Quick Math In Kogi State: Mediocrity = 4 + 4, By Isa Mubarak
Posted On Feb 17, 2018
If I am to write a book, ‘How to Be the Best Governor in Kogi State’ it’ll be an international bestseller and will be critically acclaimed. This book will contain only one page and a chapter.
Now, people are wondering what this book will be about. In a land where mediocrity thrives, I don’t need to talk about IGRs, GDPs, Infrastructure, Health care or any of those fancy terms. To be the best Governor Kogi State ever had is to PAY SALARIES, don’t owe workers and pay promptly. That’s all. That’s it.
As easy as these ‘tasks’ may seem, some Governors are still failing woefully at it. I’ve lived among the people of Kogi State for over a decade and I can tell you that this is a safe haven for mediocrity. An average Kogite don’t really care if you build tall infrastructures, better healthcare system, good roads and all that, so far you pay them their salary arrears and salaries promptly. The citizens don’t demand much from their Governors that’s why we’ve been rewarding our mediocre Governors with ‘4 + 4’, one after the other.
The way our leaders act is a result, and a reflection of our actions and inactions as citizens. This thing is simple yet majority of us in Nigeria still don’t get it. Leadership is less than followership.
In May 31st, 2017 my article ‘Yahaya Bello’s Screening Fiasco’ was published on DailyTrust newspaper. It was about an unending screening which lasted for over a year and the consequent hardship on workers, families and all other happenings that came about as a result of such incompetence.
When the screening finally came to an end, I decided to give him the benefits of doubt once again, perhaps it was the committee in charge of the screening who did a woeful job, maybe things will begin to go smoothly now, and we will finally enjoy the rights as citizens. And he (GYB) assured workers they won’t be owed a penny anymore only for workers to be paid in percentages and quarterly.
I wrote another newspaper article after that, ‘Good Guy, Bad Politician’ in the article, I highlighted some few good things I noticed in his government especially his detribalized stance and also pointed out his amateur approach to governance and politics. I cited his qualms with Sen. Dino Melaye and Kogi APC executives among other controversies.
In the article, I wrote, “He (GYB) dissipate so much energy on needless ventures rather than focusing on governance…”
This won’t come out as a surprise to some, that Yahaya Bello by action or inactions has portrayed himself as President Buhari’s spokesman or as some would call it, “Buhari’s boy boy.” It became apparent the day he declared public holiday in Kogi State when the President returned from his sick leave, it is now evident that he has frequented Aso Rock more than most working Governors, quick to reply the President’s critics, such were his reactions to Obasanjo’s letter and the Catholic priest comment.
It would seem that our Governor is trying rather too hard to get federal government attention, like a son trying to get a father’s attention. The passion he exhumes in this sector, one can only assume his return to power depends massively on Buhari, like all other politicians who used the ‘Buhari effect’ to win the 2015 election.
Some criticized him for agreeing to the cattle colony proposal by the federal government too nippily without giving it much thought. So quick to assign 15,000 hectares of land for that purpose, making Kogi the first state to implement it. I have my reservations on the issue of cattle colony but his hasty actions seem rather desperate and attention seeking.
More recently is the Kogi Investment Summit, as wonderful as that initiative was, public affair analyst seems not to be impressed. Their arguments were based on the fact that the Vice President who was in Kogi State at the time, didn’t commission ‘any’ project or infrastructure in the state, perhaps there wasn’t any project to commission.
Our Governor is like those below-average students, who knows the reason they go to school but totally oblivious of what to do in school. To thrive, he tries to be on the good side of the teachers and headmaster and when it’s time to get work done, he looks at his colleagues to get ideas but can’t execute it as beautiful as they did.
I am talking about the screening exercise, proposed teacher’s screening test, media week, economic summit and other projects which were all done by other states, but more successfully.
Recently, during the Kogi Investment Summit, a statement was attributed to Gov. Yahaya Bello through his Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja. He is said to have stated that the Paris Funds and the Bailout Funds people are always asking of were used for ‘security’ in the state.
He actually said as I quote “People have been asking of the Bailout Funds, the Paris Funds and what they were used for. If you look around, you will see security vehicles, we bought over 150 of them. Today, we are safe in Kogi, no robbery or kidnapping. These things don’t come cheap; it requires lots of money.” Implying that if government didn’t use it for that purpose, majority of Kogites would have been kidnapped by now and their salaries wouldn’t have been enough to pay their ransoms.
No denying that he has done a wonderful job in that sector (security) but if not because of persecutions that comes along with freedom of expression, I would have shared my views on a lot.
Kogi State Governor is like a kid who was gifted with a beautiful bicycle that became overjoyed, and he is just basking in the euphoria of owning a beautiful bicycle and enjoying the praises of his parents and other kids in the neighborhood to understand what he is meant to do with the bicycle.
This is not just about Yahaya Bello or his government, this is also about those who preceded him and those that may succeed him and Kogi State people and their acceptance of mediocrity. Such mediocrity as portraying the newly renovated government house gate as an achievement and you see youths parading the photos on the internet tagging the former house gate as ‘analog’ and the renovated as ‘digital’ – such mediocrity!
By Isa Eneye Mubarak