Once bitten twice shy. That is a wise saying that comes to mind when I review the fate of Anebira as we approach the highly contentious November 2, 2019 Kogi governorship elections. Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello is our son and we have given him more support than expected but we cannot afford to put our eggs in one basket.
His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello is not the first governor from Ebiraland. The late Alhaji Adamu Attah was elected in 1979 as not just the first governor from Ebiraland but the very first Executive Governor of Kwara State. Yes, Anebira produced the first civilian governor of Kwara state. He was voted out of office in 1983 in ways that should force all patriotic Anebira to put on their thinking caps so we don’t experience same in 2019. This is not a small feat and we should be proud of ourselves. Eight years after, we left Kwara to become part of the newly created Kogi state and the governorship seat in the new state became elusive to the same tribe that produced the first civilian governor of Kwara State. It took providence, after 25 years of struggling in a new state, to have an Ebira man, Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello, assume the office of Kogi state Governor in 2016. What a long wait!
During this long wait, Anebira suffered neglect in the face of nepotism that prevailed in the state. Of all the tribes in Kogi State, Anebira has the lowest number of civil servants in the employ of Kogi state government. We were marginalized in the scheme of things and this reflected in the deplorable state of our infrastructures. Old infrastructures were decaying and new ones were only meant for other zones in the state. The good roads we had before creation of Kogi state became dilapidated and the government seems not to care. Take a look at our schools that were once glorious and adorable, what is the condition of these institutions today? Under two different regimes, Anebira produced Deputy Governors but they were less powerful and influential than a common class monitor.
After former Governor Adamu Attah’s reign in 1983, Anebira began to struggle politically without much results. We passed though a lot of unpleasant experiences, that only elders can adequately comprehend, since 1983. We must not forget our years of pain, neglect and underdevelopment in hurry just because our son is Governor of Kogi today. If we fail to learn from the bitter lessons of yesterday, we are doomed to experience such again.
Adayi Adamu Attah failed in 1983 and Anebira failed as well. If God has ordained Governor Yahaya Bello to fail in 2019, we must ensure that Anebira did not fail. Now is the time to come up with a Plan B as we cannot afford to put all our eggs in on basket – the Bello Basket.
Our fellow Anebira, the outgoing Governor of Bauchi state, Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar lost his re-election bid last month. His failure to secure a second term in office should be an eye opener for us all. His style of governance was just too similar to the style adopted by Governor Yahaya Bello here in Kogi state. If the style failed him at the polls in Bauchi, it may fail our Bello too in November.
At the moment, we have over forty aspirants jostling to contest November governorship elections in Kogi state. These aspirants are all from Kogi East and Kogi West, none from Ebiraland. Just because we want to give our brother, Governor Yahaya Bello 100% home support? What if other zones decide to vote against him, can our votes retain him in Lugard House? Didn’t we vote enmasse for Alhaji Adamu Attah in 1983? Did he win? We must put on our thinking caps now and avoid repeating old mistakes that take our people back to the era of pains and neglect.
One fact we cannot shy away from is that Governor Yahaya Bello is not loved by Kogi people and to make matters worse, they are not hiding it. He has issue with salary payment, local government has fared worse under his nose, poverty and needless deaths are being recorded across the state and yet he has no laudable project to his credit. While Audu had the State Polytechnic, State University and several others as landmark projects, Ibrahim Idris had Ibro water, Confluence Stadium, most of the ministry buildings, including state secretariat, main dualized roads in Lokoja, Specialist Hospital and several others to his credit, Idris Wada has Ultra Modern Terminal, a cement company in Itobe, Kogi Hotels among others as well to his credit, can we compare any of the mediocre projects celebrated by Governor Yahaya Bello to these?
Yes, he bulldozed his way through last elections through voter intimidation, vote buying and outright rigging. We hope he will be able to reenact this in November. What if he fails to reenact this during the November governorship election? Anebira will lose totally and wait for maybe another 25 years to become governor by providence??
This is a clarion call to all leaders and stakeholders in Ebira land. We cannot continue to grandstand and leave everything to Governor Yahaya Bello because he said he can do it all by himself. We must help him succeed and also think of a Plan B that will guarantee our development, progress and equitable participation in the state affairs.
Don’t forget, once bitten twice shy.
– Musa Adeiza writes from Obangede