By Hussain Obaro
SIR; These past days, the internet and social media have been awash with news and pictures of the newly built mansion of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State in his home town of Okene. Some news platforms have alleged that the expensive house is worth billions of naira, while others have described it as an architectural masterpiece of the century.
The question I asked some of the governor’s critics is: when and how has it become a sin for a sitting governor to build a house? If a similar house was built by a performing governor, would it have attracted the kind of reaction, condemnation and bashing that the palatial mansion has received so far?
It has since dawned on me that it isn’t really about the house, which some persons have described as a heaven on earth, but the timing, the funfair, extravagant ceremony and the unnecessary flaunting of the magnificent edifice by the governor’s praise singers and clueless appointees who go about posting and celebrating the mansion as if it is a sort of a dividend of democracy and a gift to the people of Kogi State.
Common-sense demands that since the governor is doing little or nothing to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses of Kogi State, he would stop doing things that will further increase their pain and frustrations. Erecting a gigantic multi-million naira mansion and rubbing it on the faces of the hungry masses is tantamount to dancing on the graves of those who have lost their lives to accidents while travelling to participate in the more than one year screening exercise that the administration embarked upon with no tangible result to show for it. It insults the patience and sensibilities of the workers who have endured hunger and humiliation as a result of the hardship imposed on them by the Yahaya Bello administration.
The families of those who have committed suicide as a result of the economic hardship in the state wouldn’t smile at the mansion whenever they walk past it. Aside the fact that many of the governor’s appointees have allegedly become so rich that they are also building mansions of their own in choice areas across the state and beyond. The only thing they seem to be good at is haul insults at constructive critics, using gutter and garage languages. It is said that a sensible leader selects the best of the best and empower them to deliver on set goals and objectives.
Our dear governor, you were not wrong to have built a house of your own in your home town, but the timing was wrong and so was the funfair and publicity it attracted. It makes no iota of common-sense that while President Muhammadu Buhari was away in Kano State commissioning state-of-the-art hospitals, roads and factories that has the capacity to employ more than 5000 unemployed, you were commissioning your mansion amidst hungry and poor Kogites.
Lokoja, Kogi State.