It is open knowledge that the collective fate of the people of Kogi State is in the vice grip of the Governor, Yahaya Bello, who’s hellbent on polarizing the delicate fabrics that glue the people of the state together regardless of tribe, religion, and creed.
It’s unthinkable that a man who was helped to power in 2015 by providential intervention and also re-elected for a second term through the concerted efforts of the people across the three different senatorial districts of the state could suddenly turn around to playing god by insisting that only his kinsman of the same ancestral linkage is fit enough to succeed him as governor.
The governor’s latest action of imposing an Ebira man as the gubernatorial candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has undoubtedly exhumed the politics of ethnic chauvinism, tribal bigotry, intolerance, and rabid tribalism that one had thought were relics of the atavistic past that Kogi was once marooned in.
By virtue of the plural configuration of the state, the next governor of the state should, as a matter of necessity, fairness, and equity, come from either Kogi East or West since the incumbent governor, who’ll be completing his eight years in office, is from Kogi Central. The governor’s attempt at a third term in office through a provincial surrogate of his is, therefore, not only against the state’s diversity, it stands logic on its head, is culturally insensitive, divisive, totally inhumane, and ungodly.
While the governor may have hijacked the APC to perpetuate his evil machinations, the people must take it upon themselves to rescue the state from his hands by stopping him in his tracks before it is too late by every politically legitimate means in the forthcoming governorship election. Otherwise, there is a high probability that if he succeeds in enforcing his sinister and obnoxious third-term agenda through a robotic lackey disguised as an ethnic (Ebira) battle against the others (Igala, Okun, Nupe, Bassa), he’ll turn the entire state into his fiefdom through the deployment of coercion, divide and rule tactics, and a carrot and stick approach.
Against the foregoing, therefore, the next governorship election in the state should be considered by all rational and fair-minded citizens of the state as a liberation struggle that requires men of sterner stuff and sterling characters endowed with the necessary political and material wherewithal to lead and coordinate, for Governor Bello is not a small nut to crack when it comes to winning elections through dubiety and other shady subterranean means.
Besides the struggle being that of liberation from primitivism, state-orchestrated divisiveness, and rabid ethnic chauvinism, it is also a struggle to halt the monopolization of state power and capture by Governor Bello for the advancement of his parochial interests and self-aggrandizement.
No one is in doubt that Kogi State is at a critical juncture that demands radical intervention to save it from the greed and visionlessness of the incumbent governor. There’s no one among the array of contestants across all the participating political parties ahead of the election who can lead the battle and get us to the promised land other than the battle-tested general, Rear Admiral Jibrin Usman(rtd).
Admiral Usman is the candidate of the Accord Party, and he is the candidate to beat because, apart from having the necessary gravitas and wherewithal to confront the behemoth that Governor Bello has transformed himself into, he is also not someone who cannot be cowed, intimidated, or bamboozled by the state government either directly or indirectly, having been to war and fought on the land and in the water to keep Nigeria from criminal forces from within and without.
The platform (Accord Party) on which he has chosen to run is also quite symbolic in the sense that the battle to stop Governor Bello’s lackey from succeeding him requires all the people to be in one accord and on the same page, for a house divided against itself will always fall. The governor will exploit any division in the ranks of the people to actualize his selfish ambition.
What is Admiral Usman bringing to the table that makes him stand out among those jostling to succeed the White Lion? He is bringing his cosmopolitanism and the varied experiences he has acquired over the years during his naval career to help repurpose and redirect governance in the state for effective service delivery to meet the yearnings and collective aspirations of the long-suffering people of the state.
He has a track record of stellar achievements that testify eloquently to his enthralling stewardship as a naval chief, which will be readily deployed to help urgently transition the state from its present peasantry to an economic hub in the north-central business corridor by leveraging the vast human and natural endowments of the state as well as its proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The capacity of Admiral Usman for excellent service delivery and organic leadership is not in doubt. It is also settled that he is the best candidate to take over the reins of power in the next administration. However, he won’t make himself governor, especially against the apparent desperation of Governor Bello to plant his top dog as his successor so that he can continue to remote-control him to actualize his evil agenda.
To deliver the state from the hands of the White Lion, people must shun ethnic chauvinism and divisive tactics and abandon the age-long primordial battle for ethnic supremacy. The urgent task is to stop Governor Bello from elongating himself in power through the back door. And the best way to do that is to elect Admiral Usman, who is neither blinded by extreme political partisanship nor handicapped by ethnic nationalism.