Wednesday 19th June 2019 will go down in the history of Kogi state as the day our traditional institution was dragged down into the dirty mud of politics when monarchs who should be the custodian of culture and tradition of their respective domains abandoned their roles and allowed themselves to be cowed and manipulated by desperate political forces.
Beside their roles as fathers to all, irrespective of social status, religious belief, gender or political affiliation, royal fathers owe it a duty to their subjects to be sensitive to their plights, yearnings and aspirations at all time. Over the years, the traditional institution in the confluence state was revered and respected by all and sundry for the roles they have played to keep the peace in their domains which is evident in the harmonious relationship among indegenes and settlers, and their apolitical posture even as many have expressed disappointments at their deliberate refusal to summon courage to speak truth to power, against bad governance in the state.
Despite the huge allocation that had accrued to the state in the last three years, including the multiple Paris Club loan refunds and bailout funds given to the state by the federal government, governor Yahaya Bello has had very little or nothing to show as achievements in the state. Since the past three years, the state has virtually been ran aground, salaries are not paid as at when due even as there has been a back and forth between the organized labour and the state government on the true situation of salaries and pension allowances. Labour claimed it is owed salary arrears of between 16 and 36 months while the state government which is obviously confused is quick to admit owing workers on one platform and denies ever owing a dime on another.
Infrastructure in the state is in comatose due to the neglect suffered since the last three years. Roads across the state are in a state of disrepair and unfortunate condition. State owned institutions have suffered greatly due to the fact that they are either underfunded or not funded at all. Schools across the state are in a state of decay, dilapidation and are nothing to write home about. Hospitals are in pitiable conditions, while portable drinking water even within the Lokoja metropolis still remains a mirage.
Tertiary institutions in the state are in comatose and Lokoja, the state capital city is currently ranked so high among the dirtiest in Nigeria.
Amidst all these glaring failures of the present government in the state, one then wonders the rationale behind the show of shame by our royal fathers who at the expense of the welfare of their subjects went to Aso Rock villa to endorse and plead for the support of President Muhammadu Buhari for a governor who has failed on all fronts. It was amusing to find that even the royal fathers who were cowed and marched to Aso Rock villa like primary school pupils being marched by the headmaster are also owed arrears of several months’ salaries.
It has been alleged that several millions of naira exchanged hands before the royal fathers could agree to betray their conscience and Kogites. If the allegation of financial inducement of our royal fathers by the state government is true, it means some persons may have successfully “murdered” the hitherto “ailing” traditional institution, eroded the little respect they had enjoyed in the state and reduced their statuses to mere “bread and butter”
Although there’s nothing absolutely wrong in royal fathers having choice candidates in a political dispensation like ours, but when such choices are made openly, and induced financially without the overall interest of the people taken into cognizance it belittles the traditional institution and reduces the respect of the monarchs. Come to think of it, why would a governor who prides himself as the best performing governor in Nigeria and the ‘first son’ of president Buhari need to be re-introduced to his ‘father’ by some royal fathers. Was Yahaya Bello introduced to the president by anyone before the mandate of late Prince Abubakar Audu was handed over to him? Or is this an obvious case of a failed son who desperately seeks an atonement and forgiveness of a disappointed father?
It was observed that the most revered Ohinoyi of Ebiraland and the Etsu of Bassa were conspicuously absent at the shameless visit to Aso Rock villa, even as it is not clear yet their reasons for shunning the visit, which also featured a meaningless demand for the slot of a finance minister from kogi state. I wish to use this medium to thank, applaud and congratulate the good people of Ebiraland and Bassa for having royal fathers that never trade common sense for “bread and butter”
– Hussain Obaro writes from Lokoja, Kogi state.