•As ex-Gov Idris challenges action in court

November 14, 2016 Yinka Oladoyinbo - Lokoja

Kogi State government, on Sunday, said its decision to set up a panel of inquiry on past administrations in the state was final, as it was not meant to witch hunt anybody.
The clarification by the government on the issue came against the backdrop of a case filed by a former governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, challenging the proprietary of the panel.
Government said it would not succumb to any form of intimidation aimed at frustrating the determination of the state governor, Alhaji Yayaha Bello, to promote accountability.
Idris, who governed the state between 2003 and 2012, had, last week, filed the suit at the Kogi State High Court, sitting in Lokoja, challenging the decision to constitute the commission of inquiry.
He queried the action of the government to constitute the panel based on the provisions of the 1963 Northern Nigerian constitution.
But, in a statement by the director general, media and publicity to the governor, Kingsley Fanwo, the government said it would be a disservice to the people of the state if questions were not asked about how their commonwealth was managed in the period under review..
It explained that the panel was aimed at achieving the goal of digging into the past to appreciate the rationale behind the rot of infrastructure in the state and to send signals to the present and future administrations that they would be made to give account of their stewardships after their tenures.
The government said it was not aimed at witch-hunting anybody, but to set the record straight, “in keeping up with the anti-corruption drive of the present administration,” just as he alleged that those who had gone to court to “stop us from asking questions are giving a strong impression that they have something to hide.”
It added: “Governor Yahaya Bello is a man of justice and he will ensure no one is witch-hunted. The panel is independent of any influence from any quarters and the governor has great confidence in the panel to ensure justice and fairness guide its operations.
“As a governor with undeniable respect for the rule of law and constitutionalism, he will continue to lean on the guarantee of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Nobody has accused them of stealing but they have shown they don’t want to be accountable.
“Today, Kogi State has one of the best public accountability system in the country. The administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello has made extra-budgetary spending a taboo in the State and the Public Procurement Act is at full swing of practice. We have published our accounts, what the administration got and how we have dispensed the funds.
“The governor went ahead to publish the balances of the bailout fund and the accounts where they are kept. The governor is incorruptible and that is why he has the moral justification to probe into the past because he has nothing to hide.”