The people of Kogi State should have been on the street for a weeklong celebration following the Silver Jubilee of the creation of the State after 25 years of its sojourn, if the square pegs were rightly put in their square holes. Silver Jubilee ordinarily calls for joy and celebration but the people of Kogi State are rather singing glooming songs in lamentation, owing to the reign of unpaid workers’ salaries, growing infrastructural decay, prevailing uncontrollable impunity, and poverty leading to hunger, illness and high mortality rate.
It is no longer news that the emergence of the present administration in the state has brought untold pains to the people of Kogi State and has caused more harm to their welfare than every other successive administrations as it appears to be a clear picture of individuals who were dragged into government without any workable policy and programme to run the state. Majority of the people of the state will continue to lament the demise of Prince AbubakarAudu whose sudden death created the vacuum that culminated the emergence of the current governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello through the unpopular choice of my great party, the All Progressive Congress, APC.
While kidnapping, armed robbery, begging, hunger, and unemployment are the order of the day, Governor Bello and his handlers are busy deceiving the people through media propaganda without underscoring the plights of the people. Students are roaming the streets instead of being in school as their schools have been shut down for want of salaries being owed teachers.
Besides, public hospitals are under lock and key as medical workers in Kogi State have been on strikes for over many months, making private hospital owners to smile to the banks in a state where people found it extremely difficult to eat two square meals.
It could be recalled that the people of Kogi State supported and voted for the APC massively during the last presidential and gubernatorial elections in the state which saw General Muhammadu Buhari defeating President Goodluck Jonathan even when the state was under the control of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The way the state is being run by Governor Bello and his cohorts if not checkmated, will drag our great party in the mud especially the integrity of President Buhari and the destiny of the APC, in the state.
The cabinet members of the present administration in Kogi State are mostly card carrying members of PDP, including the handpicked Local Government Areas’ caretakers committee chairmen, which according to investigation, appear as a political scheme employed by Governor Bello to draw sympathy from the opposition PDP, should the court case turn against him.
Suffice it to say that, I am not in any way attacking the personality of the governor as I assisted and contributed in no small measure to his emerge as the first runner up during the primary election that produced my late principal, the iconic politician, Prince AbubakarAudu.
While I am not in any way writing to be noticed or attracting public sympathy, it is pertinent to accentuate that, positive criticism remains the life-wire and beauty of any democratic leadership which seeks to promote sound leadership that is centred on delivery of democratic dividends.
Unarguably however, it behoves on President Buhari to urgently save the image and destiny of the APC in Kogi State as the party is currently at the verge of collapse. President Buhari needs to call all the party’s stakeholders in the state or conduct an independent perception poll of the present status of our party in the state. It is not far from truth to say that the APC is presently the opposition party in the state despite winning the governorship election due to the party’s acceptability hinged on President Buhari’s popularity and the leadership prowess of late Audu who was coasting to victory before he answered the clarion call.
At 25, most people will expect the state to assess how far they have gone in capacity building like Delta State that was created on the same day with a robust Economic Summit with quality national and international audience.
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo while speaking on Friday in Asaba at the Economic Summit to commemorate Silver Jubilee of Delta State creation said there was increase of trust deficit in the country as according to him, most Nigerians do not trust their leaders. Prof. Osinbajo who appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the federal government also said that character plays pivotal roles in leadership. This implies for example that, if we as a party must be in control of Kogi State, then we must put our house in order so as to have the trust of the people and assure them of what our party stands for.
The present competition between our party and PDP can only be won in the nearest future if we start planning well towards protecting the pregnant future. The present administration of Kogi State has been deceiving people through its paid media propaganda of conducting credible staff audit exercise but it is astounding to say that, till the day the report was purportedly submitted on a live transmission on National Television Authority, there were still more than half of the state’s work force that had not done the screening, making some experts to wonder how the cooked report was obtained. Let us bear in mind that less than half of the civil servants in our dear Kogi State have received salaries since January 2016.
Needless to say that, the report was not enclosed with signature of any of the members of the screening committee because of the doctored contents in the report, thereby making it a mere paper document.
The President as a God-fearing leader with outstanding integrity may need to know more about the woes our governor has subjected her citizens to by conducting a credible poll among workers, market women so as make enquiry of the level of poverty that is ravaging the state as a result of poor leadership.
If nothing is done to check the present awful trend, the decision of the federal government to diversify the economy by revamping the Ajaokuta Steel Company may meet a jolt as the present economic ecosystem in the state remains hostile.
If the APC, intends to sustain its electoral victory and win the trust of the people once more, the APC-led government through its various machineries can conduct opinion poll by asking royal fathers, religious leaders, and students of Kogi State origin to examine the sincerity of the present government in Kogi State as there is a glaring disconnect between the government and the governed.
As a bona fide Ebira man, it would have been a thing of joy seeing my fellow man in the Lugard House; however, for the welfare of the people of Kogi State and destiny of our party, continuity of my silence may turn out to be a crime.
– Dr Tom Ohikere, a media consultant writes from Abuja.