Five roads leading to Natasha Akpoti’s hometown and polling unit in Kogi State were allegedly destroyed by Governor Yahaya Bello.
The bitter nature of Nigerian politics was on display on Friday with the ongoing rancor between two of the leading politicians in Kogi State.
During a meeting on Thursday, the state’s governor, Yahaya Bello, allegedly directed stakeholders of the ruling All Progressives Congress to ensure they do everything within their power to win the Saturday presidential and National Assembly election for the party.
Thugs loyal to Bello had attacked the campaign flag-off of Akpoti-Uduaghan in 2022.
The Bello-led administration has previously demanded millions of Naira from the PDP before allowing its candidates to disseminate flyers or put posters.
The government had sought the payment of the fund within 14 days in a letter dated October 24 and written to the state’s PDP chairman.
Yet, hoodlums thought to be loyal to Governor Bello smashed Natasha’s campaign billboards across the five local government areas despite the money she paid.
In the latest event, Natasha, in a video posted online on Friday, alleged that Governor Bello destroyed the access roads to her hometown in order to prevent INEC staff from conducting electoral activities tomorrow.
In the video, some residents could be seen rallying around gullies in Ihima, Okehi LGA of Kogi state while others were trying to fill some dug holes.
Natasha, who is the senatorial candidate for the PDP representing Kogi Central, said, “We woke up to the news that Yahaya Bello had instructed the excavation of all access roads leading to my hometown, thereby cutting me out of travelling from my hometown.
“What this means is INEC will not be able to get materials to certain communities especially my hometown. What this also means is if Yahaya Bello and his APC goons decide to attack me and the good people of Kogi Central, it would be impossible for the Police to gain access.
“I am calling on the President and all service chiefs to call Yahaya Bello to order. If he is going to lose, and I know he will lose, he should lose honourably. As a matter of fact, Yahaya Bello you are not on the ballot, so what the hell is your problem? Why are you fighting so hard? Why are you fighting the people?”
Kogi Government Responds
Kogi’s commissioner for information and communications, Kingsley Fanwo, responded to the senatorial candidate’s charges by claiming that the road excavation was a planned security measure.
According to Fanwo, the roads were blocked off to redirect traffic and stop criminals from using them to violate the local tranquility.
He said that previous gunman attacks as well as the community’s explosion in December were the driving forces for the decision.
“It would be recalled that a couple of days ago, the secretariat complex of Okehi Local Government suffered from the effect of an explosive device. The security agencies ensured no life was lost as a result of the explosion, but the state government convened an emergency security council meeting to address the security challenges in the area with a view to devising strategies of averting possible future occurrence, especially as we witnessed similar explosion on December 29, 2022 at Okene,” Fanwo said.
“One of the measures arrived at was to restrict the number of routes to the flashpoints to enable security agents properly mount effective surveillance on the other access roads for the safety of the people, especially as they go to the polls on Saturday, February 25, 2023.”