The Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello must be the second most talked about person in the country at this time after President, Muhammadu Buhari. Though they are not attached to same umbilical, as they are not from same state. However, they are locked together by their political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Even that seeming thread is at a breaking point.
Unlike Buhari, Bello’s popularity is dipped in all manners of controversies such that the state’s slogan ‘The Confluence State’ has been subjected to ridicule. Since he miraculously assumed the post of the helmsman of the state, Bello has done nothing to prove his detractors wrong that he was not just an 11th hour miracle.
The growing divergence of opinion on his style of leadership is reaching an alarming peak. Recently, a peaceful protest was carried out by a group, Kogi Rescue Mission (KRM), to the national headquarters of the APC, with numerous placards stating the group’s grievances. From unpaid salaries to misuse of state resources and widespread hunger in the land.
More recent is the outcry in the APC over Bello’s ambitious goal to run a second term. The lack of support from his party members is evidence that truly Bello has performed below bar. Surely, the great men and women who have made the state proud must be rolling in their graves on how the state, which once was the pride of the people is now a mockery of its past.
Indeed to turn a blind eye to the on-goings in the state will be a sacrilege, even if Bello still thumps his chest that he has made significant changes in the state. His renewed bloated ego is one he likes to ramble on at any given opportunity. He would regale anyone who chooses to listen that he was able to deliver his state to the president at the last general elections. In fact, each time he is confronted by his shortcomings or the perceived hostility targeted towards him, Bello and his right hand man, Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja will remind you of their victory dance.
Truly, the APC won the majority seats in the State House of Assembly, but it didn’t erase the fact that it was a fierce competition for the ruling party. Ordinarily, this feat should earn Bello the desired applause but his apparent mediocrity cannot be ignored, nor his intimidating stance over other political appointees who didn’t align to his goals.
It is not the first time he is using his political weight against those who challenge his authority. Who can easily forget the intriguing saga between him and Senator Dino Melaye. With all his political backing, Bello couldn’t destroy the reputation of the rambunctious senator. The senator further made Bello to eat his dust when he emerged the winner of the Kogi West Senatorial District, a victory neither Bello nor the party foresaw. The victory of Melaye instead of being perceived as what it is, that is a rejection of Smart Adeyemi and Bello because of his failure and misgovernance is now blamed on political appointees. This seems to be Bello’s modus operandi to redeem his name.
The latest scapegoat in this case is a retiring Director General whom Bello claimed charged people to offer employment because the DG expressed interest in running for governorship. Another DG who is being considered as a possible replacement for Bello forced the governor to start looking all over the place for election results of the fellow, hopefully to prove that since he didn’t win his polling unit or ward in the just concluded national elections, then he is of no political value.
Perhaps, Bello expected his subordinates to do all manner of atrocities in order to get the desired votes for his party and Mr. President. If they have to rig the election, buy votes or whatever means, Bello could care less.
The Kogi State Governor carries the can for harassing a senator to be marooned on a hospital bed in a hospital so that a recall against the senator will take him out while he was incapacitated. After spending the salaries of workers on the failed recalled, somebody would have thought he learned some lessons, but it looks like it is impossible for him to learn. When elections came, he harassed him again, kept him out of the state, prevented him from campaigning and even tried to stop him for entering the state to cast his vote but the senator still won the election again. A governor that cannot secure a recall in absentia or win an election against a candidate in absentia; that is who Bello is. And it is very shameful. The governor has been exposed for who he really is; a pure political lightweight, and socially irrelevant person. Unfortunately, he has a bloated image of himself and wants to come back as governor. How absurd.
In his desperate attempt to rule over the will of the people, Bello forgets that he is the most unqualified candidate for the state’s upcoming governorship election in November. Whatever achievement his administration may brag about, in terms of achievements has paled into insignificance. Non-payment of salaries and withholding funds for the state’s development is enough reason for indigenes to oppose and condemn his re-election bid. The threats to life on those who are perceived as enemies of the state further deepens the increasing hostility towards the governor.
In the coming days, the heat is bound to get hotter for the governor as the growing din of protesting voices against him continues to inch closer to the President’s ears. Bello will perhaps have to cling to more than his boastful claim that he delivered the state and Kogi Central to the party in the presidential and national assembly elections. The handwriting on the wall is clear. The battle is between him and Kogites.
May Nigeria succeed, and may Kogi not drag that success down.
Oyedepo is a concerned indigene of Kogi who resides in Lokoja