Letter To Kogi State Gov. Yahaya Bello | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Columnists, The Roundtable

Letter To Kogi State Gov. Yahaya Bello

Posted: Feb 17, 2016 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

ROUNDTABLEOn Wednesday, 27th January, 2016, Nigerians and the world at large watched as the Kogi State Chief Judge, Justice Nasiru Ajana, administered the oath of office on you. Congratulations are quite in order. The event was historic in many respects. First, regardless of the outcomes of the various suits pending against you, at 41 you have entered the record books as the youngest state governor in Nigeria.

You are also the first ever governor to emerge solely on the basis of an inconsequential supplementary election after the presumed winner of the election, Prince Abubakar Audu, died before the election could be concluded. Furthermore, you are the first governor from outside the Igala enclave that has dominated the position since the creation of the state more than 20 years ago.

Your emotion-laden inaugural speech was very well delivered. There was a moment when your teary-eyed delivery tugged at my heart strings and almost caused me to shed a few tears of my own. You gave full credit to the likes of the demised Prince Abubakar Audu, your late father, mother and national leader of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu, among others. You concluded by pledging to model your administration after that of President Muhammadu Buhari by way of maintaining a zero tolerance for corruption.

But despite all the braggadocio and pomp and pageantry, I am fully persuaded that you know within the deepest recesses of your heart that it is not yet uhuru for you. Your party, the APC, is split right down the middle. Proof of this unsavoury situation is majorly provided by the fact that your Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)-recognized deputy, James Abiodun Faleke, chose to go on AWOL (absent without official leave) rather than be seen at the main bowl of the Confluence Stadium in Lokoja, venue of your inauguration.


This has equally created another record for you as the first ever governor to swear a first-time oath of office without a deputy. Talk of an intending husband being joined at the altar in holy matrimony by a priest without a bride by his side! See what I mean? It is a trite saying that a house divided against itself cannot stand. That is why it would be very impudent of you to swallow hook, line and sinker the counsel of hawkish advisers in your kitchen cabinet who say you can use strong-arm tactics and ‘bold face’ to steer the ship of your state to safe harbor.

Yes, you rightly paid tribute to late Prince Abubakar Audu who you described as an ‘icon’ whose foresight and doggedness paved the way for the electoral victory you and your associates now savour and celebrate. But this was expected; and not too many supporters of Audu are convinced of your sincerity. Your excellency, I hate to reopen old wounds but if you are to make any progress in governance you must be prepared to exorcise vengeance-seeking ghosts from the immediate past and present continuous.

They say action speaks louder than words. When Audu emerged victorious at the party governorship primary, you were totally incensed. You were so angry that you accused the national leadership of your party of underhand dealings and sought to nullify his victory by instituting a law suit at a Lokoja high court. You were also seen as the hand of Esau behind the voice of Jacob that desperately tried to make Audu’s candidacy dead-on-arrival with extensive slash-and-burn advertorials anchored on an EFCC-instituted multi-billion naira corruption case hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles.

When your suit against Audu and the APC was summarily dismissed, you petulantly walked away from everything involving the party. You never participated in any of the campaigns held by the man you now eulogize as a trailblazing ‘icon.’ It was even said that on each of the three occasions Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo came to the state to add muscle to the efforts of the Audu/Faleke Campaign Organisation you allegedly refused to have a change of heart and show up on the hustings. Your traducers say that conclusive proof of your anti-party stance is evidenced by the loss of your unit, ward and local government area to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), then Governor Idris Wada.

I say all this just for you to appreciate why many APC members and supporters in your state are wondering why instead of sanctioning or punishing you for ‘incontrovertible’ anti-party activities you were rewarded by the national leadership. Your attitude and pronouncements before and during the governorship election have caused considerable rancour in your party and the healing process must not start and stop with few sugar-coated statements powered by the passion of a giddy moment.

Apart from the opposition within your own political party there is also the determination of the PDP to make your tenure a short-lived one. The opposition party has not only described your inauguration as “a comical event,” but it has also called you a “shadow-chasing passerby on an excursion in Kogi State Government House.”

It would seem to me that the estranged James Faleke holds all the aces and it would do you and your party a lot of good by negotiating a win-win agreement with the Faleke/Prince Mohammed Audu camp. The party’s knee-jerk choice has boxed Faleke into a very tight corner. As much as he may want to, he cannot now accept to be sworn in as your deputy without being accused of being a ‘Judas’ by members of his group. If he chooses to bow to unrelenting pressure and agrees to be your sidekick he would be unable to live with his conscience (he does not sound or behave like the typical mercantilist Nigerian politician) and he can as well kiss goodbye to his burgeoning political stock among members of the dominant Igala tribe.
Your excellency, your emergence has gifted Kogites a fortuitous opportunity to build a united state where all three senatorial zones can produce a governor in a rotation mode. My candid advice to you is not to pay any serious attention to those egging you on to ‘carry go and nothing will happen.’ Truth’s that what goes around comes around. The Law of Karma emphasizes that we can only harvest whatever we sow. Earlier on, you planted the wind of non-cooperation with the winner of your party governorship primary and you must reap the whirlwind of discord and treachery unless you are humble and remorseful enough to sincerely pacify the Audu/Faleke camp.

So as not to inadvertently make your nice inaugural speech sound like mere ‘noise for vendor mouth’ (apologies, Fela), you must immediately match your words with the following actions: (1) Accede a top-notch commissionership of his choosing to Prince Mohammed Audu along with a guaranteed minimum tenure of two years; and (2) Commence the process of re-engineering the leadership of the state House of Assembly to birth a legislator of Igala stock as the Speaker. I am fully persuaded that once Faleke is provided such soft landing he would r eadily accept to be your deputy and members of your party and Kogites will live happily ever after.
Sincerely yours, Tiko