It was Chinua Achebe who stated in his classic novel, ‘Things Fall Apart’, that those whose palm kernel were cracked by the benevolent spirits should not forget the unlucky ones.
Among the state governors in the current democratic dispensation, there is none, who is favoured by the benevolent spirits as much as Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. This is a man who could not scale through his party primaries, but was picked by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to rule the state as the owner of the mandate, which belongs to the late Prince Abubakar Audu, who died as the electoral process had not been concluded and announced, even though he was leading comfortably and was cruising home to victory.
Backed by the provisions of the Electoral Act, as it was then, picked Bello to replace the late Prince Bello. The courts also backed the decision. But, since he ascended the plum position, observers argue that governor Bello has been performing bellow expectation.
According to observers of developments in that state, workers’ salaries are not paid as at when due, while pensioners starve. Others note that the Paris Club Refunds and Bail-out funds might not have been judiciously utilised.
At the height of the recent Benue massacre, while his brother governor, Samuel Ortom, was morning and crying to the Federal Government to rescue his people from the rampaging Fulani herdsmen, rather than sympathise with Ortom, Bello blamed the Benue Chief Executive and fellow APC man for causing the crisis by enacting the Anti-Open Grazing Act.
Observers were stunned by this action. Bello seemed to have forgotten that it could be Kogi citizens next. Analyst were also taken aback by Bello’s decision to set aside 15 hectares of land in Kogi for cattle grazing, when other states had been kicking against the Federal Government’s plan to establish cattle colonies in parts of the country.
Analysts are now wondering on whose interest Governor Bello is serving and why he has been acting the way he is acting. Many believe that his actions were based on his plan to go for second term, and that he does not wish to be in the bad book of Aso Rock or the APC leadership.
Others maintain that Bello has been acting out of fear as he still has a case over his alleged double voter registration, which may put his fate on the balance.
Analysts believe strongly that Governor Bello needs to improve on his leadership style to ensure that he receives a favourable assessment by posterity.