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OF ABATI, YAHAYA BELLO AND THE REST OF US By Kingsley Fanwo

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Watching the anger of Dr Reuben Abati, former Presidential Spokesperson in the days of the PDP, was a new take.

Though prolific when armed with the pen, I have always seen Dr. Abati as a gentleman right from his days in The Guardian newspapers.

So watching his angry reaction on Arise TV against the presumptuous feeling that Governor Yahaya Bello would accept the call from millions of Nigerian youth to step out for the 2023 presidency challenge. He got angry that the Governor went to meet with Obasanjo and even as far as alleging that the Governor is moving about like “small pox”.

As unsavoury as those allegations and conclusion are, I want to make bold here that they are not enough to make me lose the respect I have for a pen giant like Reuben Abati.

After all we all have our bad day in office. It was just his bad day and I wont judge him just with that.

I received the video from over a hundred people. Majority of them wanted a fight with Abati. A very few said we should ignore. I have chosen to disappoint both dichotomies of thoughts. I wont fight but I wont ignore.

The Abati moment of judgement offers us an opportunity to enlighten the world about the Kogi magic under Governor Yahaya Bello. Reuben Abati was a victim of his limited knowledge about developments in Kogi State. It is not his fault to be ignorant of what is happening in the state. It is my fault not to have told him and many who share the same line of thought with him. To this end, I say a big thank you to Dr. Reuben Abati for offering yet another opportunity to tell the world about the phenomenal feat of Governor Yahaya Bello.

Kogi shares her borders with ten states, cutting across the South East, South West, South South and many states in the North Central as well as the nation’s seat of power. As advantageous as such nodal opportunities could be, it came with a hard crime nut to crack. Pre-2016, Kogi State was home to kidnappers, dare-devil armed robbers and hired assasins.

To make the matter worse, Islamic extremism found its way into the State. Some of the extremists were trained by the globally dreaded ISIS. And the state became the crime centre of Nigeria. The previous administrations were helpless as the criminals struck with recklessness. The people lost confidence in the capacity of Government to protect them.

On assumption of office in 2016, Governor Yahaya Bello launched a ferocious war on criminals and rejigged the security apparatus of the State. He launched the Kogi Vigilante Service and handed security to the locals. He also empowered security agencies with adequate logistics and motivation to crush criminality in the State

Today, Kogi is one of the safest states in the Federation. A Governor made it happen. A Governor showed commitment to make it happen. A Governor led some of the operations personally. A Governor ensured his people are safe. That Governor is Alh. Yahaya Bello. Security is the peak of performance in governance. Nothing can happen positively without security.

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The Kogi State Yahaya Bello inherited was balkanized along ethnic lines. There was no unity of purpose. A Governor came and ensured the State is united. The Governor didn’t mouth unity. He acted it and today, Kogi is better for it.

From being one of the filthiest capital cities, Lokoja now wears a new look of cleanliness and aesthetic beauty. Through the rejuvenated Kogi State Environmental Protection Agency, Lokoja has become one of the cleanest capitals in Nigeria today.

There cannot be good governance without a conscious effort by Government to get feedback from the people as much as the need for orientation and adequate sensitization on Government policies and programs. The “State Of Kogi” which is a live interactive program on Radio every Monday, is a meeting point between the people of Kogi State and their Government. The program is a testament of Yahaya Bello’s honest relationship with the people he was elected to lead.

Under his leadership, The Graphic became a paper of pride to all Kogites. He also built a magnificent The Graphic House, the biggest and the best for any state-owned newspaper in Nigeria.

No administration in the history of Kogi State has been as transparent and prudent with the management of state resources like the GYB Administration. The World Bank has given Kogi awards and high ratings for her commitment to transparency and accountability.

The administration has shown a pathway to other State Governments on how to deploy digital trainings to equip the youth for excellence. Thousands of youth have been trained on ICT and Digital Resourcefulness, without noise. The various sporting awards and trophies won between 2016 and now in different sports have shown how the Governor has deployed sports to engage the minds of the youth in the State.

Massive water projects across the State, many of which have been completed and put to use , show the loyalty of GYB to the Millennium Development Goals. The multi-billion Water Project at Osara is expected to finally lay to rest, the problem of inadequate water supply to the Central part of the state.

Governor Yahaya Bello will forever be remembered for reforming and repositioning the Public Service of Kogi State. The Service is not only digitalized now, but more efficient. Wages of State Civil Servants are paid regularly.

The Mega Terminal of the State which was commissioned without completion is receiving attention and will be put to use in couple of weeks.

The educational sector inherited in 2016 was in shambles. The Governor quickly prioritized the sector and made it the first of the thematic areas. Today, he has built over 400 blocks of classrooms around the state, fully furnished to make the learning environment attractive. Apart from that, he has turned our citadel of higher education into models for others to copy. To cap it all, the Administration has established the Confluence University of Science and Technology to provide manpower for the Iron and Steel Company at Ajaokuta as well as the ever sprawling industries in the state as a result of the abundant mineral resources.

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As a veteran journalist, Abati should have asked questions about how the State was rated as the one that received the heaviest inflow of investments in the last quarter of 2020. It was because it is a well secured

environment. It was because our tax administration is the most investment friendly in the country. It is because we are the real treasure of the nation.

In the area of Healthcare, Kogi has been rated as one of the best states. Apart from building state of the art hospitals, the State Government has remodeled the existing hospitals. The ongoing Referral Hospital, Okene will be one of the best in the country when completed in the next few months. The State Government is also building new hospitals across the State.

Under the Bello Care program, we have been able to give the indigent access to quality health without paying a dime. We are also one of the very few states to have started operating the National Health Insurance Scheme. The School of Nursing and Midwifery, Obangede as well as the School of Health Technology, Idah are today wearing a new look and have received state of the art facilities to ensure we produce the best health personnel from our health training institutions.

The Governor has been the number one Ambassador of the fight against Malaria. The Governor has been the number one Ambassador in combating Lassa Fever. Abati shouldn’t judge him on the highly controversial Covid-19. Authorities managing Covid-19 are yet to answer the very intelligent questions of the Governor. Bill Gates came out to reecho the intelligent position of the Governor.

Governor Yahaya Bello didn’t say there is no Covid-19. He said the so called pandemic was marketed and over-hyped above diseases that are real killers. He said we should concentrate on improving our hospitals like he is doing in Kogi State. He is saying we should stop hurting our economy because of Covid-19. Those positions are not only intelligent, but patriotic and bold. He has risked a lot to stand on the truth and the world know the truth.

Abati’s position suggests the following conclusions. “Intelligence is measured by one’s gullibility to believe Covid-19 is so so dangerous” , “How can you be President if you don’t believe in Covid-19”. If there is anyone who has displayed a chemistry of brilliance, Intelligence and courage on the issue of Covid-19, that person is Governor Yahaya Bello.

Come to Kogi State and move round Lokoja. You will see the transformation that has taken place and which are still taking place. Move to Ankpa and see the roads constructed there. Move round Idah and to Omala and Ofu to see good roads. Move to Ogugu and see what the Governor has done with the meagre resources of the state. The Kabba Township Road Project is kicking off and a massive Flyover in the troublesome Ganaja Junction is ongoing. In January, 2021, a whooping 4 billion naira was released to contractors for new and ongoing projects.

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An ambitious multi-billion naira electricity project tagged, Operation Light Up Kogi East is close to completion. When completed, it will solve the power problem in Kogi East. The Governor is from Kogi Central.

Governor Yahaya Bello is creating a Green Revolution in Kogi State. Apart from setting up the Nigeria’s second largest Rice Mill in Ejiba, Yagba West LGA of Kogi State; he also ensured youth are trained and empowered with fish ponds around Omi Dam. He is creating young millionaires through aquaculture, poultry and mechanized farming. Tractors and other farm implements were procured and deployed to Local Government Areas to empower rural farmers. That has been our staying power as the number one producers of Cashew and Cassava in the country today.

In the history of Kogi State Government House, no Governor dimmed it fit to build a place of worship for Christians until Governor Yahaya Bello built an ultra-modern Chapel in Government House. He is the Yahaya that has built a Chapel for the worship of God.

Our youth are in Government and are making policies to empower the youth and women. Insecurity is not only solved by deploying arms, youth must be armed with livelihood and opportunities to prosper.

The youth are in power in Kogi. Women are in power in Kogi and they are doing well.

So would you blame Nigerians if they are clamouring for a unifier as the next President? Will you blame Nigerians if they want a proven security achiever as the next President of Nigeria? Will you blame Nigerians if they want the real Mr Infrastructure as the President?

The youth are poised for a showdown in 2023. It has to be then or never. They know their population.

They know their dynamism. They know it is Youth O’clock. They will take it democratically.

They are not asking for money from anyone. They are printing posters and banners and circulating them.

It is not about the richest but someone that can move Nigeria forward.

The youth listen to him. The women listen to him. The traders listen to him. Nigerians are listening to him. Nigerians don’t listen to failures. They know what he has achieved and what he can achieve if given the opportunity to serve this nation.

Thank you Mr. Abati for this wonderful opportunity once again.

 

Kingsley Femi Fanwo is the Honorable Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kogi State. He writes in from Lokoja.

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Opinion

Religion Must Not Divide Nigeria Under Our Watch By Ajogwu Jerry Ochada

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African Continent is the center of modern civilization (Egypt) yet many Africans often mistake westernization as civilization meanwhile, they are never in tandem.

Many eurocentric researchers are living in solitary immersion of subjective thoughts because they prefer reading stories of Africa authored and doctored by White imperialist without any sense of remorse while trashing the rich cultural ethics of oral tradition and various traditions of origin.

To buttress the least, Africans are not slaves, Africans are not weak, Africans are not wicked. Our ancestors had a well evolved culture and religion now tagged African Traditional Religion (ATR) before the incursion of the colonialists who veiled their intentions using religion as bait of conquest.

It should also be recalled that in areas where annexation by the Whites was rejected, so many rebellion and war of conquests was fought.

In other words, religion was forcefully imposed on many communities and nations in Africa. Take for instance, the Sokoto Jihad (1804 – 1810) which was ably inspired by Usman Dan Fodio of everlasting memories. Christianity on the other hand snookered into the shores of Nigeria by early merchants disguised as missionaries. These religion imposed by early traders, tourists, travellers and later slave merchants are not indigenous to Africa and it is pathetic to note that the Siamese religion is fast dividing the United Peoples of African descent in the 21st century.

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Why do we allow a borrowed religion to influence divisive tendencies?
Did ATR ever instigated brethren against each other?
What do we stand to gain when Nigeria is crushed under our watch?
Is this the Nigeria of our dreams?
Who are the terrorists and who are their sponsors?
What is causing the growing spate of kidnapping, banditry, insurgency and numerous calls for secession?

It is pathetic that as citizens, we are buried in the shallow graveyards of religious sentiments (directly or indirectly) and the overwhelming impact of modern day preachings circumvented via religious centers is affecting the sensibilities of worshippers thereby hunting sincere inclinations of peaceful coexistence amongst brothers from different mothers. Therefore, until the day Emeka stop evaluating Lawal and Adebayo under myopic lens summarized as a different citizen of Nigeria as a result of religious difference and indifference, the country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. This is not a baseless assumption because current trends in the country is painting a bigger picture we are all striving to understand.

At the moment, we have few citizens of goodwill who are always on standby to make NIGERIA a better place by showcasing the real ideals of philanthropy without sentimental attachments to religion, ethnicity or class. Sadly, these class of detribalized Nigerians are haunted in broad daylights by evil gamblers of greed suffocating good intentions of the former. It is imperative that these men of goodwill should not be allowed to be beaten by the bug of sentimental approach which is detrimental and a clog in the wheels of development, peace and progress.

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It is time to change the narratives by inculcating passionate tenets and mannerisms especially in the mindset of the newer generations whose reasoning style and state of mind can still be rated as tabular rasa. Pupils should be thought from kindergarten classes that all Nigerians are one united people irrespective of religion, culture and geographical placements. This is also a wake-up call to the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other sister organizations.

Conclusively, present day political culture in Nigeria should be trashed as a matter of urgency. Leaders should not be elected and recycled in Nigeria based on religious affiliations or regional consideration. The format should not align on the basis of a Muslim should rule after the tenure of a Christian or viceversa. If truly we are sincere and humane and ready to practice honest politics of political power rotation, then subscribers of African Traditional Religion should also feature in the rotational process.

I attended a Unity School where everyone is equal before God and man. All thanks to General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) who envisioned the glorious need for all Nigerians to come together despite passing through the corridors of a Civil War (1967–70) that could not break the country however, shadows of Biafran insurrection is still in vogue and it takes the refined idiosyncracy of a tough leader to crush varying agitations lingering in the country. To curb these menace, no sacred cow should be permitted to roam around romancing with terrorists, spew all sorts of hate speech yet he or she is free as a bird perhaps pardoned by religious supremacy / mutual understanding.

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Furthermore, allocating school admissions and employment slots on the margins of religion should be scrapped. This should be based on merits not religious calculations captioned as connection, grace or miracle. So many intelligent citizens are roaming the streets depressed because of systematic defects of illicit practices which is not even constitutional yet inherently operational in Nigeria against all odds. If ATR which is indigenous to Nigeria and Africa cannot divide us, we should not allowed any borrowed religion that filtered in from another Continent to cause us more harm than good.

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Contractor’ Mbaka Should Reap Where He Sowed

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“Man has an incurable habit of not fulfilling the prophecies of his fellow men.”-Alistair Cooke

 

Had he read this quote from Alistair Cooke, a British American journalist, Rev.

Fr. Camillus Ejike Mbaka would have been circumspect about his “I saw it coming” winning predictions for Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and Hope Uzodinma in 2020. Circumspection would have saved the popular priest the national embarrassment he is facing over his right to comment on the President’s poor performance in office.

If you are a current affairs commenter and something concerning your faith crops up and is trending, you need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to attend to it judiciously to avoid bias or poor judgment. Politicians may not care about taking unpopular positions on issues so long as their political interests are served.

Not so for the writer who is conscious of the demands of public interest and his duty to speak truth to power in the public space.

In various ways, Father Mbaka of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), has taken the Catholic Church to its high and low points. Easily, his ministry is the most popular. He has also dragged the church into needless political controversies. If you are expecting me to tongue-lash Father Mbaka for allegedly soliciting contracts from the government he had helped to install, so to say, you will be sorely disappointed. As a Nigerian, Fr. Mbaka has not done anything unexpected or unusual trying to reap where he sowed.

No crime committed even before God who, so the Bible says, has ordained seed sowing and harvest time for as long the earth remains. Even the Canon law is not against that. The people who denied him compensation for his support of Buhari should have issues with their conscience. Much of the restiveness across the country today is traceable to the useand- dump practice in our polity which Buhari took to the next level.

If with all his encumbrances, Sheikh Isa Ali Pantami, who contributed little compared to Mbaka in making Buhari President in 2015, is a full cabinet minister, what is wrong with Father Mbaka getting a contract? If Mbaka had come from the North or been connected to the Caliphs and took such a high risk to support a President his followers didn’t want, he would have been asked to nominate ministers and others for appointments. The Presidency even had to plead for the forgiveness of Pantami ignoring the advisory that is suited for his likes from Syed Ata Husain, an Indian General, that “forgiving a terrorist is left to God, but fixing the appointment with God is the soldier’s responsibility.”

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Buhari and his henchmen knew of the massive collateral loss suffered by Mbaka for the President’s sake. Besides threatening his priesthood, Mbaka’s open declaration for Buhari in an enclave that denied him 97 percent vote cost the cleric a flourishing business.

Soon after declaring his Buhari support, Aqua Rapha that was the prime table water in the market in the South East and beyond suffered unprecedented rejection from consumers. It’s people like Mbaka who deserve to be given FG contracts. He would have delivered contract jobs and gone further to use the proceeds to feed the thousands of poor people on his payroll, as a scholarship and other acts of charity.

He is one of the biggest single employers of labour in Enugu State, the base of AMENl. He just conand secrated a church he single handedly built in his village. Mbaka and his Adoration Ministry can afford more than one private jet but he is not even eyeing one because he is on the side of the poor. He is easily the most hard-working Catholic priest in the South-East if not Nigeria.

It is worthy of note that Fr Mbaka does not deserve any accolade for going the wrong way outside his very successful mission in the priesthood. One had expected him to openly apologize to his followers for supporting Buhari and for dragging the name of the Holy Spirit around as his guide.

He should just have withdrawn his support for Buhari, going further to ask him to resign or be impeached was politicking which was bound to attract reprisals from the President’s attack dogs. He should have seen it coming. A Wada Nas of Abacha era would have done worse than Garba Shehu. Why the Catholic Church advises priests to refrain from partisan politics is because of the impracticability of serving God and mammon at the same time without getting bruised. When a child is restive and attracted to fire and breaks its mother’s restraint, it may be necessary to allow the child to have a brief feel of burning fire. If seeing is not believing, feeling is it.

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Mbaka knows better today. In 1992, the Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu of the blessed memory emerged as a gubernatorial candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) and even won the election as governor in Benue State against the advisory of the Catholic Church. Like Fr. Mbaka, Adasu got the feel of dining with the devil and realized that even a long spoon was not enough safeguard.

People who are furious about Fr. Mbaka’s botched political outing with Buhari have even suggested his defrocking from the priesthood. But such people do not understand the Catholic Church. Nobody, not even the Church’s alter-ego, the Pope, can by his attitude affect the Catholic Church fundamentally to warrant a rash action to satisfy the often sentimental public.

When Jesus tells Peter, “On this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it,” the Catholic Church symbolizes it with Pope Francis as the 266th in the papal seat of St Peter. Also, when Gamaliel told Jewish leaders trying to halt the initial Apostles to leave them alone that if what they do is not of God it will crumble like the others in history they heeded his advisory and it worked.

When Fr Mbaka’s controversial prophecy on Buhari and Hope Uzodinma was generating heat, Nigerians wanted the Church to act on him but it would not, believing that if it’s not of God, the truth will come out. Where are we today? The same Mbaka, a Buhari and Uzodinma protagonist yesterday, is today among the growing club of their antagonists the extent that his behind-the-scenes deal with the ‘devil’ is being exposed!

What makes the Catholic Church tick is the priesthood, when you are trained and found worthy of priesthood in the line of Melchizedek, you must have been set aside. And that is what Fr. Mbaka is in a very special way and may remain so until the end of his time. During his political battle with once dreaded Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State, Mbaka said the bible in his car wedged the bullet aimed at him by the reigning dragons of the time and nobody doubted him. Even his traducers are still in shock. Though a Catholic, I am not a fan of Fr. Mbaka, but I cannot allow him to pass by me without blessing me because I know who is an anointed man of God.

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A number of my relatives are his buffs. They call themselves ‘umu ikuku’, Igbo for ‘children of the wind who cannot be caught by an evil spirit’. You cannot enter into an argument with Fr. Mbaka Adoration member (umu ikuku) concerning their idol and win.

He is their special Daddy on earth. Imagine the commotion in Enugu yesterday when they could not find their Daddy at the Adoration ground, the Bishop was forced to release him from the so called ‘protective custody’ On a very solemn note, my senior sister Caroline Abonyi passed on in an accident in 2013 while rushing to travel to Enugu from the village for Fr. Mbaka’s adoration. Those who came to console the family when she died said to us that her spirit must have gone to that adoration ground from where it was lifted to heaven and now resting with the angels.

Who am I to doubt as a Catholic and believer in the resurrection, especially knowing the kind of selfless life she lived while on earth. The fundamental thing in all the Fr. Mbaka brouhaha is the evidently poor performance of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially as it relates to insecurity in the nation.

If Buhari was doing well in the delivery of democracy dividends which securing life and property are key as enshrined in Section 14, subsection 2b, of the constitution, “the welfare and security of the citizens shall be the primary purpose of government”, Fr. Mbaka may not have made his U-turn. Nobody wants to be inside a sinking ship if he can jump out and that was what the fiery priest did. The issue of a contract is intended as a distraction. Fr. Mbaka’s goodwill may have been diminished for being where he shouldn’t be but the image of the church is intact. Huge lesson for all not to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

God, help us.
Credit: Newstelegraph

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Opinion

HOUSE OF REPS:Ankpa, Olamaboro, Omala Who is next? (Olamaboro)

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In an ideal democracy, the rotational formula is very sacrosanct in other to protect the involvement of the minority in a country, State, Senatorial district, and federal constituency respectively.


Ankpa federal constituency in kogi state has been maintaining this rotational formula since the country returned to a Democratic system of government.
In 1999, honorable Abimaje Muazu from Ankpa local government was elected and happened to be the first rep member after the country returned to democracy.
In 2003, senator Attai Ali Aidoko from Olamaboro local government was elected and was still reelected in 2007 consecutively, after the completion of his second term in 2011, Hon Idris Muhammad Ibro from Omala local government was voted massively based on the principle of rotational method which the good and loving people of Ankpa federal constituency has been maintaining.

In 2015 Hon. Hassan Omale from Ankpa local government was elected, during this period, all the major political parties zoned their party tickets to Ankpa local government to enable them to produce the next house of rep member, it was then that distinguished Hon Hassan Omale of all progressive Congress (APC) emerged victoriously in the general election.
Hon Hassan Omale lost reelection but despite that APC, PDP and other major political parties still zone their party tickets to Ankpa to enable them to complete their second card, it was in that contest that honorable Halims won on the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC) who is currently the member representing Ankpa, Olamaboro and Omala federal constituency at the green Chamber. based on the historical background given thus far, Ankpa local government has ruled for 12 years leading above olamaboro and omala local government respectively since the returned to democracy.
Standing on the history given below it is now unmistakable that it is the turn of olamaboro local government to produce the next House of Representatives member in 2023 because olamaboro local government has never against the zoning formula and this has created love, conformity, and purposeful leadership among the three local governments that made up the federal constituency.
As the 2023 election draws nearer,we appeal to all the major parties in Ankpa federal constituency to zone their party tickets to Olamaboro local government to enable them to produce the House of Representative member to continue with the zoning strategy that has been in places to keep going if this zoning method is maintained there will be compassionate and again there won’t be any means of politics of one-sided or dominance but uniformity
Let us all termed with this reality for the refinement of our federal constituency.

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God bless Ankpa federal constituency.

God bless Kogi State.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Abutu Silas Ojochenemi

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