Opinion: Kogi Governors, Accidents and Crutches

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Kogi state was created in 1991 from parts of Kwara State and Benue State. The 26 years old Kogi state has been blessed with four different civilian governors; Prince Abubakar Audu, Alh. Ibrahim Idris, Captain Idris Wada and the current guy man, Alh. Yahaya Bello. The four governors ruled using different styles and approaches but brutally condemned by the governed because the expectations of Kogi people are high, maybe utopian.

Recent occurrence shows an emerging trend in the state. Gov. Yahaya Bello recently fell off his car and ended up with crutches. The handsome governor is however undeterred by the accident as he has since resumed work attending important meetings even in Aso Rock rocking his adorable crutches. Tongues have been wagging nationally on his accident and beautiful crutches but they all fail to understand that only ex-gov. Ibrahim Idris refused to use crutches as Kogi governor.

Prince Abubakar Audu was involved in a ‘ghastly’ accident during the 1999 electioneering campaign and ended up with spectacular crutches. Unfortunately, the pictures can’t be retrieved online as he ruled during the pre-social media age. His successor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris (Ibro) served for almost nine years as governor, had his share of accident but escaped the ‘Kogi Crutches’. Captain Idris Wada was not as lucky as Ibro. His official car crashed badly and he ended up with crutches. The current governor has joined his governorship fore-fathers by getting involved in accident and ending up with beautiful crutches.

However, the Ibrahim Idris escape has thrown up different hypothesis about Kogi governors and their crutches. There seems to be a curious correlation between ‘Kogi Crutches’ and unpaid salaries. Prince Abubakar Audu ruled between 1992 and 1999 as Governor and was not in the good books of salaries. His short stint was tainted with the notorious retrenchment of workers. He had accident and was decorated with crutches before winning 1999 election. The born-again Audu did not retrench on his second coming but pocketed April 2001 workers salary across the state claiming it was their contribution to development of the state.

Ibro came on board and paid salaries religiously. He even paid the April 2001 salary pocketed by his predecessor, Audu. He escaped all accidents. Even his lovely daughters survived plane crash. He won his second term election and handed over to his choice candidate as successor.

Captain Wada followed Ibro’s footsteps with salary payments to workers in the employ of state government but could not do same for local government workers. The era of percentage salaries became popular under his government. Also, many workers at the local government were sacked while his appointed liaison officers held sway. He survived a bad accident that claimed the life of his ADC but he ended up with beautiful crutches.

The luckiest governor in Africa, Yahaya Bello came on board as Kogi Governor in 2016 and quickly embarked on a screening exercise which was ‘technically concluded’ after 14 months but still ongoing as I write. The screening exercise is the worst thing that has happened in Kogi state since its creation. No government action as been as bizarre, absurd and satanic as Yahaya Bello’s screening. Workers are constantly unsure of when the next alert will come in. Many workers are being owed between 15 and 24 months salary arrears. Unpaid salary saga is worst under Yahaya Bello. May be that’s why his accident occurred right in the state capital by the market square in broad day light. At least, Audu and Wada crashed along some villages.

This is still an hypothesis. Hypothesis is a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

The second hypothesis is still invalid until 4th quarter of 2019. Audu crashed, used crutches and lost re-election. Wada crashed, used crutches and lost his re-election. Bello crashed, used crutches and… let’s wait. Wisdom will not kill me.

– Alhassan Tijani writes from Lokoja.

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