The Present And The Promised New Kogi

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Each time I cogitate about my Governor, His Excellency Yahaya Bello, I see him as one who is a victim of circumstance. I see that his political ambition is crippling his moral rectitude to do what is right and expected of him. Talk about the quest to please every political interest instrumental to his second term bid. In the process, he veered off the radar of his promises to Kogi people especially his emphatic remark that “Kogi has no business being poor to the extent of not being able to pay salaries”.

Crawling into his third year, he’s yet to move passed the tide of executive poverty holding his government by the jugular against his cocksure grounds for high expectations of a better and prosperous state where “our significant resources work for the people of this [Kogi] State”.

Again, I took a peep into his ‘New Direction’ blueprint to suss whether or not our expectations from him are overly exaggerated, giving the abysmal performance of those before him. However, he is nowhere near the “quick-wins” he expected the now “occupant of Lugard House” to deliver. In fact, he has been doing the opposite of majority of his promises.

Salaries are not paid as and when due after the shabbily executed civil service reform. He said “every laborer is worthy of his wage”, but current situation where workers are being owed several months of their salary has proven that, that statement was just a mere rendering of lip-service to attract workers support. The hardship precipitated by non-payment of salary across the chain of livelihood in Kogi State is unimaginably distressing.

On education, he promised to “revamp the educational system of the state”, yet conditional cash Grant is a mere fantasy; school meal vouchers misleading; school-based child health intervention, a mirage; incentivized vocational and apprenticeships schemes, still grossly executed by a few of his appointees in a quackish manner. Rather than having a “sustainable improvements in our educational sector”, what seem on ground are indications of sharp declines in our already comatose educational sector. How do we even expect a positive rating of that sector when teachers are owed several months of their legitimate salaries? This alone is capable of crippling the rest of the values we have in the sector, but does he knows that?

In the stead of this imbroglio, many, especially those who place performance above ethnic and religion cleavages, would have find reasons to support his administration if infrastructural development is at its peak. As I write many of the projects commenced are now abandoned, some more dangerous than previously. “…accessibility to good road networks, power, piped water (and extending to adjoining towns while building new ones)” are among the promised “good things of life” the people were enchanted with, yet manifested only in papers. Given his taste for luxuries, one would have expected him to revamp many of our public institutions, particularly the ones that bring revenue.

On tourism, one of the bullet-points under Job Creation and youth engagement, the annual ITALO is yet to be placed “on the International Tourism Calendar like the Ofala Festival of the Obi of Onitsha, the Ojude Ova festival of Oba of Lagos, or the Durbars of the Emirs in the far North of Nigeria”. Are there even plans thinking towards this direction today? I seriously doubt. We have gone beyond “two years in office”, yet “the Agricultural reform that would ensure at least 100,000 Kogites are employed” has gone extinct.

Aside from customizing Paracetamol, I will commend his effort in the area of health. His timely intervention on the epidemic of cassava flour, equipping health facilities, etc is one of the few areas he got things right. However, the 500-Bed Referral Hospital of International Standard is either still in pipeline or has been forgotten. In fact, nothing of international standard has been replicated in Kogi State, except if you would say the Revenue House and Government House. Also, I will give him a knuckle in the area of environment. At least, Lokoja, particularly along the roadside, is free of debris,

This is why I strongly advice political aspirants to pen down their mission and objectives of running for certain position by themselves. Obviously, and convincingly so, the New Direction blueprint was perfectly conjure to swindle the electorate into believing that a messiah has come. Unfortunately, the recent events have shown that liberation is not in view.

Leadership is at best the ability to influence one’s thoughts in others and so, every discerning leader ought to choose his subordinates and colleagues carefully. How does one explain certain situation where a leader is boxed into a circumstance where the smell of reality is not perceived, yet so comfortable that no one is ever held responsible and decisively dealt with for avoidable infractions? A leader of his age and class who is being touted as ‘digital’ should not be oblivious of social Media, where unfiltered feedbacks and impulses can be assessed.

In the face of these, I still empathize with him for coming on board at this point in time where expectations are high that a young vibrant man, a messiah so to say, will lead us out of the shackles of corrupt officials and politicians. I still feel for him that despite boasting that a Kogi-central led administration will make a sharp difference, having been politically sidelined for about 18 years, he is performing below average.

It’s true, I’m not privy to the inner workings of government, but where result is ineffectively unfavourable and the handlers are arrogantly inexpressive, the methods employed will be questioned. That is the leveraging point upon which this write-up sits. Sharing the same ancestral cleavage with him is not enough to support him, though it’s a factor, but delivering on his promise will. While we continue to pray and expect that he gets it right with good governance before the close of this tenure, I want to unfeignedly express that ethnicity is no longer a factor to earn my support.

As I close, let me remind our sons and daughters, and the sons and daughters of others in this administration that the present Kogi is what we still know even as we are ambivalent about when the New Kogi, as promised, will come. They should make haste while the son still shines.

PS: All quotes are extracts from the “New Direction: The Blueprint”

– Alabi John Ozovehe

Source Credit: Kogireports

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