Usman Austin Okai is Only Seeking an Undue Relevance by Odih Daniel N.

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The rate at which Usman Austin Okai and his retinue of disgruntled, jejune and politically disgraced apologists go about town in reckless blackmail not only of the government but also of the state is to me a plea for unwholesome recognition. In my naivety back then, I followed Austin’s campaign of calumny and identified myself with him when he was arrested of the government as a result of his unbridled vituperations on the institution of government and the state. I realised later regrettably that Austin was fighting only a feeble fight of dejection and ridiculous fall of the PDP from the lamentable state of rapacious looting of the Kogi State’s treasury. Many people ignorantly still live in that delusion of deception that Austin is fighting for the good of a common man today.

We were far away from home, and we relied daily on Austin’s posts on Kogi State. At first, we found the posts saccharine, but we later became the laughing stock of our host community members when they asked if our state was ever known for anything good all thanks to Austin Okai’s posts. Rather than build our image, his posts denigrated us before the people with whom we lived. I gradually picked my sense from the bin when I realised that Austin celebrated bad news.

For example, Austin fed us endlessly on the non-payment of salaries. Everyday, his posts were inundated with the songs of different debilitating news, ranging from the demolition of the roundabouts to non-payment of salaries without the corresponding info as to the rationale behind these actions: the staff verification screenings and the unsightly nature of the roundabouts.The government at this time was building the Revenue House and was constructing roads here and there, and were never reported by Austin of news of doom. The Nyama-Nyama Road, Ganaja Village was abandoned by the PDP for 13 years, and was undertaken to be constructed by the current government. Austin never reported these. The government wanted to rejig the security arsenal by purchasing brand new Ford vans for the various security outfits in the state. Austin rather than praise the government for taking a bold step in extirpating insecurity reported regrettably that the government had gone into a deal with the Ford Company with the intention to defraud the state.

After the closure of the staff verification exercise, Austin and men of his like-mind dragged the news all over the net that the state government had not paid. But when the state government began to pay the salaries eventually, Austin and his men went quiet and still as if nothing had happened. Was he singing and lamenting for non-payment of salaries because he had something to gain from the salaries, was it for the people or was it for selfish motive?

Austin Okai and his Youth Frontier group are aliens to us in Kogi State, for when the PDP was tepid, impotent and without worth, we did not see Austin and his men on the scene.The fall of the PDP, I know, birthed a group of gourmands who trade their hunger for activism, for when the state was passing through the furnace of reckless impunity under PDP, no single activist was seen and heard of. The current group of activists in Kogi State is only but a bundle of distraught political devotees who were pushed into oblivion by a more forceful APC. I do not hold brief for the current party or the government, and I am not attacking the dissenting voices. The truth must always be told – not minding whose ox is gored.

I refuse to join forces with the wailing devotees of PDP who fell from power and are today as hurtful as jilted lovers because when we were fighting the PDP for all the people of Kogi State to benefit, we neither saw the current crop of activists nor took sides with those that were criticising the government as well. Our mission was simple: ‘do what is right’. Where the government did well (when it started the drainage system in Lokoja and started the medical college at the Kogi State University, Anyigba), we celebrated and praised it; and where it failed, we raised voices against it. It was that simple! But today, the concept of activism in Kogi State under Austin is to attack the government with puerile arguments, write debasing posts to curry the praises and admiration of the people, and most lamentably, celebrate (questionable) men who are challenging the government to a duel. Which activist will celebrate the enemies of the government? Which activist will take side in a battle between a citizen and the government? Femi Falana has been an established activist, and has from time to time, criticised the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially on the court orders President Buhari withheld from El-Zakzakky. He never celebrates Fayose for attacking Buhari. That is a true activist!The activists several times made us know that the government was fighting Dino, but they never said Dino was also fighting the government.

When, in 2013, I rose into action and SaharaReporters published my article on February 19th, 2013, entitled ‘My State Has No Governor’, stating the sorry state Governor Wada left the people and the state, where were the wailing activists of today then? You can follow this link to read the full article for years, Wada was without any sense of direction and the state was rudderless, where were the wailers of today when I wrote this article: ?When I was advocating power shift in 2014 as the only sure way of attaining development in Kogi State from the cursed grip of power by the Igala PDP governors, where were the wailers: ?

If PDP had done what was right when it had the opportunity to, we would have today not got a situation where the current government would have to be either comatose or start the laying of developmental stones from the scratch. The Lagos State’s example should teach us what it is to maintain a continuous legacy. If Bola Ahmed Tinubu had messed Lagos State up, Babatunde Fashola and, subsequently, Ambode would not have had any structure to build on. Every succeeding government is trying to outshine the preceding one. That is continuum; that is good legacy!

If the wailing Austin and his retinue of activists want us to take them seriously and join forces with them from outside the state, they should first stop celebrating the enemies of the state. They should put the people first by acknowledging good gestures.They should stop preaching the old songs of PDP to us. We are not in for the PDP’s rape of lucre anymore.

– Odih Daniel N.

Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria.

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