Politics everywhere is a huge determinant factor to the control of Socio-political, economic and ethnoreligious factors in any country. In Nigeria for instance, politics overwhelm every aspect of its national fabric. It is played mostly along ethnic and religious cleavages, thereby enthroning mediocrity at the expense of meritocracy or commendation.
Kogi state is on the news recently because of the forthcoming Governorship election scheduled for November 16th. It is arguable that good leadership has fled the confluence state since the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello got his way to the Lugard house.
Amidst the political drama that got him where he is, coupled with his status as a youth, there is high expectation on him to perform optimally and satisfactorily. Unfortunately, this high expectation was sprawled to the mud soon after the governor began to tow the life of absurdities.
Governor Bello started drifting backward many rungs away from the ladder when he embarked on statewide screening of workers, with the view to identifying ghost workers.
Although ordinarily, there should be nothing wrong with that move. Save that even up till now, both the government and the Labour unions have continued to publish varying figures as to the exact number of workers in Kogi state. The immediate consequence of such a cynical move was the deliberate delay and nonpayment of workers’ salaries up to the tune of 35 months!
Recall that Kogi State like most states in Nigeria is the highest employer of labor in the state. These employees cut across the low-income earners and the extremely poor people in Kogi state, including those who depend on them for food, shelter and other basic needs of life.
So, for 38 months the youngest governor in Nigeria hardened his heart and turned his face against the plight, yearnings, and aspirations of Kogi workers. He never cared whether they fed well, or if they were able to pay their hospital bills or even buried their dead. Every economic activity was stagnated because of one man’s cluelessness. One major fact remains that politics in Nigeria is always overstretched. Politicians take politics too far that they tend to forget the major essence of human existence.
Any governor in Nigeria who is unable to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ allowances is a bad leader. This is a governor who received bailout funds commensurately but instead must have channeled it to irrelevant ventures. As it stands in Kogi State, the economy of the state is dead, healthcare, education, and infrastructures are all dead. No single project was ever completed in Kogi State during his first tenure.
Every single aspect of life in Kogi is tragic. The people are experiencing the worst moment in their life history. No wonder the rate of suicide in the state is on the increase. Recently, a woman was said to have received multiple alerts on account of the salary backlog being owed workers. On reaching the banking hall, she was told that the alerts are all fake as no credit is on her bank account. She dropped dead immediately.
In Kogi State, it is common to hear that unpaid workers jumped into rivers, some hanged on trees while others take poison on account of extreme frustration. Kogi people must be advised to resist any bait which is likely going to bring such a tyrant back.
Governor Bello has no shame, if not, he would not be begging for a second term. The question remains, what is he going back to do which will be different? Perhaps, to keep starving the people!
The problem with Governor Yahaya Bello is not his age. The problem with him is that he was not prepared for leadership. He does not have the capacity to fashion out the best ideology for which the state can be better governed. And that is a similar problem with most youth advocate. We youths want to take over from our fathers but very few among us know what is at stake and what needs to be done about it.
Before the APC primaries in Kogi state, the National Chairman of the Party, Adams Oshiomole boldly came out to say that the governor shall be denied ticket because he performed abysmally poor.
Governor Bello quickly joined the issue with him because of his utterances. Although in the end, the big forces in Abuja did otherwise, kudos must, therefore, be given to the APC National chairman for his courage in calling a spade a spade and that is exactly what other political parties must emulate in building the Nigeria of our dream.
The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) must be blamed for giving the incumbent governor the ticket to run again. This is on the ground that politics is like a business venture in which capital is of immense importance. Hence, the quality and measure of the capital contribute greatly to the extent of the output.
Whereas in politics, flag bearers of each party can be likened to its capital, so it is in business. Thus, if you have a good business, people will love to patronize you and certainly not if in politics, the flag bearers is of questionable character.
With the above analysis, it will certainly be very hard to market Governor Bello because he is really a bad market. What will APC tell the people of Kogi to convince them? But this is really where the politics come in. It is no doubt that a good candidate will reduce the burden which ordinarily would have been on the political parties during the campaign.
It will also reduce the rate of corrupt activities usually witnessed during every election. The good market they say sells itself. It will as well reduce how the electoral empires are being influenced in order to manipulate the outcome of elections.
PDP members made the same mistake as that of the APC. PDP was looked up to as the Messiah, but they could not read the handwriting on the wall. During PDP primaries, a total of 21 aspirants declared interest to contest for that position under PDP.
The two notable candidates include the controversial Sen. Dino Melaye and the son of the deceased former Kogi State governor-elect, Musa Wada.
On the faithful day of the primaries, unfortunately, as the votes were being counted some hired thugs stormed the areas and disrespected the primaries amidst heavy shooting. Of course the outcome of the primaries was manipulated and in the end, declared the winner of the primaries.
I dare to say that senator Dino Melaye would have been the proper candidate to match the bull’s spirit in Gov. Bello. If Melaye was given a fairground to enable him to clinch the ticket, the November 16th gubernatorial election would have been a work-over, believe me. You may wonder about the source of my confidence.
The fact remains that the people of Kogi State have had enough of bad governance. They are seemingly waiting for the slightest opportunity to breathe fresh air.
Consequently, the candidacy of Sen. Dino Melaye have been tested and trusted, if not, he would not have won the Kogi West senatorial seat, given the political drama that ensued between him and the presidency, following his defection from the ruling APC with these encouragements, the People’s Democratic Party have made it easy for Governor Bello to be re-elected. As far as Governor Bello is concerned, Musa Wada is not a viable opposition to match his arsenals. There, the people of Kogi must wait for the next four years to right their wrong.
In Kogi State now, anybody who speaks against the governor and its absurdities is being victimized. And depending on the individual concerned, he may be sacrificed for the continuity of the incumbent government. The recent illegality in name of impeachment of the deputy governor is still fresh in our memory.
Chief Simon Achuba was the duly elected deputy governor of Kogi state until his illegal impeachment. His sin was that he lent his voice against the evils being committed by Governor Bello. He was being owed several months of salary and allowances running into hundreds of millions of naira. All through his first tenure, he was used merely as a spare tire. He was not allowed some privileges due to a deputy governor.
Spurious allegation of misconduct was leveled against him. He was flagrantly impeached by the State House of Assembly notwithstanding the fact that he was never indicted in accordance with section 188 (8) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended in 2011. That section provided that where the 7-man panel being set up by the chief judge of the state reports to the House of Assembly that the allegation has not been proved, no further proceedings shall be taken in respect of the matter.
It bleeds my heart to learn that the Chief Justice could not comprehend the clear letters of the constitution which is the supreme book of the law. The implication of such carelessness is the fact that justice belongs to the side and powerful and not to everyone.
It must be noted that in order to sustain our nascent democracy, the masses must be at the forefront of the struggle for reformation. Nigerian masses seem not to have a place for history and even in most recent events.
I visited Kogi state recently and almost every corner of the state is lit with a beautiful portrait of Governor Yahaya Bello with different inscriptions in his praises. The masses are often seen in major streets carrying banners and placards rallying for him.
At this, you begin to wonder whether it is this same masses enduring all these hardships or any other set of people imported elsewhere. It is the same people! Because they speak Igala, Idoma and Egbira e.t.c I came back from Kogi State because the atmosphere is tensed. There is a high probability of breach of peace and public order in Kogi State. The two major parties contesting i.e. PDP and APC are the major sources of this trouble. They are most likely preparing for war and not an election.
Recently, the police IG has announced the deployment of about 35,000 policemen on the ground, including other sister agencies.
As the Kogi people decide on November 16th, two things are bound to occur, there must a winner and a loser. The people of Kogi State must be very careful in exercising their civic responsibilities, in that the next four years is likely to be the darkest moment of their soul. Hence, if they vote according to valid judgment, the converse will be the case. Governor Bello must also be watched.
We all know that it is very difficult to defeat a sitting governor. But where the people have been pushed to the wall, they tend to exhaust their patience. Power belongs to the people, let the people decide!