The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has received knocks for declaring Monday a public holiday to mark the return of President Muhammadu Buhari from London, where he had gone for medical treatment.
The first blow came from the Kogi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, which described the holiday as an aberration.
The party in a statement signed by its Director, Research and Documentation, Achadu Dickson, noted that declaration of public holiday in the state was the height of lack and loss of ideas.
The statement read, “The recent government action shows that we are have entered a ‘one-chance’ administration.”
The party stated that rather than devote energy to pray for Mr. President, citizens should pray for God to heal Kogi State, noting that the state had lost focus. Similarly, Senator Dino Melaye, said the holiday was not necessary, stating that “President Buhari must be disgusted with the juvenile and bootlicking attitude of the governor of Kogi State.”
He added, “Kastina State the home state of our beloved President has not declared public holiday; why then is Yahaya Bello taking Panadol for another man’s headache. We love our President in Kogi State, no doubt; but to take hypocrisy to a legendary level is worrisome.
“Declaring a public holiday will not stop you from going to prison. Pay civil servants and pensioners to reduce your prison term.”
Also, the Igala Consultative Forum condemned the holiday. A statement from the forum signed by the Secretary, San Ugbede, read, “We are all happy for his health improvement and smooth trip back home, which is to the delight of all Nigerians.
“We do not see any reason or meaning for such a restriction (holiday).This unthinkable decision is enough to cost the Kogi economy colossal amount and lives of innocent patients who are scheduled for various medical services today, There is no how this accidental holiday will not cost someone somewhere in Kogi his life. We view this decision of the Kogi governor as immaturity of the highest order and uncalled for.
“The sudden declaration of a public holiday by Yahaya Bello is an eye service and diversionary, he is only pretending to be the good boy of Aso Rock; this action is only meant to cover his tracks; he is only trying to cover the sun with palm tree leaves.”
The group also accused Bello of renting a crowd to welcome the President on his arrival at the airport, while paying no attention to an outbreak of disease in the state.
It said, “Imagine a governor of a state where a dangerous disease has already claimed over 62 lives doing nothing to save lives. Instead of declaring state of emergency in the health sector, he has the temerity to shut down the state to declare public holiday to celebrate a treated and healthier person returning home to resume work. As we speak, lives of innocent Kogites are in danger as a result of the enpidemic, which doctors diagnosed as gastroenteritis and what is our governor doing to stop the spread of this deadly disease to other parts of the state; how many people are quarantined now to avoid the scourge? Nothing but declaring fanfare to waste our meagre resources,” the ICF added.
But the state’s Director General, Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, said the public holiday was declared to celebrate an African icon.
“The public holiday was declared to celebrate an African icon, President Muhammadu Buhari, who went on a medical trip abroad and came back in good health.
“The holiday was to enable the people of Kogi State to celebrate the grace of God in bringing Mr. President back alive. It also afforded the people of the state the opportunity to pray and fast for the progress of Nigeria and for Mr. President to keep waxing stronger for the task ahead.
“It is unfortunate that those condemning it choose to take Panadol for our headache. They should join us to celebrate the Lion of Africa and stop politicising an act of patriotism on the part of the governor,” he said.
He said the governor had a health walk on Monday and visited the specialist hospital where he declared free medical care for all patients on admission. To the families, it was a great day.
“God forbids, if Mr. President had died, many states would have declared many days of mourning. But Kogi only declared one day to thank God for saving our President’s life. Are some people angry that Mr. President is back, hale and hearty to continue to fight corruption?”