By Oyigu Elijah.
The end to the legal battle between Governor Yahaya Bello and a Vocal Critic, Austin Usman Okai is far from end as a magistrate court sitting in Lokoja Tuesday ruled that, Okai should be kept in police custody till April 13 for another hearing of the case.
The court gave the ruling despite the bail application prayed the court by Okai’s counsel, a source who witnessed the court proceeding told this writer.
Austin Okai, who hails from Emewe Opada, Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi (a town next to mine) was arrested by men of Nigeria police allegedly acting on the orders of Kogi state government.
He was arraigned Tuesday on some infamous charges ranging from Causing disappearance of evidence (handsets), Conspiracy with other people to bomb IGR house, Publication of false articles in social media to embarrass governor Bello and his cabinet, to publishing the rumour of the death of Bello during his one year anniversary.
In my earlier article yesterday, I did hint on how Former Governor Wada arrested Odaudu Joel alongside his wife who was then a 300L student of Kogi state university and it took the writings and protest of all of us (Kogi Youth) for him to be freed.
At the tail end of Wada’s administration, my brother Hon. Samuel Obochi was arrested and taken away to an unknown destination for several days for allegedly writing against Wada’s government. Many thanks to Ocheja Christian and other Kogites of like minds whose peaceful protests and agitation culminated to his freedom from such a politically motivated incarceration.
According to a report in a section of the media , Kogi state Government had through the men of the Department of State Security (DSS) arrested the publisher of Policy and The Lawmakers Magazine, Mr Ogungbemi over a report published in the October edition of the magazine. He was arrested for allegedly writing against the state’s Chief Of Staff, Edward Onoja.
Our state has become a land where one who talks against them, receives the spat of his life as they will be battle ready go against him not minding how they came into power.
In any nation where the Media and social Critics is easily roped into the corner and its vocal trumpet is hijacked into the solitary, such a nation is doomed for gratuitous crisis which could have ordinarily been avoided if there exist a harmonious relationship between the government and those criticizing government’s activities.
The former President Goodluck Jonathan was called all sort of names including being called a kindergarten President by the former APC’s spokesperson and the incumbent information Minister but neither president Jonathan nor any member of the PDP sued Lai Mohammed to court. Jonathan at a point said, he was the most attacked president in the word but he never saw that as a medium of using the state’s security agencies to fight his political enemy and possibly incarcerate them. I am not saying he was totally righteous in this wise.
Some months ago, it was rumoured that president Buhari kicked the bucket while on a medical vacation to the United Kingdoms. We are yet to hear of how many people were incarcerated and maltreated for spreading the rumour.
It should be known to those in power especially the APC led government and those in Kogi state who are ignorant of the transient nature of power that, once you have become a public official, you have at the same time become a public property and therefore who ever does not want to be talked against has no business being in politics. APC government got to the throne by the help of the social media and it is that same social media that we, Nigerians will use to checkmate their policy and programmes.
The state, as it stands, is at the back seat of development and those in the saddle of power have not proven anything to show they know their onions. It is therefore germane to assert that rather than fighting concerned citizens, those in power should bemoan their ineptitude in providing sound leadership to the people whose mandate they represent. Kogi state is crying for leadership and not hardship
Is it not true that Kogi state is presently grounded with all its tertiary institutions under lock and key? Is it not true that majority of the state work force have not been paid their salaries for more than 10 months? Is it not true that pensioners are dying of endless screening without getting their monthly stipends? My father died recently with the state government owing him over 14 months pension allowance. Is it not true that the government is confused on its handling of the workers’ verification and audit exercise? What has this government in the state gotten right from its inception? How faring is the state under Bello?
The saying that this government met a dried economy is no more an alibi because when you discover a problem for more than one year and you seem not to have a proper way of solving it, such an act only shows how weak you are in policy and planning.
We must go beyond fighting people and fight poverty. Stop fighting your perceived critics and fight hunger. Do not close the mouth of our people, but open our higher institutions which the administration has brought under luck and keys. Fight kidnapping and other criminally activities and leave our people for us.
As Kogites await the dispensation of justice come Thursday, 13th April, it behooves on the judiciary to protect the sanctity of its name and redeemed its already soiled image of being the court of the rich.
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