Governor Usman Ododo of Kogi State is on a collision course with his predecessor, Yahaya Bello following the sack of the transition committee chairman of the Ofu local government area, Hassan Atawodi, SaharaReporters has learnt.

Atawodi was handpicked to head the Ofu local government transition committee chairman on 9th January 2024 by the former Governor, Bello.

Meanwhile, the sack of Atawodi by the present governor is believed to be used to test the waters in what has been described as a “silent crisis” going on between the two leaders.

Although the real reason behind the sack of Ofu Transition Chairman may not have been heard, political watchers suspected it was in connection with the alleged diversion of palliative rice meant for distribution to indigent constituents.

The governor according to sources accused the chairman of diverting 1,200 bags of rice which the deputy governor hijacked but wanted to pin on the Chairman.

Insider sources told SaharaReporters that trouble for Atawodi started when he allegedly disobeyed instructions of the Deputy Governor, Joel Salifu Oyibo, who is also from the same Ofu local government area.

The deputy governor was said to have told him (the chairman) to share the palliative rice meant for the indigent citizens of Ofu to party stakeholders instead of the targeted poor.

The idea of sharing the rice to party stakeholders, which the lion share had been prepared to go to the former Vice Zonal Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Hon. Alfa Muhammed and the Deputy Governor himself, was allegedly opposed by the caretaker chairman, Mr Atawodi, who saw it as heartless considering the current economic hardship, high rate of inflation and high cost of living.

“Atawodi ignored the arrangement and made it clear to the deputy governor, Mr Joel Oyibo that the people are going through a lot this time and it would be unwise to share 1,200 bags of rice to stakeholders when in actual sense, the rice was not even enough to distribute to indigent families.

“This got the deputy governor infuriated and consequencetly threatened to deal with the caretaker chairman Hon. Atawodi for daring him.”

Continuing, the source said “Atawodi was subsequently, barred from the venue where the rice was shared. Instead the deputy governor appointed one Alfa’s loyalist in the person of Musa Muhammed Lawal a.k.a Solar whom he directed to take charge.”

In a video made available to SaharaReporters on the sharing of the palliative, it shows Musa Lawal when he was collecting the 1,200 bags of rice meant for the Ofu council.

According to the source, the rice he collected were allegedly sold in Lokoja the state capital to a business tycoon as directed by Hon. Alfa and Joel Oyibo (deputy governor).

Sequel to the development, Kogi State Governor, Ododo, on Monday, approved the immediate removal of Hon. Hassan Atawodi as the Transition Chairman of Ofu Local Government Area.

Governor Ododo, however, approved the appointment of Musa Muhammed Lawal a.k.a Solar as the new Transition Chairman of Ofu Local Government Area with immediate effect.

In a statement issued on Monday by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs Folashade Ayoade, said the appointment of Lawal was immediate and ordered Atawodi to hand over government property to the new TC chairman.

The source, however, revealed that Hon. Atawodi who is a loyalist of former Governor Bello, is seen as a threat to the new governor while Hon. Alfa who was once Bello’s loyalist has switched loyalty to Governor Ododo as he is no longer in the good books of Bello.

Another source told SaharaReporters that “there was a kind of little dispute from the day one of the flag off palliative rice. The day of the flag off palliative rice there was a meeting called by the deputy governor in his residence. He called the meeting and invited the transition chairman from Ofu.

“In the first place, they accused him of excesses. They accused of not carrying the stakeholders along. Then after the flag off palliative the time he supposed to go and look for trucks to carry the Rice for the Ofu to the council Secretariat, they were calling him here and there for their meetings. He, then went for the meeting and by the time he came out of the meeting it was late. Then, the following day he supposed to get clearance to pick the rice to the Secretariat, unfortunately they denied him of the clearance.

“They now said that only the local government secretary, the party chairman and one other person will be assigned to the collection of the palliative rice. So they denied him of getting that clearance.

“When he called the deputy governor of the state who is from the same council to explain to him what was going on, he told him that he was on his way travelling. He never got back to that. Throughout that, no response from the deputy governor. He called the House of Assembly member representing the local government at the state assembly, there was no response and that day passed.

“The following day being the third day, that was the day they cleared him and now told him that it is only the Council Secretary, DLG and party chairman that would be assigned to get the rice. Luckily I was one of the house that was dissolved, so I was asked to be in venue to monitor things going on when loading the rice. And DLG of the local government, the secretary and the party chairman and one external body by name Danjuma were part of them collecting the rice

“They came that day with four small vehicle called Diana and loaded 110 bags each and that four contained 440 bags. Then big trucks were loaded 760 bags a total is 1,200 bags allocated to Ofu local government. All was captured on video and pictures but they never knew. So after the whole thing, when the rice were loaded they packed the truck the same place and covered with tarpaulin.

“I also captured and videod it. I now approached the party chairman and asked him, Mr Shagari,  does that mean that the trucks will not move to the Secretariat? He said no that they are moving the vehicle down to the deputy governor’s house.

“He said that they cannot move the rice to the council headquarters because night had come. That the following day it will be moved to the Secretariat and up till now as speak the rice has not arrived the council Secretariat. However, in a twist of event, this afternoon the Caretaker Chairman was sacked for allegedly diverting the rice.”