I woke up one morning to my Facebook news feed ridden with all kinds of write up about governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State nursing an ambition to become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria coupled with the noise making activity of the group called GYB2PYB 2023.
As usual, I thought it was one of the antics of the loafers who throng the government house to seek favour and in return write all kinds of junk. Yes, and I rightly thought. Long before then, about August 2020, a leaked WhatsApp chat circulated around social media in which Edward Onoja, Deputy governor of the state, was scolding one of their boys.
In the chat, Edward had told the boy to go and look for a decent job. This to me means a lot. Before I delve into why I called Bello’s ambition a joke, let me address Edward’s comment.
It appears they know that there is no future for their followers and praise singers. If following you is not a decent job, then why do you keep them? I thought some youths learned from that exchange but alas I was wrong. As you read this, there are battalions of jobless layabouts singing the praises of the Bello-Onoja administration even though one of the key leaders of the administration doesn’t think it is a decent way of making money.
Secondly, by that statement, even Edward knows the Bello presidency, like an elephant, will not fly. It won’t even take off. He was so livid that he dismissed the boy’s service as ‘undelegated sycophancy’. Whatever that means.
It also means that to be an official sycophant, you have to be delegated. I believe that those delegated sycophants are those with a Tecno phone pad, a charger and N1,000 monthly data subscription to post edited pictures and write tragic English expressions such as ‘the people does not know’, ‘Kogi State is develops’ and other blunders.
The whole thing smacks of mediocrity. But that is beside the point. The point here is that for Bello, whose government is the most catastrophic in the new age home and abroad, to think of becoming the president of Nigeria, we have seriously lowered the bar of governance in Nigeria.
A man whose state groans under yawning underdevelopment, the people are dying, civil servants are unpaid, health care is zero, education is comatose and roads have become death traps, should have quietly resigned, apologised and walked away in shame. But no! Nigeria, whose political algorithm is so warped that it throws up only the mediocre to rule over the excellent, might end up throwing Bello up as the preferred candidate for the mobocratic APC.
Let me give you an instance. Before I travelled home in December 2020, I was warned to come with my drugs and first aid. That was an indication that no hospital was working. The so called hospitals are glorified halls where doctors and patients meet and probably exchange greetings. And like one popular joint at Ajaka, they just say ‘How body’?
On the day I was travelling, I got to Okene about 6 PM but between Okene and Ajaokuta, I spent an hour or more. The road was like a scene of a bombardment. It was full of craters, patches and potholes, thank God there was no rain. Getting to the river Niger, the entire bridge was in darkness. The street lights are all dead. Same goes for the Ganaja junction to Ganaja village roads. It is in a terrible state.
Let us talk about accountability and probity. Bello and his deputy who have ruled Kogi State as their fiefdom have not been accountable to anyone. And the malleable State house has let them get away with it. A point in case is the opening of the Confluence University of Science and Technology. Of what use is it to a state as starved as Kogi State to have two state Universities? Have the Kogi State University staff been well taken care of? Whatever happens to opening a school of engineering, science and technology in the school and upgrading it to a standard university instead of the poor state that it is left in?
My major concern is Bello has decided to take all of us for a ride, forget about the photo ops. On ground, Kogi state is grossly mismanaged. We thank God for people like the Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje, a no nonsense man, who tore away the posters of the joke called Bello’s presidential campaign.
My only concern is that the lean state resources are expended on such a joke when there are shortages of infrastructure on all fronts. Who is even talking of infrastructure when the state workers haven’t been paid?
I urge everyone to call Bello and his social media hirelings to give a reasonable account of his stewardship over the years. They would resort to insults and bullying. No one would say anything that would be convincing.
If Kogi state still has elders, they must caution Bello from wasting the resources of the state in chasing a wild goose.
God bless Kogi State.
– Austin Okai Usman writes from Abuja.