Gov Bello reinforces Kogi tragedy
WHEN the top hats of the All Progressives Congress (APC) plotted furiously to impose Yahaya Bello on Kogi State as governor in place of Abubakar Audu, the deceased winner of the 2015 governorship poll, the party and those who supported him were warned that they were about to foist a disaster upon the state. The warnings were ignored. Prince Audu’s running mate, Abiodun James Faleke, was the right and proper person constitutionally to inherit the mandate. But the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, introduced a legal sleight of hand to undermine justice and help emplace the vile anomaly now blighting the state. To complete the conspiracy, Mr Bello’s supporters, many of them from his ethnic stock, jumped enthusiastically on the usurper governor’s bandwagon by describing the Abuja concocted mandate as a divine mandate, one that supposedly came from God.
Now, all the conspirators have since moved on and abandoned Kogi to its tragedy. Some of them are party officials from the Southwest who schemed to, in their opinion, checkmate what they saw as the ‘expansionist’ plans of former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu. Others are governors from the Northwest and North Central who ignored the constitution and arrogantly swore that no Kogi Yoruba or Christian would govern the state. And others simply suggested that Kogi had a North Central identity to maintain, not a Southwest identity to acquire. The plots and intrigues did not make sense, but their authors were determined to thwart democracy, subvert the constitution, and annihilate the principles of justice. The plotters eventually triumphed, for most of them were in any case not Kogites who would suffer the consequences of imposing a total misfit upon the state.
Mr Bello is not just a misfit, he presides over a cabinet of grovelling and deluded misfits. The state is so horrendously misgoverned that all three tertiary institutions are shut, workers are not paid in harmonised fashion, with some being owed more than one year salary, elementary exercises like staff screening and verification came to a tortured end after three false and incompetent starts, and nothing properly described as elevated and visionary projects are being undertaken. It was in the midst of this retrogression, when workers and pensioners were dying of hunger, when the state was pining in agony sickened by the ineptitude inflicted on them by both Mr Bello and the APC in Abuja, that the Neanderthals in Daily Times, apparently marking their 91 years anniversary, conferred on Mr Bello a ‘good governance’ award. The paper, now a shadow of itself, claimed to be celebrating what they improperly called the ‘Times Hero Awards’.
Kogi State is probably the worst governed state in Nigeria. Its governor and cabinet have no idea what governance is all about. The cabinet is inexperienced, without ambition, has no design for the present or the future, is totally devoid of any feelings for dying, unpaid workers and shut tertiary institutions, and is incapable of conceiving even modest plans for the state as a whole. How Mr Bello, presiding over this mediocre cabinet and dysfunctional ministries, can be conferred an award by anyone beggars belief. That he received the award and celebrated it in his usual newspaper propaganda flourish is an indication of his relentless clowning and just how things have declined and decayed in Kogi.
Who will help Kogi after the APC in Abuja and scores of conspirators have betrayed the state? The anomaly of 2015 cannot be reversed until Mr Bello has spent his four years in office. He will of course not return in the 2020 election; but surviving till then is almost practically impossible for the tormented people of Kogi. But survive they must, even if thousands die. They were betrayed by the APC and Nigeria’s feckless and fickle judiciary, as the supposedly ethical and reformist government in Abuja turned a blind eye to the disaster plotted in late 2015. After surviving two incompetent governments before Mr Bello’s ascendancy, Kogi now lies prostrate. Only Abuja can call Mr Bello to order, assuming all the big political players in that scheming city are not seized by pangs of conscience and guilt. They can lean on him substantially to compel him to pay workers, reopen schools, fund hospitals, and reverse many of his silly and immature policies enthroned in a little over one year after he managed to stir himself from deep slumber.
Nobody else can help Kogi. Not the workers who are underfed and helpless; not the governor and his cabinet who lack ideas and imagination; not the House of Assembly which has been castrated and rendered voiceless and soulless; and not even the people themselves, given their initial inexcusable connivance at the enthronement of the spineless wonder, Mr Bello. If the APC should openly denounce Mr Bello, and President Muhammadu Buhari will return to Nigeria and, among other pressing matters, remember the tragedy his party has inflicted on Kogi and decide to call the governor to order, perhaps the state can be salvaged. For now, Kogi is in steep decline, unheeded and unaided.