*Both men are from minority groups
From Shaibu Stephen Ojate
Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello shares some political similarities with erstwhile President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Both rose to power by providence. Goodluck Jonathan became the President of Nigeria through the death of his principal, late Musa Yar dua while Alhaji Yahaya Bello became the Governor of Kogi State with the death of All Progressive Congress (APC’s) candidate, late Prince Abubakar Audu.
Another glaring similarity between Goodluck Jonathan and Alhaji Yahaya Bello is that the duo came from political minority ethnic groups in Nigeria. Whilst Goodluck Jonathan hails from the Niger Delta region, a place that never produced President since Nigeria’s independence, Alhaji Yahaya Bello equally hails from Kogi central, a senatorial district that never produced the Governor of the state since its creation.
Recall that the coming on board of Goodluck Jonathan as President of Nigeria was heralded with fanfare and so also Alhaji Yahaya Bello as Kogi State Governor who was greeted with goodwill immediately he was sworn-in. The mammoth crowd observed during the first coming of the Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to his home town, Okene, led credence to the long thirst of Kogi central people on the long awaited clamour for power shift for the dream come true.
It will interest people to note that the goodwill enjoyed by the former President Goodluck Jonathan did not last to the end of his tenure. Thus, his inability to tame the boko haram made many people to lose confidence on his administration. The uprising security insurgency worked against him at the election as that forms the center point of All Progressive Congress’ campaign.
With that, Nigerians had no option than to queue behind the APC Presidential Candidate, General Muhammad Buhari who promised to send the muster (Boko Haram) packing from the country. This was one of the reasons why former President Goodluck Jonathan lost at the General election. He was booted out not because he came from minority ethnic group but owing to his inability to do the needful at the right time.
Thus, similar thing is presently playing itself in Kogi State where a Governor from minority ethnic group is playing on the intelligence of Workers on the issue of salary payment. Today, many people even right from the Governor’s senatorial district are now disenchanted on the style of his administration prompting many to hate on him on backlog of unpaid salaries to workers.
Kogi State now made news in National daily headline and this is not because of good thing but the only State in Nigeria that owed workers salary to the tune of twelve months. The question on the lips of many is that, what has the Governor made do with the monthly federal allocations, bail-out funds and Paris Club refund fund disbursed to all States of the federation warranting our State to take the back seat on the issue of salary payment?
Even though the Governor is presumed by his hailers and political jobbers that he is doing well in the area of infrastructural development, I must be understood that people must eat to live to enjoy the social amenities.
With the salary palaver in the State, APC is divided against itself. Some are with the Governor while the likes of APC Party Chairman alongside with Dino Melaye, James Faleke and host of others formed a parallel opposition within the party. Recall that this similar scenario had played itself during President Jonathan administration where the like of Governor Amaechi, Senator Saraki formed a parallel opposition in PDP which later culminated to their defection to All Progressive Congress.
One could remember what happened then. President Jonathan paid dearly for his inaction to do the needful for the society and properly manage members of his party prior to the general election. With the above narration, is there any lesson Governor Bello can learn from Goodluck Jonathan’s experience? Well, time shall tell.
Shaibu Stephen Ojate is a public affairs commentator and Journalist writes from Abuja. He is on Facebook and also reachable via phone number 08052666344 or 09075716236