Kogi and The Politics of Dealership

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By Obafemi Babajide.

Kogi State which was the first administrative capital of Nigeria and a warehouse of rich culture/history of the nation is currently a shadow of her glorious self as selfish and greedy gladiators battle for her once beautiful soul.

It is no longer news that Lokoja the ancient city now state capital, was the operational base of Lord Lugard the then governor general of Nigeria, it is also no longer news that two of the great rivers that flows in Nigeria not only flows through Kogi State but met at Lokoja the state capital thereby giving this multi boardered state the sobriquet “THE CONFLUENCE STATE”.

Now what is news in Kogi State?

For time immemorial, selfish, usurious, greedy, gourmand, gluttonous politicians have not only milked the state dry of her resources but they have also turned the state to a battle ground for supremacy. Their wrangle of who gets what and when like the proverbial clash of two elephants  leaves the poor, penurious and poverty stricken indigenes of the state most of whom are  civil servants-  at the suffering end of their loots.

The state which has produced ten Governors since its creation with an eleven successive regimes has little or nothing to show for her 26 years of existence; it is either a tale of progress today, retrogression or a tale of woe tomorrow.

It is no longer expedient to seek or research into the sources of problems bedevilling the state because a cursory look into the life style and power tussle between the existing political gladiators in the state shows that the enemy is from within.

Some of the very keen enemies of the state is the beggarly carpetbagger Senator from the western senatorial district of the state, Senator Dino Melaye. He prides in thwarting good governance, hasty in mobilization of thugs, quick in aligning and realigning, known for his insipid political braggadocios and bring him down syndrome and the juvenile, clueless, careless, extravagant and spent thrift governor of the state Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Senator Dino Melaye the power insatiable guy was quick to defect to Prince Abubakar Audu’s ACN camp when it was not too rosy for him as he was no longer  recognized and remunerated for his ‘traitor-ship’ character in PDP. He went on his kneels on a national television begging the late Prince of the Niger to forgive him and see him as the biblical prodigal son who has not only gone astray but also set to destroy his father’s dynasty.  Dino Melaye confessed to partaking in rigging and foiling Audu’s attempt to return to governance.

He had a smooth romance with late Audu until he used the deceased emperor’s financial resources and political connections cum the ‘SAI’ Baba’s political tsunami that swept up the entire nation to fulfill his senatorial ambition then he was ready to drop the formal governor in his characteristic way like a pack of rubbish having held onto his next prey Senator Bukola Saraki.

At the onset  of AUDU/FALEKE campaign, Senator Dino Melaye was no where to be found just because he expected Prince Abubakar Audu to pick him as his running mate. Audu after a thorough search and consultations ended up picking James Faleke from Asiwaju Tinubu’s camp.

Thus, the cold war for the soul of Kogi State began. Melaye turned a cold shoulder to Audu/Faleke’s campaign and it was after series of messages and calls that he reluctantly agreed to come down for the last set of rallies and campaign. Even with that, his body language never showed endorsement for his erstwhile benefactor he only had to show support in other not to completely loose out of the game.

Unconfirmed reports had it that Senator Melaye was the first to be contacted when the late Audu gave up the ghost ‘Oga’ Dino being  a crafty fellow immediately saw the chance to gain through the back door what he had  lost, called his political allies who felt Kogi shouldn’t belong to the fold of Tinubu’s empire and who also believed that Kogi state will be a good passage to their 2019 fallible political calculation.

Quickly and hurriedly they put together their reasons why it has to be the runner up of a primary election which was long done and dusted as replacement to the  late winner of a substantive election that is already  won and lost. This they did at the expense of Audu’s running mate who fought gallantly with his boss to win an election tainted  inconclusive by INEC.

And so Senator Melaye and his co-travellers  plunged into action; they picked a man who had openly rejected the party immediately he lost the primary election to come back and hoist the party’s flag again. They put to use, the  arsenal of their judicial manipulative weaponry and today the rest is history .  Infact, confirmed sources have it that Bello worked against the APC during the election. All these where done to accomplish their self-seeking agenda.

Futhermore, Senator Dino Melaye came up on national television again during the swearing of Governor Yahaya Bello to announce how fully he is in support of the youthfully new government and how the people wanted Prince Abubakar Audu but God wanted Alhaji Yahaya Bello a minority from the state to rule. Could we then say that God killed Audu when his electoral victory was about to be confirmed  only to enthrone Yahaya Bello a man who lacks the sportsmanship required of true leaders, a man who dumped his party immediately after he lost at the primaries? Only Senator Dino Melaye can provide an answer to the question.

However,  it took only few months after the swearing in for Senator Dino Melaye again to come on national television to apologize to Kogites about his mistake in joining forces to enthrone the young governor, what a criminally minded representative of the people.

One begins to wonder maybe one of the reasons they [Melaye and his co-traveller] feel they can impose themselves as the political godfather to the seeming juvenile governor is because of his political naivety, little knowing that the young Yahaya Bello is ready to stoop to conquer, it is now left for us all to judge  if he indeed he stooped to conquer after  been sworn in as the Executive Governor of Kogi state.

Shouldn’t one  be surprised at the litany of attacks  from Senator Dino Melay on the under-performing Yahaya Bello? Why should a self-imposed godfather start an inept attack against his protégé? The answers may not be farfetched; it is either the “Ghana must go” is not forthcoming, decisions are not well communicated to the godfather or juicy appointments are no longer given to the godfather.

Giving the turn of events in Kogi State, the untold hardship workers and pensioners go through in the hands of this government, the futile screening exercise, the flamboyant style of life of the “NEW DIRECTION” government, it is just correct to conclude that like godfather like godson even though things have fallen apart between the two. The flagrant disobedience of law and order, the exaltation of the chief of staff to the position of a defacto  governor , 12 to 15 months’ salary arrears, pension arrears non payments, continuous appointments of faceless SA’s and SSA’s and other atrocities too numerous to mention surpasses the wisdom of intelligentsia.

It is pertinent to therefore conclude that there is no much difference { if there is at all } in the kind of leadership Senator Dino and Governor Yahaya Bello and many of their cohort will give to the state, without mincing words, dealers in the guise of politicians have failed the state woefully.  Some well-meaning  Kogites will tell you that aside some of the infrastructural developmental projects done by the late Abubakar Audu, successive government has done little or nothing to uplift the state which is supposed to be a tourist haven for the Nation.

With the 2019 elections already being plotted, alignment and realignment already ongoing, those who have the wellbeing of the state at heart are already calling on well-meaning individuals and reasonable politician to come rescue the soul of the state from total conundrum. If a drastic measure is not taken and taken on time, what will become the fate of Kogi state a multi-ethnic state and the first administrative capital of Nigeria leaves a sore taste in the mouth.

– Obafemi writes from Lagos State.

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