KOGI STATE GOV. YAHAYA BELLO AND EDWARD ONOJA: TWO FRIENDS HAVING FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS.
I sat down to think of so many things as the year 2016 is winding up and the issue of Kogi State hurriedly came into my mind. All has not been too well with state and the the reason for the many setbacks the state is facing is to be traced at present to two characters: the governor and his over rated and exalted Chief of Staff.
Idiomatically, we were told that birds of the same feather flock together. I have always believed that the idiom is meant to depict the characters and traits of two or more friends and for now I know that I am not in anyway wrong at my submission.
The arrival of Yahaya Bello was very much welcomed by many that wanted change in the governance of Kogi State. Miraculously, the mantle of leadership was handed over to Yahaya Bello by an act of the Supreme Being. The governor quickly at his inauguration ceremony that many big shots in the All Progressive Congress (APC) turned their backs at named Edward Onoja as his Chief of Staff. So many people frowned at the governor’s choice of a Chief of Staff but to me till today I see no reason why people should complain about the governor’s decision because two birds of same feather flock together.
The friendship between Yahaya Bello and Edward Onoja is what I will liken to the one that existed between the biblical David and Jonathan. King Saul, the tallest man then in the land of Israel was the father of Jonathan and he was found guilty in the sight of God when he refused to utterly destroy the Amalekites as ordered by God. He out of his volition that negated the word of God spared Agag the Amalekite king and some fattened oxen and this vexed God. Now, before this act of gross disobedience by Saul, David the smallest of Jesse’s children had used his sling to kill Goliath, the giant that stood tall and powerful to threaten the Israelites army. This act of bravery made women in the land of Israel to sing David’s praise and Jonathan also fell for David. He removed his princely robe and wore it for David. This was indeed a strange act. To me, Jonathan conferred kingship on David even before God sent Samuel to secretly anoint David as king. Jonathan went ahead to tell David that he knows God has given him the leadership of Israel even when Saul his father was still hale and hearty as king. Their friendship was a very wonderful one that friends today should emulate. They were not caught in any homosexual act, they never stole the people’s offerings, they never had quarrel for once. The sad story however is that Jonathan died with his father on Mount Gilboa when they went to wage war against an enemy nation and that was how David lost a bona fide friend in Jonathan but his ascendancy to the throne as prophesied by Prophet Samuel and desired by Jonathan instantly became a reality.
Edward Onoja and Yahaya Bello are two birds having a good and bad sides. They are bats. They are chameleons. Onoja can be likened to the biblical Jonathan who saw David (Yahaya Bello) taking over the mantle of leadership in the land of Israel (Kogi State). Onoja followed Yahaya Bello step by step until his friend eventually became the governor. I would not know the extent of the do’s and dont’s they must have engaged in as friends but permit me to say that their friendship is intimate. Yahaya Bello was right for making Edward Onoja his Chief of Staff. He did that to show his appreciation to a friend who is not even from the same place with him but followed him all through to actualise his dream. He wanted the relationship cemented and I support him on this. If you are still in doubt it is good you ask yourself what David would have made Jonathan had he been alive to see David become king in Israel. Lest we forget, when David was fully established as king in the land of Israel because of Jonathan his late friend he asked if anyone was left in the lineage of king Saul and only the lame Mephiboshet was reported left. David the king not minding the deformity of Mephiboshet invited him to dine at the king’s table. Will you then blame Yahaya Bello for making Edward Onoja his right hand man? The fundamental problem with the two that is, Yahaya Bello and Edward Onoja is that they have dragged Kogi State in her present static condition by allowing the disobedience of king Saul to be part of their leadership package in Kogi state. God brought them to salvage Kogi state but they have decided to go the devil’s way thinking nobody can question them. Almost all cabinet members are getting married while some are remembering their father’s burial date every month as they know money will be doled out by the generous digital governor. It will be good for Yahaya Bello to start asking himself if these men and women he has around himself will be able to win their wards for him come 2019. Some of them may be advising you now that money will win the race by the next election but the truth remains that money is not everything especially now that the hearts of many of the electorates have been made bitter by the haphazardly done screening exercise.
The idea of the screening exercise was indeed a wonderful one. Jokes apart, ghost workers abound in Kogi State. Some good for nothing hippopotamus looking politicians really messed up the state before Yahaya Bello came on board. Sanitising the state was the first thing to be done but the governor went off the hooks as he made frantic efforts to remove ghost workers. Some genuine workers today are still to be paid their salaries and yet the governor and his cabinet keep on telling the whole world that all debts has been declared that only ghost workers are the ones nagging. It is so pathetic that some people who started as civil servants in the then Kwara state before the emergence of Kogi state and before Yahaya Bello was even born are now presently seen as ghost workers. Many celebrated the Islamic and Christian festivals without a farthing in their pockets. The Yahaya Bello they celebrated has suddenly become a bone in their necks. What a pity!
Yahaya Bello has allowed himself to be surrounded with sycophants and I see him as also under a spell. How can the governor referred to as the “Digital Governor” fail to compute the digital salary of his people? What is even digital about Yahaya Bello? Is it his stubbornness and flamboyant style of living that is digital? Is it his cabinet that is digital? Take a look at his Director General, Protocol; it is a shame to have placed a square peg in a round hole. Asuku Abdudulkareem the DG, Protocol read Pharmacy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. I know what it took him to have studied Pharmacy as a course. He is brilliant but it is a disaster for the governor to have made him his Director of Protocol. His English is disjointed. He lacks creativity in speech making especially when introducing this digital governor at events. Or is it Petra Akinti Onyegbule that the governor erroneously made his Chief Press Secretary that digital about Yahaya Bello? Petra, as I was made to understand read Sociology from Kogi State University, Anyigba. The only course that has to do with Mass Communication in Sociology is Sociology of Mass Communication. How can a Sociologist be made a Chief Press Secretary to a state governor? This is the more reason she does not know the ethics of Journalism at all. She insults people who places contrary views about her posts concerning the state on the social media. To her, her views must be taken hook, line and sinker and if not anybody writing something contrary must be insulted. She fails to understand that her principal must be criticised and she must always have a shock absorber to know how to manage the criticisms of the people which is always not far from the truth about this government. The non preaching Evangelist Kingsley Fanwo should please come to the aid of Petra for she is a person I have nothing against save for her abusive comments most times. What is digital about the Commissioner of Environment? Rosemary Ojochenemi Ameh is a write off. Lokoja is still as it has been from the Lord Lugard days. The state capital is littered with debris everywhere. She is not even creative enough to use such to make money for the state through that. She thinks flying to Ecuador is what makes her a Commissioner of Environment. And what is even the work of this tribal mark designed face of Nda Aaron? He is always everywhere like the ubiquitous mosquito posting assorted pictures of government functions with badly written English that will make Prof. Wole Soyinka grow sick. This is to tell you that Yahaya Bello’s government lacks direction even if it is tagged a new direction government. His media team is so poor. Everybody is a paparazzi, everybody writes in his or her own way because everybody wants to be digital. The cabinet needs a total overhauling and Bello should make sure he uses the right hands to replace them if not…
Back to Edward Onoja and Yahaya Bello, these two must separate for the state to move forward. As close as David and Jonathan were they had to part ways before Israel could move forward. They both have a mindset that is devilish and anti-mercy. It is possible for one out of the two to be good but the evil of the other has totally rubbed on the other. The activities of Edward Onoja has made people all over Nigeria to ask if Kogi state is having two governors. Yahaya Bello can share six million naira and two brand new cars for two renowned masquerades in Ebiraland while Onoja can share close to seven million naira with hundreds bags of rice in his domain without any of them batting an eyelid. Is this money lavished on nonsense not enough to pay junior staff salaries in the state? Why has the heart of this duo been smeared with iron? The Edward Onoja people in government is more than the sand in the seashore. The wickedness in him made him (Onoja) to make transport available to only his people at the airport when the Kogi state Jerusalem pilgrims returned from the Holy Land, others were left stranded because they had no Onoja in their family. What a shame. The most pitiable thing is that some some stupid and gullible youths feeding lean on the crumbs dropping from Yahaya Bello’s table still go about singing his praises and ready to fight anyone that dare say anything negative about this direction less government.
Where are the elders of our land? Why have they maintained sealed lips seeing Yahaya Bello and Edward Onoja taking us to a land of no return? The only elder standing to lock horns with Yahaya Bello is Joseph Ozigi Akomodi. The man is indeed a lion. He has guts and loves his people to a fault. When Bello was contesting for the guber race, he had questioned his source of wealth and the credibility of his character to lead the people of Kogi state. When he eventually became governor, Akomodi continued his criticism of Yahaya Bello till date. Akomodi is not criticising Yahaya Bello out of hatred. If I may ask, what can Yahaya Bello drag with an Akomodi that has his name written in the yellow pages of the United States of America? He is an intelligent educationist who we all know as a bookworm. He made his money genuinely and never swindled anyone. For an elder as Akomodi who hails from the same place with him to be having bitter complaints about Yahaya Bello means the governor is already on the wrong path. He does not want to be in the camp of an elder like Tom Adaba who is so close to the governor but economical with the truth. Akomodi’s wife was part of those who campaigned and funded Yahaya Bello’s election. Akomodi despite his criticism of Yahaya Bello’s government still allowed his wife to travel down all the way from the United States to see the governor and be part of his cabinet only for them to mess her up after embarking on such a long trip. The digital governor was not available to see her and she will have to go back and come later as if the United States is a stone throw from Nigeria. I want to encourage Akomodi and Austin Okai to go on with their criticism of Yahaya Bello so long it is a healthy and truthful one. One thing Yahaya Bello fails to understand is that it is still the people he rallied round himself that comes out to tell the public his many undoings as governor. Most of the information we get is right from the so called Yahaya Bello’s people.
Lastly, I am done with Edward Onoja but not with Yahaya Bello. I see the governor as one young man that will come and change the state but he has for these eleven months behaved so incapable as a governor. Remember it is just four years. Even if by mistake you win a second term you will still leave there one day. The likes of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe and Yahya Jammeh, Gambia will one day leave office. Today, where is Samuel Doe? Where Mommar Ghaddafi? Where is Gen. Sani Abacha that wears a semblance of the dark glasses you now wear? Where is the Prince Abubakar Audu that painstakingly pound this yam for you to eat today? You may make people coil to their shell by arresting whoever talks ill about your maradonic style of leadership but one day, you will leave office. What will people say about you? Will the children of those you wickedly tagged their parents as ghost workers forgive you? Will they even vote for you again? Is the spirit of your late father happy with you in his grave? Is your living mother really aware of your bad attitude as the governor of the state? Do you have the listening ear to allow people talk to you? Who are your spiritual leaders? You said you read some books written by W.F. Kumuyi, is he the one that taught you to practice unrighteousness after reading that righteous man’s book(s)? My greatest fear for you is that one day, you will stand before God to give account of all your deeds. Onoja’s case will not be used to define yours. He will also answer for himself. That day, you will see the faces of those that died on their way coming from the screening exercise you initiated and they could not live to collect their salaries. That day, God will show you the real list of Kogi state’s genuine workers that you defined as ghost workers. Every evil you have done in the secret will be made visible to all and sundry that day. Yahaya Bello, make hay while the sun shines. Go back to your room and lock yourself up in vehement prayers. Ask for forgiveness from your Maker in anyway you think you have wronged Him and humanity. Dissociate yourself from every relationship or association that has made you not to see the evil surrounding your government. Take a new track and path because this one day is coming and it may be within a twinkling of an eye. May God help you to retrace your steps in a hurry. I wish you good luck in governance and hoping to see you come out unscathed at the end of the day. Thanks.
Rekiya Adams is based in London and on holidays in Lokoja, Nigeria.