By Bayo Eniojukan
The real and behind-the-scene motives for the unrelenting mischief by well-known enemies of the people of Kogi State should be obvious to all thinking people. Because the present administration in the state has blocked entrenched interests from feasting on the commonwealth and is embarking on efforts to develop all the sectors of socio-economic life of the people, it becomes very understandable that the mouth of detractors who had failed woefully in the past should be filled with sour grapes.
Because of the yawning developmental gap left between what was and what is now, it has not been easy for the people who were responsible for the state of hopelessness into which Kogi State and its citizens had been dumped, to accept the reality that, at last, the day of reckoning has come. Or that, indeed, a Daniel had come to judgment.
It is no longer news that as the result of the clamour of people from different walks of life, against the unrestrained bazaar that was the key feature of the last two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations in the state, that Governor Yahaya Bello had set up a judicial panel of enquiry to look into the mess that was the last two administrations. After open sessions, the panel arrived at the decision that sundry interests who were working in concert with the key elements in the former administrations were indicted.
It was further discovered that in spite of losses of such huge sums of money through various forms of looting, nothing much was left on the ground to justify that grand rape of the long-suffering people of Kogi State. If anything, the people inherited monuments of abandoned and uncompleted projects and HUGE LOANS TO SERVICE.
It is no wonder that as a way of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people, these shameless detractors who obviously have a lot of explanations to make to the Kogites, have instead, hired a well known rabble-rouser to tar the present administration in the same putrid hue in which they had wallowed in their 12 uninterrupted years of despoliation of Kogi State.
It is in that light that the recent ridiculous attempt by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), leveling all manners of tendentious allegations against the Yahaya Bello administration, should be seen.
It is needless to state that from the mediocrity of the presentation of ‘situation report’ of the happenings in Kogi State on the floor of the Senate, it was obvious that the lawmaker lives in the gutters and is just desirous of dragging everybody else into his natural habitat.
No one should be surprised at Melaye’s reference to the people of his home state as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). He is a product of a discredited National Assembly where distorted personalities flourish unchallenged. Melaye as a Senator has never shown he is a robust adult thirsting for challenge and rigor. He trivializes serious issues with his nonsense and tomfoolery.
This is a lawmaker who knows nothing other than ostentatious consumption of goods in a manner that proves the anger of the poor Kogi people who voted him into office. On so many occasions, Senator Dino mocks at the very electorate that put him in office. He flaunts his exotic cars and jeeps to impress his poverty ravaged voters. Wouldn’t we be impressed if this “Distinguished Senator” had used his wealth to promote social causes and other philanthropic activities? Are the politician’s achievements determined by the number of exotic cars and jeeps he has acquired while in office, or by how many lives he touched?
Another obvious evil goal of the beer-parlor allegations against Governor Bello is to create the impression, that the current administration in the state is incompetent, as the day of reckoning for his recall from the Senate becomes imminent. There is, however, no doubt that attempts to erect such red-herrings would collapse.
It is also a matter of fact that in the affairs of governance, perception by the different levels of the governed often translates to the reality which they internalize. The detractors of the present government in Kogi State know this and that is why they are taking these diets of evil concoctions to the court of public opinion, knowing that the public is often gullible and would want to believe the worst about their leaders. It is, therefore, understandable and excusable that the state government usually takes equal space used by the detractors to publish their concoctions to refute them. It was a good information management strategy which tries to target the same audience at which the dangerous false allegations were targeted.
But rather than devote time and resources in responding to scoundrels like Senator Dino, whose stock in trade is scooping mud and throwing at people, what Governor Yahaya Bello and his handlers should do at this time is to ignore Dino and continue its good work, for the people, cognizant of the fact that the people are not fools and are aware of the great changes that are taking place before their very eyes.
Kogites are intelligent and discerning people who have watched governments come and go, and are, therefore, able to make comparisons. The people have been able to differentiate between administrations that have treated them with disdain from those who have taken their interests to heart and respected their feelings deeply enough as to have routinely consulted them to ascertain our feelings and listen to our heartbeats.
Yes, one must admit that the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello in Kogi State is definitely human and is bound to make mistakes and should, therefore, be given the opportunity to correct them.
It is important to call on all well-meaning people of Kogi State to come together and ensure that his detractors and unrepentant opposition elements that are hiding under Senator Dino are not allowed to succeed. Similarly, Governor Bello should continue his good work and by ensuring that the looters of the past are compelled to vomit their loot, in accordance with the prescriptions of the different judicial panels of inquiry so that the hapless civil servants can be paid all their entitlements at once!
While I am not trying to rationalize the owing of Kogi workers’ salaries, it must be said that Governor Bello is among the few governors who have committed to a reduction of its operating costs, including significantly slashing its overheads while freeing up more resources to meet his obligations to workers and to bridge the gap in the state’s infrastructural deficit.
It must be understood that as things stand, only four states; Kano, Katsina, Rivers, and Lagos can meet their recurrent expenditure obligations without resorting to borrowing or tapping from donor funds and extra-budgetary sources.
Official data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that in 2016, thirty (30) states reviewed; minus Lagos State generated N515.61 billion internally generated revenue, which is one-third of the N1.479 trillion they spend on workers remuneration annually. So, Kogi State is not alone in this mess.
What should Yahaya Bello do? He should continue in the same proactive and transparent way he has been running the state affairs, working to improve tax collection efficiency and realign budgeting with statewide plans.
It is for the honest and ordinary Kogites to make the accurate assessments that would winnow the wheat from the chaff. The good people of Kogi State must continue to consign senseless allegations made by Senator Melaye to where they belong- the dustbins!
After all, one could allege to a blind man that there is oil in the food, but you cannot lie to him that there is salt, when there is none. Let all Kogites as well as the other Nigerians whom the detractors in Kogi State are trying to confuse learn to dismiss the fake allegations against the current administration in the Confluence State for what they are: futile efforts of drowning men who had betrayed their trust by the people they were supposed to govern well, to grab at any manner of straws.
It is important to note, as Governor Bello has consistently warned of the need for vigilance to ensure that that Kogites do not allow the inordinate ambition of other people to becloud our peaceful atmosphere and vision. Should a word not be enough for the wise people
of Kogi State?