Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State says the election has gone beyond ethnic sentiment in the state, saying the All Progressives Congress won the November 11, 2023 governorship poll because it presented a popular candidate and not based on tribe or ethnicity.
He spoke at an APC stakeholders meeting at the Glasshouse of the Government House, Lokoja on Saturday.
Bello said: “Kogi must develop as one united state.
“Under no illusion must any tribe think it could vote for itself and become governor without the support of other tribes.
“The November 11 governorship election has shown that unity is the watchword.
“In 2019, I won without ethnic agenda.
“I cautioned against tribal sentiments and asked that we desist from it before the election.
“I was optimistic that the APC would win the November 11 governorship election.
“I wanted it to be a sweet victory, the reason I cautioned against sentiments.”
Bello lauded President Bola Tinubu for his support toward the victory of the APC in the November 11 off-cycle election.
He added: “This is because our party, the APC, and its candidate, Alhaji Usman Ododo, won the election clean and clear.
“It was pertinent to review and evaluate the election, which APC won overwhelmingly, for people to learn from the mistakes and avoid the pitfalls of the past in future exercise.
“The journey was full of ups and downs in the last seven years.
“But we thank God for the resounding victory.
“With all the obstacles before, during and after the election, the APC came out stronger.
“The time for everybody to carry his cross has come.
“Everybody will bear his father’s name because there is still a future.”
Bello said that transparency would remain his watchword as he tries to ensure that the people enjoyed the democracy dividends.
The governor expressed regret that people allowed emotions, personal and parochial interests to cloud their sense of reasoning during the election.
He said that the good governance by his administration in the areas of road construction, health care and infrastructure development were enough for the APC to win overwhelmingly.
Bello described the Igala nation as good people, who were not tribalistic or racist but that unfortunately the majority were misled by poor representation.
To the people of Kogi West Senatorial District, he assured that payback time would soon come and called on leaders to educate their people to be selfless.
Bello thanked God for giving him the opportunity to serve the people, adding that he was well equipped to continue to serve the state better.
In his remarks, the state Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja, congratulated the APC family and the governor-elect for the victory in the November 11 election.
He said that the victory wouldn’t have been achieved without the support and hard work of Bello.
“Those who could not work for victory should break away from sentiments and work for a united Kogi in the future,” Onoja said.
Senator Sunday Karimi (APC-Kogi) lauded the people for the victory.
Karimi, the representative of Kogi West Senatorial District, commended the people of his zone for standing by the APC in spite of having other candidates in the race.
In his remark, the state Chairman of the APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello, appreciated the party faithful for fighting very hard for victory.
The Chairman assured members that the party would do a review of the whole process to determine those who betrayed the APC.