Beyond the fog of cacophonous ballyhoo created and treated with mischief by political contractors and their local satellites to maintain one storyline on the developments in Kogi state , the true story is more of courage, capacity , vision and innovation garnered to dress Kogi in a befitting apparel- net of the dishonorable status of a civil service state.
This bush-clearing effort dovetails into multi-pronged strategies for guiding her into a strong, self-reliant modern economy- exploring full advantage of its numerous mineral resources, agricultural and investment drive for sustainable growth and prosperity for the larger population.
Those behind the one story line of recycled clichés on salary backlog criminally avoid telling the uncomfortable home truth to the world that the inherited Kogi state wage bill is one huge bazaar of deceit where concubines, relations of corrupt civil servants and a huge number of faceless persons have been draining scarce state resources – the pangs and pains of reform are therefore not unexpected. Nevertheless, the issue of salary backlog has been settled save for some few pending cases that needs to be sorted out, said the governor recently.
It is apt at this stage to draw national attention to the Yahaya Bello phenomenon in Kogi state , factoring the historical outlay of his meteoric rise from relative obscurity , the huge underlay of crooked opposition antics , inherited challenges , his response capacity and performance amid the confusing spin of unappetizing narratives mischievously thrown into the mix to dilute the narrative of Bello’s success story – achieved through superb blend of innovative capacity and vision.
Attending to the challenges of long stretch of ruins and neglect of critical infrastructure in the state by previous governments, teething insecurity, reworking the over bloated and corrupted wage bill of the state’s civil service, mending politically inspired fissures and cracks in the social relations of the people , with the troubling addition of ceaseless distraction created by the politically displaced and aggrieved –agents of mischief, are enough a back -breaker but for Bello’s characteristic stoicism and resilient spirit.
Unfazed by the deluge of challenges, he engaged his initiative and adopted a phased approach to the problems in ranked order of tactical resolution requiring enormous courage and political will. In the process, hard and painful but unavoidable decisions on very sensitive matters had to be taken as the only way to arrest the inexorable slide and haemorrhage of humongous state resources streaming into dubious channels and corrupt public servants.
To this effect, the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo made the following observation recently at the launching of Kogi State investment and economic summit:
“Within a few months of his Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello in office, he approached me and presented to me a compendium, the New Direction Blueprint. I must say that I found reading through it that it was both ambitious and farsighted.
“I’m also told that there is a thirty-two-year infrastructure master plan being developed that would be passed into law to ensure sustainability.
The historical context of the emergence Yahaya Bello as the governor of Kogi state embraces deep philosophical mystery noted for rupturing complex layers of long-standing traditions to establish a new order via series of inexplicable albeit, interrelated events that bear bold imprimatur of the forces of history. Armed with nothing but bare requirements for participation , self-belief and fair-minded disposition to the transparency of the electioneering process ,Yahaya strode into the intimidating forestland of Kogi politics dominated by boastful and rampaging grey hared political dinosaurs and big bears with deep pocket.
To his disadvantage, he was not apologetic about the barefaced disgust and loathsome[E1] fury he nursed on the imposing influence of uncrowned but celebrated godfathers who had appropriated to themselves the autonomous role of having the final say on who goes up, who goes down. It came as no surprise when Bello was squeezed out of the contest fast enough than he anticipated but not after posting a formidable and impressive outing as the runner up in the primaries . He receded fast to his nest and returned to his business.
The regrettable and painful exit of the doyen of kogi politics –the late prince Abubakar Audu during the concluding stage of the election in which he held all the aces –with Bello clearly out of sight and a forgotten non –factor, was the historical twist that drafted him to reap bounteously and effortlessly in the most pulsating election high drama of our time. The irrepressible role of the invisible forces of history in shaping the affairs and destinies of nations was witnessed in Kogi as one practical instance of the historical truism christened ‘Accident of History’.
The axiomatic abundance of this inexplicable piece of historical exactitude humbled the entire nation and exposed the severe limitations of our laws which reserved no space to accommodate the occurrence of such possibility .Nothing could be further from the truth – a recall from political oblivion and despondency is a seal of omnipotent authority authored by forces outside the influence of human intervention. The governor is aware of this yet avoided any nuance of bumptious bravado but humility and deep sense of responsibility.
The foregoing is to guide our understanding that Bello, by the very peculiar manner of his emergence, and armed with definitive historical mandate with the full compliments of purposeful providence, shoulders heavy responsibility. This includes but not limited to revolutionising, overhauling and repositioning the system by courageously and thoroughly applying the relevant apparatus of surgical lobotomy in uprooting the cancer of discredited practice and system abuse which has affronted and stagnated the state from realizing its full potentials.
Without doubt, he will apply all the techniques in the books to pull the state out from the hapless but avoidable miasma of a civil service state reeling under the deadweight and yoke of over bloated wage bill at the expense of intervention in critical sectors and infrastructure overhaul.
Governor Bello’s quoted statement below summarizes his dream for the state and he has approached the task with uncanny bustling staccato of unbounded energetic fervor and effusive enthusiasm.
“Our geographical location, natural water bodies, variable vast and arable land, human capital, solid minerals are great potentials. I refer to Kogi state as the solid mineral capital of Africa. All these potentials will remain so long as we continue to see Kogi state as a civil service state and nothing is done,”
He has taken up the task of making Kogi the foremost agricultural state in the country. It is a component of this plan that inspired the launching of digital agricultural market in the state recently, with its attendant benefits of expanding the frontiers of marketing , privileges and benefits of online listing of farmers produce, mitigating against losses, excesses of middlemen and damages . Included in the plan is a strategy for extension agents to help farmers list their produce online and get the best prices for their labour.
In fulfillment of his plan to improve on human capital development he runs a health care programme christened, ‘Bello Healthcare Plus’. It embraces wide range of interventions on free health care services. He currently leads t
he pack among the state governors in the health sector as attested to by Hon Minister for Health, Prof Isaac Adewale : “
“I specially single you for mention for what you have done in the health sector in Kogi State and I will tell Mr. President of your good work in the health sector. Other States will copy from you to meet the health need of their people. You really deserved to be called Excellent in this sector”
Not too long ago Kogi state slided into a whopping security nightmare –kidnappers and armed robbers were having a field day –whilst a faction of the retreating Boko Haram had its menacing dugout in Kogi central –Okene. The situation inflicted untold misery on the socio –economic life of the people and despondency was setting in until Bello rose to the occasion. His intervention was total, clinical and thorough, leading to the first ever military base established outside the state capital to nip the menace in the bud. His laudable response earned him the Nigeria Police Award for the most security conscious governor.
The shift in power balance in the state invariably incurred the alignment and realignment of forces –creation, dilution, renewal and retrieval of political loyalty. The fading apparition of old horses and defeated fuddy duddies disengaged by the advent of time left behind a fault line of politics of bitterness, division and exclusion.
Bello has swung into action, healing wounds, bonding, knitting and connecting socio- political ties, stonewalling sunken medievalism and resident rascality of political contractors, whilst deploying state resources for capital projects fairly and equitably across all the three geo –political zones of the state. He has been fair to all and completely at home with the idée fixe of state resource belonging to all state indigenes and not for maintaining the gluttonous greed of a class or section of the people.
– Yakubu is coordinator, Front for Middle Belt Expression. e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morphy returns next week.