First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has said Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was unable to pay salaries because of the verification exercise that was organised for civil servants in the state.
Mrs. Buhari said since the verification exercise ended, all civil servants on the government’s payroll had been receiving regular salary.
The President’s wife therefore asked the people of the state to forgive Bello if any of them was negatively affected, urging them to forget what they once suffered.
Aisha said this at the All Progressives Congress rally in Lokoja on Thursday, shortly after Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, had knelt down before the crowd, asking them to forgive their governor.
Addressing the crowd, Mrs. Buhari said, “Let me refer back to Kaduna State governor’s speech where he had to kneel and say the people should forgive and forget.
“Also, my husband used to emphasise on salaries. It took a while before the Kogi salaries could be settled after a long time of verification.
“But this time, vote for him for continuity of payment of salary on time.”
Mrs. Aisha Buhari subsequently invited the governor to the podium, saying, “I want Yahaya Bello to talk to you about timely payment of salary.”
Addressing the crowd, the governor said, “We have been paying on time. “The civil servants can attest to that.
“Your Excellency, you directed, you supported and we cleared the salary arrears and we shall continue to pay on time.”
In another development, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State knelt before the people of Kogi State, asking them to forgive Governor Yahaya Bello for any wrong he had done.
The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, also knelt down next to el-Rufai. However, Bello did not join them in kneeling down.
El-Rufai, while addressing a crowd at the All Progressives Congress rally in Lokoja, noted that Bello was young when he became governor and had made many mistakes.
The Kaduna governor, however, said Bello had since retraced his steps.
He said, “Many people say Yahaya Bello is young; that he has fought many people. For every one that the governor has offended, I’m asking all of you to forgive him. He is young; he is supposed to make mistakes. When you are young, you make mistakes but you learn from them.
“On his behalf, I’m kneeling down, to beg all of you to forgive Yahaya Bello if he has offended you. He cares about the people of Kogi State. He cares about this state. He has brought progress to this state; he has brought young people and women into government.
“He has cleared salary arrears that he inherited from previous governments. You must all come out to support him. I beg you all. Let us make history. The Late Prince Audu did everything to bring progress to this state. Let us not dishonour his memory by allowing PDP to return to Lugard House.”
He said the Peoples Democratic Party did nothing in the state during its 13-year rule. He, therefore, declared the opposition party dead.
El-Rufai added, “In the last four years, the progress recorded by Governor Yahaya Bello in the last four years is more than what the PDP has tried to do in 13 years.”