mr. President. The clear intent of President Buhari was to help Nigerian workers; so I don’t want anybody to drag him into it. This mischief is between some APC leaders, especially from Kogi and the CBN Governor, who should explain to Nigerians why he (Emefiele) is holding the money due to Kogi. Honourably, the CBN Governor should come out and tell the world what we have done wrong so that we can correct it; we are not infallible. But to tie it to election is bad for the democracy of this country,” Wada said.