Some of us concerned Kogi State indigenes found strange the tactics of coercion, of all the traditional leaders of the entire 21 LGAs, to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on a political pilgrimage of sorts, only to beg for presidential endorsement for Governor Yahaya Bello’s second term bid.
Firstly, any endorsement from Mr. President on Bello’s re-election, is frankly, an endorsement of continued poverty. It begs the question: Why is the governor so desperate, to the point of coercing our revered traditional leaders to meet with the President?
When other APC governors were looking for second terms, none of them mobilized traditional leaders from each and every LGA of their various states to anywhere. But we are guessing that, out of fear, they oblige to the whims and caprices of the governor, even as they all understand the fact that he doesn’t deserve a second term.
Where else in the world will this happen, if not in Nigeria, where in a democratic setting where 21 traditional royal fathers are dragged into such a shallow political miscalculation? Interestingly, Kogi currently has a plethora of aspirants jostling for the office of governor both within APC and other parties, while the supposedly neutral traditional institutions are being ferried to Abuja to pass a vote of confidence on a governor who doesn’t deserve that vote. It certainly speaks volumes of the extent of intimidation and pressure being applied on our royal fathers in the past three years.
It bothers every right-thinking Kogi citizen, and Nigerians by extension, how a governor who claims to have performed ‘wonderfully well’ since he came on board, needs the interface of the royal fathers before the president? This absolutely not good for us now, and future generations, considering our valued esteem for our revered royalty.
Our position remains that of the fact, that Governor Bello doesn’t place the royal fathers in their abode of respect. Are the royal fathers members of his political party? No governor in history has attempted this before. Royal institutions are known to be custodians and champions of neutrality, so why is the governor now trying to configure royal institution into an arm, or agency, of his political party? Or so embarrassing!
It is necessary to once again draw the attention of President Buhari to this glaring and painful fact, staring the face of Kogi citizens since the inception of the Bello-led administration, that even the royal fathers themselves are deeply and negatively affected by what has been unfolding, and is currently happening, in the state. They are aware that our governor is owing salaries and pensioners ranging from 12 to 36 months, in spite of bailout funds, the Paris refund, monthly allocations, and other intervention funds received. No project has been commissioned by you, Mr. President, for over three years now since Bello became governor of Kogi State. If anything, our dear state has become a hell on earth for the hard-working and dedicated citizens since his emergence. As we speak, the royal fathers themselves are being owed allowances and salaries for many months. We want you, Mr. President, to know that their coming to Abuja is not in the interest of the good people of Kogi State, and is done out of fear of harassment. Therefore, sir, we urge you to send an independent team down to Kogi State, to ascertain the truth of the people’s status, and take a position between what you will be told by the traditional leaders, and what the masses who directly feel the heat of mis-governance will narrate.
We are bold to reiterate that any endorsement of Governor Bello for another term amounts to endorsing more poverty and misery for the good people of Kogi State. We have suffered enough, so we appeal to you, Mr. President, to look elsewhere. After all, how many APC second-term-seeking governors have coerced every single one of their royal fathers, to emerge as candidates? The answer is none.
Abdulrahman Y. Bello wrote in from Lokoja, Kogi State