“What Kogi people need now is good governance and not political tussle.”
After the political and constitutional imbroglio that rocked the polity of Kogi State soon after the Supreme Court declared the tenure of some state governors, including the former Governor of Kogi State, Ibrahim Idris, illegal, after they stayed beyond the constitutionally mandated period, one would have expected the actors in the entire drama to settle down to business and provide the much needed governance the state direly needs.
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Bello Abdullahi, had on the vacation of Alhaji Ibrahim Idris assumed the position of Acting Governor as constitutionally guaranteed on one hand, while the incumbent, Capt Idris Wada on the other hand took oath of office to begin his tenure following his election to take over from Alhaji Ibrahim Idris. Both men were sworn-in by two different judicial officers in the state, a situation that heated the polity. It took the pronouncement of INEC to declare Captain Wada as the person qualified to mount the leadership of the state. How INEC arrived at that conclusion is a subject of another debate.
The issue however is that almost a year after the unfortunate incidence; the crisis that stemmed from that constitutional pronouncement of the Supreme Court has continued to deepen in the state.
A scenario that played out most likely as a fall out of that crisis is the impeachment of the Speaker and other principal officers of the State House of Assembly by 13 out of the 25 members of the House whereas, the two-third majority would have consisted of 17 members. Observers say the development may have been influenced by the executive arm of government which was accused in some quarters of bribing some lawmakers with N15 million each to impeach Bello and other principal officers of the House.
One month after the purported impeachment, none of the speakers purportedly impeached or installed by the 13 members, who carried out the impeachment, were able hold sittings as constitutionally required. Though, it is a house that over the years has proved to be a rubber stamp in the hand of the Executive, their functions in a democratic setting cannot still be over-emphasized. The resultant effect of their absence to perform the roles guaranteed by the constitution is that the state and its inhabitants suffer. It’s the case of a suffering grass, while two elephants fight.
Kogi State is one state that has been so unfortunate in terms of leadership and the delivery of good governance. Former Governor Abubakar Audu was voted out of office because of his high handedness and demi-god nature, but today Audu’s achievements, as skewed as they were, have become the yard stick for measuring the performance of successive administration. The over 8 years of Ibrahim Idris was a monumental waste. There is little or no meaningful development on ground to justify the huge allocation that trickled in from the federation account for the entire period he stayed in office.
As if that was not enough, the incumbent Governor in person of Captain Idris Wada seems to have toed the same line. The expectation was that his coming would bring renewed vigour in governance for the state that has become so backward compared to the others created at the same time with it, but 10 months after, there is nothing on ground to show that there is governance in the state. Some will quickly point out the fact that 10 months is too short a period to access the success of an administration, but 10 months is not too short to see concrete plans that will be implemented over the remaining period of his tenure.
Take a trip to Lokoja, the capital of the state; you will be ashamed to be associated with it if you are an indigene. The streets are littered with wastes of all sorts and the major roads in the town are filled with pot holes wide enough to serve as swimming pools, but more importantly as established death trap and eye sore to road users. These are roads that connect travelers from both the western and southern states to the north. What interpretation does the state government expect outsiders to make out of such sceneries?
As it is with the road, so it applies to other sectors of the economy. Education, Health, infrastructural development and employment generation are all begging for attention, but none is forth coming. One can imagine what the Local government Areas, wards and villages would look like if the state capital can be seen in such state.
Let’s set the record straight. Most of the decay like the road for example were actually constructed or rehabilitated by the immediate past Governor which did not even outlive his tenure before they began to deteriorate due largely to shoddy work, but one would have expected the present administration to fill the pot holes as a short term measure, while plans are made for them to either be rehabilitated or reconstructed, but none of such has got the attention of the government. Rather, it has pre-occupied itself with how to settle political scores and deal with perceived political enemies.
Only recently, an online journalist, who pioneered and administers a facebook page meant to serve as a rallying ground for Kogi youth and others alike to chart way for the growth and development of the state was arrested and locked up alongside his wife for daring to write an open letter to the Governor on the lingering political crisis in the state and suggestions on the way forward. This is after he was allegedly threatened over the phone and his home visited with thugs. He was said to have been beaten and bungled into a waiting bus on the instruction of a daughter to the state governor. It took the spirited efforts of some individuals and the fulfillment of certain undemocratic conditions before he was eventually released; still, they are hell bent on dealing with the young man who merely proffered a way forward to the lingering political crisis in the state.
One is tempted to ask if this is what leadership entails? Is this how the administration of Captain Idris Wada plans to move the state forward and most importantly provide the much needed democracy dividends to the people?
My candid advice and plea to all political actors in the state, especially those currently involved in the lingering crisis that has engulfed it is to sheath their swords, put away selfish interest and work towards the betterment of the citizens. The onus falls mainly on the State Governor, Capt Idris Wada, who by virtue of being the Governor becomes the father to all in the state. He needs to forgive whatever wrongs he feels might have been done to him and bring all stakeholders to a roundtable so that the way forward can be charted. What Kogi people need now is good governance and not political tussle.
Long Live Kogi State. Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I am @abusidiqu on twitter