By Baba Ejiga
The political atmosphere in Kogi state North Central Nigeria, is presently lased with riddles of controversies involving APC and the people of Kogi state. First, it was Adam Oshiomhole, Chairman of APC who stated unequivocally that governors who could not pay salaries to workers in their states should not be returned for a second term in office.
That statement came as a big relief for the people of Kogi who thought that APC will not allow GYB to participate in the party’s primary election. In spite of that bold statement, Bello was not only cleared by the party, but was supported by APC to participate in the primary election which he won. How he won the party’s primary election is a story for another day.
The question is: why was Bello cleared to participate in the primaries when indeed he is notorious for not paying salary to workers? It is a well known fact also that Governor Yahaya Bello did not perform well in his 43 months in office as governor of Kogi state.
Under this scenario, the APC Chairman, Oshiomhole threw the mother of all bombshells by saying: “Governor Yahaya Bello has learnt his lessons,” and would be aided by the party to win November 16, 2019 elections. What a shame?
Why is the APC Chairman speaking from both sides of his mouth? What lesson has GYB learnt when workers are still owed salary arrears and pensioners are crying day and night due to delay or non payment of their entitlements?
Similarly, infrastructure and other areas of development are suffering from lack of attention while Bello gloats about that he is going to win for a second term as governor of Kogi state.
In spite of APC’s sermonization of fighting corruption and enthroning an enviable work ethics, their latest action of supporting a failed governor for a second term is not only absurd but an undesirable enthronement of unacceptable culture of tyranny, selfishness and simplistic representation for a governor that has remained largely unconcerned about the plight of his people and state.
In spite of these obvious facts of negligence and playing to the gallery by APC, they have foisted GYB, a proponent of populist idiosyncracy on Kogi people without recourse to where GYB is coming from.
This is a man who inherited over 100,000 votes from the late Prince Abubakar Audu. A man who sprays cash to passers by akin to the script played by the notorious criminal late Lawrence Anini alias Ovibgbo while majority of the productive people in the state wallow in abject poverty.
This is a man who was caught in the scandal of arms and military uniform saga, case of which has quenched like dust on a rainy day. This is a man who has created official and state sponsored thugs under the guise of “forest guards.” This is a man that has openly boasted that he will be returned to Lugard House no matter what happens.
This is a man that has whimsically celebrated Edward Onoja and Ahmed Attah whom he relies on to rattle the populace and create fears in them thereby coercing the gullible lots to do their bidding in November elections. This is a man that has bastardized chieftaincy institutions in Kogi state by unwarranted patronage to gain support and political favours. This is a man who beat his chest and said he will move six faculties of Kogi State University from Anyigba to Okene if he is returned for the second term, without regard to the cost of doing so and in utter disregard to the feelings of majority of Kogi people.
This is a man who has no tangible project attached to his name in over three years in spite of the humongous amount of bail out funds doled out to him by the APC led federal government. This is a man that has pulled down existing structures in utter disregard to the psych of Kogi state people and his predecessors who laboured to build them.
This is a man who has rendered his Deputy as useless as a drenched carbon paper, who has not only denied him of his salaries and allowances but has cut him off from public utilities like water and electricity. This is a man that has used his high position of authority to acquire state properties with braggadocio. This is a man that has unduly favoured his friends and cronies with positions without consideration for merit and fairness.
The snag is: why on earth will APC foist such a failure on the good people of Kogi state? Is that how to be a corrective regime, by celebrating and promoting failure? The APC has failed Kogites by their choice of GYB as their flag bearer in the November 16, 2019 elections. Instead of them to disencumber him as avoidable liability on Kogites, they have not only embraced him but are now promoting him through deliberate lie telling with a view to confuse and arm-twist Kogites.
In our fledging democracy, if the ruling party at the centre can present such incompetent, náive, chaotic, ill-informed person with jejune and puerile ideas in the midst of highly talented, competent and illustrious sons and daughters of Kogi who aspired for the exalted office of the governor, absurdity will never end in our theatre of politics. Too bad.
How will the spirits of Alhaji A. T. Ahmed, Chief Sunday Awoniyi, Chief Stephen Achema and Prince Abubakar Audu feel in their graves? As disturbed as the living indeed.
The irony of Bello’s foibles is that no part of Kogi state has fared well, but the most affected and the most abused senatorial district is Kogi East which has a voting population of 52% while Kogi West (26%) and Kogi Central (22%) trails behind beggarly.
“OBOILO MÉÑWU KI’IGALA CHEN. MÉKWANÉ KA’JUJA’ACHÉ. OJÓ’OGWU BÉLA’MÉ” The APC have done their bit by fielding an unpopular candidate, but it is now left for Kogites to decide who they want as governor in the next dispensation. Whether the party will regret their action in the now and in 2023 is up to them.
However, if majority rule is a cardinal philosophy of democracy, the majority should be prepared to assert their voting power and numerical superiority this time around. It seems to me that if Bello had done well in the last three years, perhaps, many Kogites including yours sincerely should have joined his campaign train to canvass for his re-election for a second term.
But what do you expect from a man who rubbished his Deputy and made him irrelevant? Nothing. What do you expect from the person who disdained Igala women by calling them cheap and errant? Nothing but chaos. What do you expect from a person who got favourable allocations from the centre but have no single major project executed in 43 months? Nothing.
What do you expect from the person who sees Senator Dino Melaye as an enemy in spite of the good works he did for his people in Kogi West? Nothing. What do you expect from a person who sees our beloved Barrister Natasha Akpoti as a foe in spite of her love for Kogi state? Nothing. What campaign promises will GYB and his cronies be coming out with? Lies and deception.
What is the APC candidate going to tell workers who are being owed salaries? Deception and falsehood. What is he going to tell pensioners? Mockery with sugar-coated mouth. What will GYB tell Kogites, majority of whom are held hostage in their homes due to insecurity in most parts of the state?
Nothing new. What does GYB deserve for subjecting Kogites to untold hardship and treating majority with “ibété?” VOTE HIM OUT. Can Kogi state endure the yoke of Bello for another four years? Certainly NO.
From the foregoing, it is pertinent to state categorically clear that nobody should undermine the collective resolve of the Igala majority to wrestle political power from GYB who has dealt treacherously with all stakeholders in the state.
Nobody should be allowed to be coerced into doing Bello’s bidding. Intimidation and thuggery will not work this time around because many people have realized that GYB do not have monopoly of violence without people taking their destinies in their own hands. They cannot kill all the voters at the same time.
Try hard as they may, it will not work because their pot of wickedness against the people is filled to the brim. More so, after Empirical Analysis and the Great Clairvoyance Horoscope of Bello’s chances of winning, it can be said that his chances are bleak and he is likely lose at the polls because the cosmic lords are all arrayed against him with the permission of Almighty God as he has to face retribution and pay for his prodigality.
Lastly, the next governor should not follow the footsteps of Bello. He should embrace all ethnic groups in Kogi state and treat them with equity, fairness and justice. I say this based on informed reasons, and I don’t expect anyone to either give ignominious response or idolize my person for such suggestions.
BABA EJIGA is a Kaduna based commentator of public affairs.