Opinion: Kogi and Problem of Leadership

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The prob­lems of Kogi State seem end­less. Con­trary to the widespread ex­pec­ta­tion that a younger gov­er­nor could take ad­van­tage of his youth­ful­ness and en­ergy for proac­tive lead­er­ship, the state con­tin­ues to plunge deeper into the abyss of so­cio-po­lit­i­cal quag­mire.


The story of Kogi State is noth­ing short of pity and more pity. Con­sid­er­ing the state of af­fairs in the state, one can­not help look­ing back to the days of Cap­tain Idris Wada with nos­tal­gia. At a time when con­di­tions of liv­ing have be­come so dif­fi­cult as a re­sult of the eco­nomic slow­down, the in­cum­bent gov­er­nor of the state could com­fort­ably sit down with eleven months of un­paid staff salary. To com­pound the in­sen­si­tiv­ity, he set out with a ret­inue of sup­port­ers and state of­fi­cials for a pil­grim­age in Mecca, not mind­ing that there are mus­lims who could not af­ford to feed their fam­i­lies dur­ing the Ra­madan and sal­lah pe­riod as a re­sult of his re­fusal to pay their salaries for the past sev­eral months.


The adage – if you say a wood is so smoky and with­draw it from the fire, how are you sure the next one would not be smok­ier? This is rel­e­vant here. There was an in­stance when Gov­er­nor Idris Wada owed state work­ers only two months’ salary and pleaded with the union to ac­cept a month pay un­til con­di­tions im­proved, but they re­fused and threat­ened in­dus­trial ac­tion.


To­day, what have they got on their hands? Capt. Wada, a renowned air­craft pi­lot and en­tre­pre­neur, is a hum­ble and hu­mane leader who got into the right place at the wrong time. Even the late Prince Audu con­sid­ered him a good, God-fear­ing man who could have ad­vanced his lega­cies but came into lead­er­ship at a time when the state was in a near co­matose state.


Cur­rent sit­u­a­tions how­ever have proved Wada as a saintly gov­er­nor. Against so many odds, lit­tle re­sources and low morale amongst the cit­i­zens, he was able to keep things in shape.


He demon­strated that de­vel­op­ment must of ne­ces­sity starts with the peo­ple. He never stopped pay­ing salaries, he never stopped road con­struc­tion and other in­fras­truc­ture that bears di­rect im­pact on the peo­ple. This same Wada con­tested against Audu and was de­clared a loser in the con­tro­ver­sial elec­tion.


His suc­ces­sor by fate, Gov­er­nor Bello, is so busy now but there are no pos­i­tive im­pacts. As our democ­racy de­vel­ops, I think there are enough lessons in the Kogi sce­nario for the elec­torate. Ev­ery pa­tri­otic Kog­ite must be pray­ing that God gives us a new type of lead­er­ship. The APC which has Gen­eral Mo­hammed Buhari as the pres­i­dent of the coun­try rode on the crest of in­cor­rupt­ibil­ity and per­sonal in­tegrity. The peo­ple see the lead­er­ship of the state by APC as a chance to key into the change agenda, but sadly, the lead­er­ship has failed. Of­ten we don’t know what we have got un­til it’s gone.

– Ab­dul­ma­jeed Has­san, Abuja.

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