We find it necessary to respond to an unfortunate cocktail of wild allegations, all of them without foundation, contained in one Comrade Maji Isah’s opinion piece entitled, “Why do Igalas want Yahaya Bello out?” and published simultaneously in both the traditional and online media platforms, including the now well regarded online platform; Kogi Reports. The opinion is free, but facts remain sacred.
Coming during an electioneering period, it is given that he was exercising the fundamental privilege to hold an opinion. But whatever might be the motivation for the write-up, Comrade Isah did far less than his usual outings.
We concede that he has a right to canvass support for whoever he wishes, but unkind cuts of the government and governor of his home State is a disservice to the entire people of the Confluence State irrespective of creed or religion. We are therefore compelled to set the records straight, so as not to misguide the generation of our children and grandchildren that their past was riddled with unconscionable opportunism. Sentiments cannot replace historical facts and realities.
As a Kogite, the writer has a right to be concerned about developments in his home state, but nothing happened in the political clime of Kogi to warrant the choice of words and description of Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello as Maji Isah would want the world to believe. The use of despicable terms to qualify the modest achievements of the All Progressives Congress in the state is uncharitable and antithetic to fair commentary.
From the first paragraph to the last, the writer laboured, albeit unsuccessfully, to give the impression that Governor Bello is incompetent to superintend the affairs of Kogi State. We are sure that even his paymasters would not find that sufficiently flattering.
It is, therefore, unfortunate that the Yahaya Bello –led New Direction administration is being drawn into a situation where it will be forced to take time out from his heavy schedule to respond to what are clearly very annoying allegations. This is why as a youth group we have elected to deal with this and set the records straight.
However, having chosen the path of accountability as an important plank of his governance philosophy, Governor Bello must continue to bear the cross of making explanations anytime attempts are made at the very heart of his administration’s credibility.
It is unfortunate that one of the regular crosses of good people of purpose is that they often have to contend with multifarious interests who labour, day and night, to scoop-up mud and throw at the good people. 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.
As an intellectual cum socio-cultural group that believes in good governance, we advise the Bello led administration not to waste the time and resources which they should devote to the people, in responding to scoundrels, whose stock in trade is smearing the good attempts of his administration which has outclassed Maji Isah’s sponsors in every department of human affairs, but it has become imperative to let all doubting Thomases why the Igalas will re-elect Governor Yahaya Bello.
Governor Yahaya Bello has in the last four years left development imprints in Kogi State that are difficult to ignore. His chosen areas of priority, namely Education, Health, Agriculture, infrastructural development and social security have seen progressive achievements. His accomplishments have been attributed largely to prudent and judicious application of funds, visionary planning and consistency in policy implementation.
As a politician of prodigious hue, Bello has demystified power and the act of governance. He has introduced initiatives that are novel in the history of political leadership in Nigeria.
A lot of work has been done in the educational sector. The provision of instructional materials in schools and renovation of dilapidated structures is remarkable. The equal treatment to all students regardless of students’ state of origin in Kogi schools has become an embarrassment for those who still discriminate on the basis of the state of origin.
Yahaya Bello has equally addressed challenges in the health sector. The implementation of free medical care for children between the ages of 0-5 and for the aged has come to stay. The ripple effect of this on the psyche of the populace cannot be over-emphasized.
What is more? For his administration in Kogi State, everybody resident here is a Kogite and enjoys every amenity or provision of the government without discrimination. The concept of the state of origin does not exist. This is why it is shameful that some losers have resorted to playing the ethnic card as the only way they can remain relevant.
It is for the detribalized nature of the Governor that his Chief of Staff, Chief Edward Onoja plays a very important role in the current administration. The upgrade of traditional rulers across the state speaks volumes about his public spiritedness and respect for the traditional institution.
The restoration and revival of the age-long cultural festivals after it was banned 63 years ago by colonial masters has not only gained significant support but has served as an instrument through which the people get to know their culture. The gesture has been described in several quarters as a welcomed development since we all have a responsibility to transfer to future generations the philosophy of our founding fathers, who sacrificed so much so that we could enjoy the fruits of liberty.
Comrade Maji Isah should know that writing without facts is the worst crime in journalism. What manner of ethics is embedded in this assumption for instance: ‘governance has been reduced to child’s play in Kogi State, health systems have collapsed, education is at the lowest ebbs, infrastructures are decaying, living standards can not be measured anymore, people are dying, hunger is walking naked on the streets of Kogi State and yet, they were enough resources to change the story of Kogi State positively under Yahaya Bello but squandered for lack of experience and youthful exuberance”? Shouldn’t Comrade Isah have scant evidence before going to town with wild allegations? There’s definitely no truth in the allegations and we challenge the writer to prove his unsubstantiated allegations.
Suffice it to add that the current administration under the able leadership of the Governor Yahaya Bello is almost on auto-pilot and we know that the Igala nation would not join any disgruntled force to put a spanner in the works. God Almighty decides who rules and Comrade Isah’s paymasters know that if God wills, He would thrust them with higher responsibilities at his appointed time.
Comrade Maji Isah should know that all the dramatis personae in the Kogi State political arena are from one large political family, irrespective of their ethnic group or religious belief. A house divided against itself cannot stand and the articles of faith binding us all together as Kogites would not allow us to hurt one another. We the people of Kogi state are better together and we should not trade this off for whatever interest we choose to serve.
Enemali James Oguche,President, Igala Professionals in Nigeria writes from Ankpa