Anywhere you go all around Nigeria today, mention Yahaya Bello and your audience would have no difficulty fathoming who he is as the governor of Kogi state and the false and wicked narrative they have been served by malicious and untruthful persons from Kogi state because charity begins at home. A popular axiom from my place says, when you sell your household member for 2 naira, it would be difficult to buy him for a kobo.
Yahaya Bello has become even more popular than Mr President in recent times. Funny enough, while they tried to rubbish this young man who dared to be different and challenge negative status quo, little did they know they are merely setting him up for success and popularity as most of us would continue to speak his success stories against hate and lies, no matter whose ox is gored.
What are the crimes of this young unassuming governor?
Before the New Direction administration of Governor Yahaya Bello came on board to steer the ship of Kogi state, Kogi can be likened to a very sick man on life support, who is in need of urgent medical attention to rescue him from imminent hemorrhage and subsequent death.
A lot of ills and anomalies were the bane of Kogi state civil service under the watch of previous administrations, as much as efforts where made by these administrations to correct these ills, there was no political will to implement the clear cut recommendations, for sentiments I would be sharing much late . This act of ineptitude on the part of government, ate deep into the fabrics of Kogi’s existence that the state was merely existing, many years backward from her contemporaries. Top among the ills was the issue of insecurity. People dared passing through Kogi state. Thuggery, kidnapping, robbery was a pastime in the eastern flank , kidnapping and robbery was synonymous to the central, while bank robbery was a daily occurrence in the western senatorial zone. These ugly trends became dangerous fangs that drove away investments and people of good intentions from Kogi state.
You would also recall that few months to the end of the previous administration, it could could not pay workers salaries. This was a result of the prolonged overwhelming internal issues that were being managed over successive administrations, which coincidentally reached its crux in 2015, the center could no longer hold and it carved in, hence the systemic comatose of that administration manifested, starting with owing workers three moths salaries.
Somebody needed bell the cat!
One major feature in the Kogi state civil service by “powers that be” is the inclusion of family members into government payroll to draw illegally from government , enriching themselves in the process that must have lasted many years and cost the state billions of Naira. Similarly, what goes on at the Local government level, where LGA cashiers are multi millionaires, owing state-of-the- art properties and cars with monies accrued from illegal inclusion of fictitious names into the payroll was rife ; A situation where somebody takes the salaries of over twenty persons. These were ludicrous and wicked practices that Governor Bello dared in the face and said enough is enough. Previous administrations had carried out staff verification exercises in the past but could not munster the courage to implement these, because family members were involved and benefiting from the scam . In place of commendation, the backlashes have been terrible from culprits, beneficiaries and cronies.
Someone once told me how her cousin is being owed 38 months. I asked her to tell her cousin to call me. He did and when I requested for his details so I assist verify the authenticity of his claims, I am still waiting after over a year. This is to affirm that there are more lies out there about Yahaya Bello than meets the eyes. A genuine civil servant would have looked for the minutest avenue to correct his problem. Nobody is happy owing his workers salaries, Governor Yahaya Bello is indeed pained.
Mallam Amina Kano said “Nigeria will know no peace until the son of Nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody”
In times past, godfatherism was a factor if you must gain political mileage in Kogi state. You simply cannot aspire to become anybody or assume a political position without the approval of one gothefather or the other. A situation that reduced useful and brilliant youth to hanger-ons and political thugs. Howbeit by providence, Governor Yahaya Bello became governor without a godfather’s approval but by the God the Father’s approval, freeing political leadership from the hands of men that has hitherto seen themselves as political Lords, into the hands of a youthful and focused young man, who maximized this opportunity and created a government that is 80% youth inclusive, without consulting the lords. A laudable feet but that has cost him a lot of enemies.
Yahaya Bello has broken a whole lot of jinxs, from being a detribalized Governor, who is not a religious bigot. A common practice in times past was governors in Kogi state to to appoint principals and critical aides such as their Chief of Staff from the same clan as them. Against pressure to toe the line of his predecessors, Yahaya Bello demystified the powers that be and appointed an Igala Man , Edward Onoja, to be his Chief of Staff – Now Deputy Governor, an appointment that sparked criticisms even from the governor’s district.
However, I am confident in the quote of the elder statesman, whether they like it or not, Kogi is peaceful, because the son of a nobody is now governor. Bank robbery is zero for the past 3 years, armed robbery is a thing of the past, kidnapping has totally been trashed out, except for pockets of communal clashes that predates this administration.
Can’t we read between the lines?
If we must be sincerely objective, holistic and truthful, Governor Yahaya Bello has done what no governor has done and has written his name in the sands of time, his only sin is the clearing of salary backlog of genuine workers , which I am confident too shall pass like others did. The future would be kind to Yahaya Bello and posterity will judge him kindly.
Williams Charles Oluwatoyin.
Writes from Lokoja.