Leadership Inertia In Kogi State Politics

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The much talked about 2019 Presidential/ National Assembly elections have come and gone with Kogi state remaining in the news for strategic reasons. One of the high points is not the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari (PM) in the state but the fact that the white lion, Governor Yahaya Bello, as he calls himself, and his chief of staff, Edward Onoja (Blue Whale), who had earlier boasted of their strong hold on the people of the state with a victory for All Progressives Party (APC).

There is no need restating the non performance of the governor as I wrote copiously in my articles published in Thisday Newspaper and The Nation Newspaper, and still running.

However, what needs to be restated here is how a people who are owed several months of salaries and pensions will work assiduously for the same man impoverishing them. It is even worse when no single project is on going in the state infrastructure wise. Businesses are not thriving in the state because it is a civil service state. Farmers cannot move farm produce to the market due to the terrible nature of the roads. That is upon challenging his supporters, they will argue that Bello’s election is different from Buhari’s.

The question then is: Do you change a winning team? If the governor is instrumental to the victory of PMB can Mr president who flaunt his integrity status have the moral courage to deny his political godson the second term ticket? The answer is no. And should the white lion pick the governorship ticket of his party, does he not have a 50% chance of returning? The answer is yes.

The proposition becomes simpler when prior to the election he assaulted the Igala men with the expression of giving out their wives with a paltry sum of #6000.00. To crown it all, he justified his statement by doling out one third of the said amount to each voter to win the election.

I was at home for the election and personally monitored the elections. In my ward for instance, which has seven polling units, had #3,440,000.00 to the opposition’s #740,000.00. The discrepancy in the figure is not the issue here. But, how a people could degenerate so low to accepting such a scenario rather than collecting the money and ensuring his party losses if nothing but to send a strong message to the governor that he cannot have his cake and eat it. Most especially, having insulted the people, having under performed and flaunted his political ego when in a rally prior to the election he had told PMB of gathering the thousands of people hired at the stadium within 24 hours.

My own polling unit had #620,000.00. Oh, may the soul of Steven Achema rest in peace. In the days of yore, he will tell the people collect their money and vote against them. That is what is absent in the polity now. No one seems to be providing leadership.

I saw a huge political gap between then and now. There is complete absence of intellectual wing of a political party where strategies are drawn with campaign issues and slogan that are pushed to the public.

What I witnessed was a complete sham. I saw those I used to respect sitting at various ward offices of the party waiting for mediocrities to bring money from the government house to be shared. Where is our honour? Who will bell the cat?

I got more embarrassed when an elderly man I met 24 hours to the elections had shown me a credit alert of his pension #475.00 voted the governor’s party the next day because he was promised #2000.00. I got to know of the party he voted in a polling unit close to my house when he was shortchanged as he was given a paltry #1000.00. He went around complaining and lamenting struggling to get his balance of #1000.00 as if he was owed. He is a retired headmaster. I still can’t understand why he wants to be collecting a monthly pension that cannot be withdrawn via ATM?

However, it was not completely a bad situation as the people of Kogi West senatorial district registered their protest of bad leadership and governance by rejecting the governor’s party via the ballot. I knew in my knowing that Kogi state votes was not going to make any difference in the presidential election as anyone can attest to, with the declaration of the final results, however, it would have sent a very good signal to the governor, should the result go the other way that he has not done well which would have been the basis of the National Working Committee of his party with other stakeholders to deny him of the party ticket at the primaries come August.

I bet you, should this trend be sustained at the next election, State House of Assembly, then Kogites should be ready for the worst.

The most disappointing aspect was the complete absence of leaders who were not there for the few commoners willing to challenge the status quo. No election committee specifically constituted to protect, defend and in the face of intimidation stand – in for the defenseless. Should this trend be sustained in the next election, I will urge all governorship aspirants especially of the opposition parties in the state to voluntarily withdraw from the race.

And for the former governors, leaders of thought, party leaders who have been cowed into silence due to the intimidation of a young man who at the beginning of this dispensation never understood what party politics was should on their own retire from active politics or will be forced to retire. We cannot afford another four years of ineptitude, governmental inertia, political intolerance, civil service decay and political juvenile delinquencies of monumental proportion.

– Sylvester Ojogbane, Abuja.

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