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.