Their similarities are many, and if the report we have received is to be believed, both men shall share another similarity.
During the administration of Late Engr. Abdullkadir Kure, the civil servants under NLC bought a ram, assembled and marched to the Eid ground in Minna. Like a scene out of a Kannywood movie, these people turned their clothes inside-out, placed a knife in a fire till it turned completely red, and prayed against the administration of the Late Governor.
Today we all remember Engr. Kure differently but the meeting ground, the point we have formed a consensus on, is that he was a Governor honest in his dealings, and this was why the NLC led their members to perform such a bizarre act against him.
History came full circle and today Kure is fondly remembered by Nigerlites and, surprisingly, even by the same set of people who participated in that evil prayer against him. They own the loudest voices chanting Kure was the best thing that has ever happened to Niger state. Their change of heart and repentance could have been sincere for it was said that some of them even fasted for 3 days seeking forgiveness.
It is Muhammadu Buhari once said, We are all children of history and sometimes, we are prisoners of it as well. That is why we were not at all surprised when reports reached me personally that some state civil servants are again about to be misled into performing against Governor Bello the same bizarre act they performed—and regretted—against Governor Kure.
To add a little credibility to this misguided action this time, they are not only concerned for the welfare of civil servants but also the insecurity in parts of the state. They are aware of the true position of the state’s finances and know people won’t support them, hence the need to add insecurity as a concern to attract the goodwill of the public —as though the situation started only yesterday.
What is intriguing is that these people are not accusing the government of lack infrastructural development; because that is glaring for all to see, they are not accusing the government of absence of effort towards provision of clean water; as tangible progress has been actualized, they are not accusing the administration of neglect of the state’s health care; because the state is making progress in that front. They are only accusing Governor Bello of neglect of civil servants welfare.
They pay no mind to the fact that the state has about 30,000 civil servants out of a population of over 5 million people. How is it fair that for the government to commit over 80% of the state’s income to serve 30000 people to the detriment of the over 4 million people?
And before you judge that the 30,000 has a multiplying effect, do not overlook the fact that the roads and hospitals water and the stride towards security is for the benefit of all and definitely has a far-reaching multiplying effect.
Neither are they unaware of the fact that throughout the inception of this administration, a 66 months period, they had to cut back only thrice; sometime in 2016 and twice this year. And the state intends to keep her promise to reimburse the cut. This is simple.
Nor is the NLC unmindful of the fact that the Niger state implemented and pays the full minimum wage, unlike many other Nigerian states.
Let me close this article by advising NLC to not go the road they have gone before and regretted. Do not become prisoners of history, for history does not forgive. Do not be intoxicated by the power you hold now to pray against yourselves for if your prayers for the failure of your own leader were to be accepted, is you, the led, who will pay a terrible price.
Bala Danladi write from Niger state.