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Gov Bello And The Shark-infested Waters Of Kogi Politics



Lately, Nigerians had to endure the sour, foul and unpleasant experience of witnessing   strings of poorly staged orchestra of political brinkmanship   in recent times  – starting   from an individual with penchant for the absurd to a handful of individuals in desperate showmanship performance, ostensibly meant to extend the creeping arc of political thuggery and clandestine opportunism in the   Kogi State political spectrum.

While meaningful intervention to curb the spate of organized violence and elite-sponsored security breaches in the state    are being planned from the inner recess of government   at the national level, in conjunction with the state executive, some strange elements in political clothing seek their   relevance in contrived security breaches in a cruel bid for dubious political precision and prankish publicity stunt. Thanks to the incipient trend in the polity, Political vampires in executive apparel and other noisy and rudderless individuals elected to political offices have discovered precious pastimes in rambunctious hooliganism via collaborative enterprise with   idle minds to create emergency security situation. The objective is neither unfathomable nor lost to any discerning mind – a clever and desperate bid to shift and divert public attentions from their ignominious failures.

Not a few would mind being reminded of   the high drama and hara-kiri acrobatics staged by a supposedly ranking senator from the Kogi west who is known more for childish entertainment and egregious drama series than responsible legislative activism. To this end, it was the default trend when the nation was barely just digesting the inherent risk in the un-enterprising escapism of jumping from a fast-moving vehicle in the desperate bid to evade the long arm of the law; an improved version worth premier rating in Hollywood blockbusters was launched into the public space. 

A boring account of   how, under the hot chase of a phony enemy, an individual survived   twenty bullet shots dominated public space, a prelude to an alleged kidnap where no ransom was demanded nor was any contact made by the abductors, neither was the police informed. A funny record- breaking claim of spending   11 hours on the treetop added flavor of absurdity to the drama.

It was an extended phase of this never-ending drama of absurdity when, penultimate week, a handful of desperate strange bedfellows with the lead actor, senator Dino and his new recruit, Senator Salawu Ogemnbe –a senator from Kogi central and his co-travellers in the House of Reps, attempted a feat of feeding the nation with a modified version of another round of hot-chase by a phantom enemy, vide the story titled “Kogi senators, Reps allege harassment by Bello” in which the group said: “This cry has become imperative because persons holding contrary or alternative political views with Governor Bello can no longer move freely within the state, neither can they hold political meetings or conduct political activities such as town hall meetings, constituency empowerment programmers without violent interruptions by the state government and its agents”.

This riotous run of bizarre   events in Kogi state threw up by this new group is not particularly strange. It’s a contrived pattern with expanded mandate and membership and under the leadership of Dino and his newly crowned Captain, Ogembe.  Dino needs no introduction to any one as his brand of default politics is duplicated and documented in various modules of confrontation and controversy long before the appearance of Governor Yahaya Bello on the political scene. The mystery surrounding the disappearance of a key witness who was to testify against his election in 2008 remains unresolved. He was at the centre of the fight that broke out in the House of Reps during the Patricia Etteh saga where his dress was ripped apart and beamed to the whole world.   The person of interest in this new drama series is another Senator who had been in politics long before Bello but   would struggle in vain to   disown his role in the destructive brand of politics bordering on youth thuggery, organised violence and gangsterism foisted on Kogi state. In effect, a bold matching index of violent political tradition had been foisted on the state by previous actors whose idea of political power rests in arming armies of unemployed youths with dangerous weapons to secure dubious electoral victory. Productive engagement of youths in capacity development schemes would be asking too much of them.   If they are now crying Wolf, they should ponder on whether they are not being hunted and threatened by the monsters they created – what goes around surely comes around

In very recent memory, before the advent of Bello, Kogi central and its environs ingloriously slipped into a horrible   crime zone swirling with assorted criminality, nightmarish flares of unrestrained gangsterism, mysterious killings and broad day shooting, even as kidnapping and armed robbery crept into our streets and was threatening to enter into our homes. We only needed a reminder of how the old political brigades recruited hordes of idle youth and armed them with dangerous weapons to terrorise political opponents. Those youths have now regrouped and transformed into hideous violent criminals threatening our homes and making life hellish for our people. No thanks to the activities of the pre-Yahaya Bello political actors, their bold signatures and imprimaturs in youth thuggery recruitment enterprise still ring riot in public conscience.

Shouldn’t the likes of   Senator Salami Ohiare, for instance, be a leading treasure, custodian of political wisdom and a graceful panjandrum, advising and sharing his experience with the younger Bello, inclusive of resourceful legerdemain garnered in his long sojourn in Kogi politics?

  The resolve of the governor to shut his doors and turn deaf ears to the hypocritical cries of alienation, marginalization and non-consultative attitude to the old brigade politicians is not unconnected with their terrible profile which cannot provide an inspiring template for navigating   through the multi –layered warren of rot and devastation inherited from previous regimes. Governor Bello’s   preferences are reliable working partners made up of   few untainted older politicians in the likes of Alh Tijjani Damisa, Abubakar Yahaya Karaku and scores of trusted   aquittances who believe in his vision and governance philosophy and are passionate about realising his core developmental goals for the state.

Shortly after his resumption of office, Governor Bello took cognizance of the security landmine he inherited from previous political actors and convened a security summit to find a way of nipping the security threat in Kogi central and other parts of the state in the bud. Various stakeholders from Kogi central were invited to get their input.  Bello’s singular declaration on the occasion was unambiguous. He said: ‘all those who recruited and armed youths should recall those youth to give back their arms in exchange for productive engagement with the state government. Can some those crying wolf now, in all good conscience, tell Nigerians what  the role they played in forging  a resistant front against security situation in Kogi central? 

– Yakubu is the Coordinator, Front For Middle Belt Expression




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