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2023: Bello for President? God forbids!

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By Samson Atek’ojo Usman

As the 2023 general election forecloses, so many things would unfold. One of which is Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello saying he was under pressure to contest the 2023 presidency. Watching the dramatis personae involved in the illusionary ambition, which, though, he has never told Nigerians or disclosed at any fora those putting the 45 year Governor under pressure to contest the 2023 Presidency, the project was triggered by no other persons than ‘hawks’. Hawks are on prowl in Kogi. They have seen an essential commodity to be taken to Twitter and other means of social media for tokenism. The only means of survival in a State that was once a State.

In the Stretch of their imaginations, they want the governor who’s dossier of unmitigated disaster in Kogi State of about 7 million people in the last six years to preside over the affairs of nearly 200 million Nigerians. They want the rupture replicated and the convoluted way of governance foisted on Nigerians. If it thus happen, then, the gods must be wrong!

The social media have been awashed by these hawks trying to market Alhaji Yahaya Bello Presidency with erection of bill boards in soft and hard copy especially in the central axis of Kogi State. These hawks are the ‘early birds’ to electioneering period that is far three years away. Kogi! What a state with its certain set of people?

How Yahaya Bello inherited late Abubakar Audu’s votes in 2016 through a travesty of justice, isn’t the subject of discourse, but taking a ‘SWOT’ analysis of the last six years as governor of Kogi State, will not result to anything less than fatality and governance fiasco. The Yahaya Bello that hawks are pushing to the bigger market place of politics has never contested elections in the real sense of it. The 2016 governorship election that brought him to power was that of the late Prince Abubakar Audu. In the 2019, he contested with himself with the connivance of power at the centre. They colluded to make ‘Okene’ votes more than the entire Kogi State put together. Was that an election? Certainly not! However, one is consoled by the fact that the world condemned the governorship election that brought him into office for the second term. Bigger consolation was the fact that the November 16th 2019 governorship election in Kogi State has been chronicled as the darkest day in Nigeria’s political history. The rest is history.

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If the mill of justice is allowed to grind, the political ignominy in Kogi would have been a different ball game. Pushing the idea of Bello for Presidency in 2023, one wholeheartedly believes, wouldn’t be in contemplation of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), because of the collateral damage it would cause. The APC will not contest presidential election with itself, but will be competing with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other smaller political parties.

Before the hawks pushes Bello’s ambition further, one would ask, what was the state of Kogi economy before he took over governance in January, 2016 and now? The economy here means the production and consumption of goods and services; the supply of money and welfare of citizens. It’s less than 0.01. Put Kogi economy in simple explanation, has Yahaya Bello’s administration attracted a single local or foreign investor to the State in his last six years? If the answer is in the affirmative, where in Kogi State? Who would even dare to invest in a State that has suddenly turned into evil axis of kidnappers and herdsmen running riots with heavy casualties? Kogi under Yahaya Bello is one of the most insecured State to live (anyone can argue this), but can’t argue the fact that no day breaks without reports of attack on citizens, stricto senso.

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The lack of capacity is a case in issue and the earlier, the hawks who for the sake of what they got stops, the better, so that Kogi wouldn’t be in further opium. The governor should be allowed to concentrate on building the Confluence University of Science and Technology, Osara, having grounded Kogi State University, Anyigba in Kogi East. He should be allowed to build the modern General Hospital in Okene having grounded all zonal hospitals he met in the entire Kogi State. Health facilities in Kogi State have become antiquities of interest of late.

The other day, one had cause to ‘laugh out loud’ watching a ‘favourite soap opera’ when the Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu cried because hoodlums in a backlash attacked a warehouse said to have been stocked with medical equipment. What were the equipment doing in a warehouse when the existing hospitals across the three zones have nothing. According to Dr. Saka Audu, the equipment looted by the hoodlums in the guise of EndSARs protests were worth millions of naira. And Dr. Saka cried.

The State health sector was so decrepit to the extent that citizens travelled all the way to the neighbouring States of Ekiti, Edo, Enugu, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory for medical attention. One has often heard of Kogi people dying in Abuja hospitals, and other places, those not residing in Abuja, but in the State. Those dying due to poor health facilities didn’t deserve anybody’s crying comedy, but equipment.

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In Kogi State University, there was a Faculty of Medical Sciences fully running with accreditation process nearing completion for medical students. The Ivory tower was operating the faculty with the age long Grimard Hospital as its Teaching Hospital, but the present administration wasted their ambition of becoming medical Doctors. If the State government can’t fund a faculty of an existing University, why establishing a new one? There is no sector in Kogi that one could applaud the governor in terms of investment.

Moreso, one is taken aback over the hogwash December 12, 2020, Local Government Council election in Kogi State, where all the 21 Local Government Area Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress platform claimed to have won. First, it started with Kogi APC printing only one Expression of Interest Form (EoI) for each Local Government Council. In that case, nobody has opportunity to contest Chairmanship other than those the governor has already put there as Special Assistant on Security.

The loud noise about how women were selected as Vice Chair persons was another huge setback, but to the Governor and his cahoots they see it as a turn of events rather than seeing it as anti-democratic. Then, three female Councillors per local government and also on the day they were being sworn-in in a gloomy atmosphere, he announced that all the National Youth Council of Nigeria Coordinator across the the 21 Council Areas be made LG Secretaries. Even if they were illiterate Okada Riders or some of them not being able to write their names, they have become LG Secretaries. A position that was supposed to be an administrative and the intelectual arm of LG.

Samson Atekojo Usman, is a citizen of Kogi State.

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