If President Muhammadu Buhari had not put his foot down firmly in favour of your candidacy as chairman, what we know today as the All Progressive Congress could have collapsed because progressive-minded individuals in the country knew that the former chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was virtually held hostage by the all-powerful governors in the party. Some, like Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, had completely pocketed him. Anybody who wants to contradict the above assertion will need to answer the question: What became of Tony Momoh’s report on why the APC has been fractionized in Kogi State?
Comrade, you will recall that the loss of Imo State to the opposition party was as a result of sheer arrogance, impunity and imperial bearing of the immediate past governor, Rochas Okorocha whose comportment and bearing during the last election seemed to say “I am Imo State”. Compare that with what happened in Amosun’s Ogun State where an individual dared the whole party machinery because his preferred candidate was not the choice of APC as a party in the state? Then, add Ondo State where an APC sitting governor, Rotimi Akeredolu consistently worked against the interest of his own party because of his alleged face-off with Senator Boroffice-a Senator from his own party! Two important senatorial seats were lost to the opposition in the process. And finally, one of the bitterest of the losses: that of Oyo State – a key progressive state- where ex-Governor Ajimobi created many enemies for the party.
My dear Comrade Oshiomhole, I have decided to refresh your memory with the above instances to show that when individuals try to pursue their own narrow, personal and selfish agenda to the detriment of the over-all party interest, the only result is political disaster of the painful kind as witnessed above. Those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat the mistakes of history as the saying goes.
Now, how do we ensure that what happened in the past is prevented from repeating themselves in the future? Party discipline is the answer. Just as President Buhari put his foot down firmly in favour of your candidacy and honest Nigerians are happy with your principled but firm handling of the party affairs, so must you put down your foot firmly in favour of party discipline and call the bluff of over-ambitious, selfish and arrogant governors bent on having their ways at all costs.
Here, I want to bring to your attention the shenanigans taking place in my own Kogi State where a certain Yahaya Bello holds sway as an imperial governor. When he swept into power in 2016, the first thing he did was to ensure that the APC party structure he met and which made it possible for him to enter the Lugard House (under Hadi Ametuo) was shoved aside to make way for his own cronies. Every attempt made by the authentic chairman of the party-Ametuo, was roundly frustrated by Yahaya Bello and his Abuja cronies at whose disposal Bello readily committed the resources of the state as gratification. He would not mind using the whole monthly allocation to have his own selfish wish actualised.
It is after Bello has collected about four allocations from the federation account that he would pay just one emolument for workers and pensioners in the state. This writer stands to be contradicted on this issue. In fact, if you are planting corn now during the rainy season, it is far more dependable and trustworthy to expect your harvest in the next three or four months’ time-depending on the clemency of the weather and the variety of the corn, than to expect Yahaya Bello to pay one month entitlement to workers and pensioners of Kogi State. It is as bad as that. And that is why workers and pensioners drop dead every now and then and some even commit suicide in utter despair and hopelessness. And that is why too, that casket makers in the state recently endorsed Bello for a second term because business is booming for them.
My dear Comrade, concerning the governorship election slated for November 16, another macabre drama is unfolding in the state –especially at the state capital, Lokoja. Yahaya Bello has corralled our respected traditional rulers – (some against their will) through intimidation and, in some cases, open bribery to endorse his second term bid. Already, a motley crowd of soul-less individuals, political jobbers and assortments of misfits who have been thoroughly compromised by Bello are now singing Bello’s tune despite the irreparable damage this utter misfit has done to the state.
Dear comrade, be it known to you that Kogi State will die a painful death if Bello is allowed back in the Lugard House for the next four years. This writer joins his voice with those of good people of Kogi State and other well-meaning Nigerians in imploring you and your National Working Committee to frustrate Bello in this mad gamble of his by denying him the APC ticket for the governorship election. This will make it impossible for him to deliver the final death blow on the already prostrate party under him. We know your principled stand and your forthrightness. Kogi is in a desperate situation. You need stout-hearted people like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Hajiya Salamatu Baiwa to assist in foiling Bello’s mad bid for Lugard House. The cabal that ensured Bello being foisted on Kogi People in 2015 should not be allowed to have its way this time around.
Dear Comrade, come to Kogi State and see for yourself the utter helplessness and despair written on the faces of every Kogian. Bello has not commissioned any project since his inauguration in 2016. Almost half of the work force and pensioners have not got anything by way of their emolument for several months – due to unending screening exercises. A kind of satanic revenue drive is ongoing – making the yoke on Kogi people unbearable.
Bello has introduced thuggery and political violence into Kogi State, a phenomenon that former governor, Idris Wada completely wiped out from the state. Murders and kidnappings are the daily menu from which Kogi people are served. This is the governor who regards the monthly allocation from Abuja as his personal pocket money. This is the governor who has made Kogi State a fiefdom of his side-kick, Chief of Staff, Edward David Onoja!
And finally Comrade Sir, if you feel this writer has exaggerated Bello’s misdoings in Kogi State, I will recommend a book written by Yahaya Bello’s kinsman, an Ebira by name Sumaila I. Ohiare. The title of the book is ‘The Trouble With Kogi State: A case study in the use of power by Yahaya Bello of Kogi State’.
– Omata Frank Lee writes from Lokoja, Kogi State.