The Road to Unfreedom: Omnipotent Yahaya Bello, Monolegislative Assembly, A Threat to Democracy (Part 2)

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We cannot be electing hyenas to take care of goats and when the goats are eaten. We begin to wonder WHY? Life becomes a sleepwalk to a premarked grave in a pre-purchased plot. A stitch in time saves nine. No matter how much we purchased Yahaya Bello from the market of politics. Yahaya Bello must go ! Or else he will remain a strong guide on the darkening road to unfreedom.

Omnipotent Yahaya Bello believes God is ‘frenetic’, committing error upon error. The cliché of such politics of inevitability is that “there are no alternative to Yahaya Bello kind of democracy of correction where nothing changes and conflicts with the outside are permanent. God is not a man that lies, that is the only error Yahaya Bello is finding it difficult to correct in Kogi State. The screening or staff verification exercise which originally was meant to bring sanity to the State workforce unavoidably became ‘elimination by substitution’.

The current face off between executive and the judiciary in our dear Kogi State is a story for another day . Imagine placards during protest today carry inscriptions like:

“Why are you punishing us”, “Pay us our salary”, “Bello you benefited from judiciary why are you fighting us”

Many workers and pensioners had died due to nonpayment of their salary and pensions by Kogi State APC led Yahaya Bello Government. Comrade Abdul Mumuni Yakubu, the branch Chairman of the Non- Academic Staff Union (NASU) was murdered at the height of an industrial dispute with Kogi State Government. Till date, the perpetrators of the heinous crime are yet to be brought to book to pay for their crime.

Mr Michael Ibrahim Inah (KSM) retired from civil service as an officer on great level 17, a special and the most revered grade in Teaching Service Commission. The man who had served in three different secondary schools; CSS Ajaka, ISCC Idah, OLS Anyigba spanning a period of fifteen years as Principal and brought revolution to Principalship and secondary school management: Yahaya Bello is owing him pension and arrears for over five months before his demise.

Mr Inah died as a result of nonpayment of his monthly pension to attend to his health and feed comfortably as well. Mr Inah retired voluntarily from 35 years of meritorious service. He served as Principal of Secondary Schools for  over a decade without blemish, petition or query and attain the highest grade in civil service GL 17, a rare feat no governor of a state can attain in eight in office. Worse still, all efforts  for his next of kin to claim his entitlement proved abortive. If we can accept eternity, we sacrifice individuality, and will no longer see possibility. Eternity in Kogi APC, Yahaya Bello’s politics is another idea that says there are no alternative where the poorest of the poor have no representative and the system degenerate from democracy to autocracy – the road to unfreedom.

Freedom, generally, is having an ability to act or change without constraints. A person has the freedom to do things that will not in theory of in practice, be prevented by other forces. There is no better way to turn every human being from passive observer, “apes obey”, “sidon look” and “I concur” member of biological evolution into an active participant of society than giving him or her the freedom to move away from fake democracy to meaningful voting; away from personalist regime to due process, rule of law and access to open information.

Personalist rule is one distinct mold of autocracy. Today, around 40 percent of autocratic governments are ruled by strongmen. Across regions, consolidated power is set into the hands of one man or small group of illebral individuals. We cannot call our government a democracy if it does not have a legitimate elections. Democracy begins to backslide to autocracy from the moment we fail to know the inherent characteristics of the kind of person we elect, select, appoint or endorse into key positions of leaderships. We are on a road to unfreedom ones we cannot find a better alternative to an autocratic leader. We are willingly participating in our own oppression by submitting to unpopular policies, initiated by a popular nobody in government known with threats and antics of intimidation to workers.

Without appealing to my ethnic sensibilities, many of us no longer care, as we should, about understanding ourselves and our past as complex and ambiguous. Rather we look for comforting stories which claim to explain where we came from and where we are going. Such cock and bull stories relieve us of the need to think and serve to create powerful identity especially the Igalas. I can assure you autocratic leaders will continue to take advantage of our dystopian state and ride on it to power, demonizing opposition party to remain in government. It is the responsibility of all to bring democracy back from the edge of autocratic “murutus” impetus where the idea is that there are no ideas. This no doubt leads to the rise of intolerant nationalist right wing party.

The subsequent part of this piece will explore the ghastly consequence of human values and norms at the center of Kogi politics in future.

– Inah Stephen writes from Ajaka , Kogi State.

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