The past few months have witnessed intense political contestations over the performance of the Kogi State Governor; the funniest of commentaries coming from people who have not been to the State in the past few years, especially after the inauguration of Alh. Yahaya Bello as the 4th executive governor of the confluence State. No one expected his tenure to be devoid of wanton and strait-jacket condemnation as a result of the manner of his emergence.
Without the fear of being termed immodest, I stand to say Governor Yahaya Bello had the best manifesto, going into the 2015 governorship election. He came out with a well thought out, practicable and realistic blueprint to power the State with an auxiliary intellectual gear from the shambles and the ashes of a failed past. He called it the New Direction Agenda.
When people say he came into government unprepared; they only exhibit a clear lack of his political history. He campaigned round the state to woo delegates to support his aspiration for a better Kogi State. In the primary election, he came second with over 700 votes. The late Prince Abubakar Audu, a political icon hailed the strides of Alh. Yahaya Bello. That was the beginning of a New Kogi State.
The death of Prince Abubakar Audu was a painful reality. He died just before the party breasted the victory tape having significantly done over 90% of the job.
Destiny bestowed on the jewelry shoulders of Alh Yahaya Bello to pilot the seat of our dear State. He was to conclude the race for the party and he did that with candor and precision.
The PDP felt they had to test the legal waters over the emergence of GYB. Capt. Idris Wada headed to court. Also, the running mate to the late Prince Audu, Hon. James Abiodun Faleke felt he should have been considered for the ticket to complete the race.
He won all the cases from the lower Tribunal to the Supreme Court. Faleke refused to pick up his blank Cheque to be Deputy Governor and the administration had to go through bad press and a conspiracy to put the real Kogi under the table and then market to the world, what the new Kogi doesn’t stand for.
GYB proved his strength of character by remaining focused on what he is determined to achieve. He wanted social welfare for the people. He wanted to diversify the economy by handing over the keys to agriculture and manufacturing. He wanted to secure the state and make it safe. He wanted to empower the young minds with sound education. He wanted to reduce maternal mortality to the barest minimum by ensuring mothers don’t die anymore in the process of child birth. He wanted to improve infrastructure and social amenities. He wanted to lead a united state.
Has he achieved his set goals? To a large extent, yes. I don’t know how people could afford to trivialize the achievement of unity in a state that went into a pool of water carrying a large stone of disunity. We were almost drowned by disunity as a people. We were slowed down and Balkanized along ethnic and social lines. Today, we are united people just because a Governor doesn’t know the difference between an Onoja and an Ohere; a Kolawole and an Ahmed; a Sani Ogu and a Shedrack. He has welded our state into one unbroken entity that is fortified to progress.
On infrastructure, GYB has done a lot considering the meager resources at his disposal. He has built roads, hospitals, schools and also reformed the civil service for efficient service delivery to the people of Kogi State. Confounded by the giant strides of the administration and also in order to test our resolve as a people to support good governance; some political hawks have chosen the path of sponsoring bad press against the State Government. Their only hope of stopping the Governor, in their curious thoughts, is to discredit the Governor and launch sustained propaganda and falsehood against his government to make him look like a failure.
A man who plies the road constructed by Governor Yahaya Bello went on a national television to say the Governor has not tarred a single kilometer of road. Deep in him, he felt guilty. But he needed to demarket the State before the national and international community to justify their collective desire to stop the train of progress in the state.
And the week came. First, royal fathers from Kogi State got their request of meeting with the President answered as the Governor facilitated their meeting with Mr President. The Falsehood Excellencies quickly gathered to discredit the visit and accuse the Royal Fathers of being bribed on one hand and being coerced on the other hand. Psychologically, bribery and coercion do not fall into the same rhythm. When you bribe someone, he will be happy to deliver . When you coerce, you do not need to bribe.
Our royal fathers are responsible and respectable leaders who are respected. They went to the President and presented their demands. They want more infrastructure. They want a better ministerial slot than the state got between 2015 and 2019. They want the Power Plant Project at Omi to start in earnest. The want the Federal Government to support the “Power Kogi East Project”. They want Ajaokuta Steel Company to be completed and become operational. And lastly, they passed a vote of confidence on the governor to continue in office beyond 2020.
That meeting enlightened the world to the Kogi reality. The detractors got upset that their lies were bursted. They vented their anger on the royal fathers. The sins of our fathers was that they chose the path of truth and honour. And on Saturday of the same week, a group within the party that warred against the Governor for three years resolved to bury the hatchet and move the state and the party forward. That group was led by Alh. Hadi Ametuo, the immediate past chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the State.
The new entrants into the party who want to fight for the ticket of the party had been telling those who care to listen that the party was “factionalized”. They said for that reason, “Direct Primary is the answer”. We know the party was not factionalized in the State. We know and they know too that what we had were aggrieved members who were not comfortable with the emergence of the Governor. On Saturday, that era of hostilities was closed. The groups agreed to reconcile, sending the detractors to the drawing board to fashion the next lie.
While they were busy with their designed-to-fail strategies, the governor has concentrated on governance and also winning on the political turf by showing great maturity and excellent tenacity to achieve peace and harmony. Today, APC Kogi State is one, working towards a common goal of re-electing Governor Yahaya Bello to continue his giant strides in the State.
This situation bodes well for the now and the future of not just our great party, but our State. We can now concentrate on ensuring that the locusts that plundered our dear State for 13 irreclaimable years are not allowed to return to our dear State. It has also shown the capacity of the governor and the various groups in the party to avoid the banana peels that befell other states in recent times.
With the recent developments, it is now crystal clear that APC is poised to go into the November 16 election with a broom that can sweep away any opposition.
– Fanwo is the Director General of Media and Publicity to Kogi State Governor
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