My first time of going to see Mr. Femi Mokikan, a great Kogite who was then the Head, Human Resource Department of the 7UP Bottling Company at Ijora, thought many lessons on unity.
As I stepped out of the company, a young man trailed me and I became suspicious of the intent of the trailer. He stopped me and said he discovered we are from the same place. He is a native of Ochadamu and we related, though very shortly, like brothers. When we meet outside of the shores of Kogi State, ethnicity dies. But within here, the evil of ethnic jingoism reigns.
In Kogi State, ethnic patronage is a construction of political imbecility and absence of creative ideas for governance. Our political leaders hid behind the perforated leaves of ethnic biases to hide their inefficiencies. The escape route for political weakness is to set the common men against one another and close the window of questions about what they did or do in government.
For 25 years, the evil cards of ethnic politics worked in our dear state. It so worked that we couldn’t even ask the leaders why they failed to develop their parts of the state. That brought us to the conclusion that our past leaders used ethnicity as veil for their failure.
The late Prince Abubakar Audu was the last Governor before the present, who proved his mettle, ensured a solid foundation for the state and wrote his name in gold.
Though his predecessors supervised our era of boom, they left us poor, underdeveloped and unprepared for 21st century development.
The advent of Governor Yahaya Bello as Governor was more divine than political. God used his emergence to demystify political calculus and scheming. Bookmakers recorded “record loses” because nobody gave him a chance.
His actions are indications of why he became Governor. Because no godfather made him Governor, he has been accountable to God and the people. Monies that were hitherto going to godfathers’ pockets are now been used to provide water, roads, better schools and affordable healthcare. No politician brought by a godfather could have achieved that.
He defied all odds to banish the spirits of division by demonstrating unity, remonstrating ethnic biases and showing the way towards a formidable, indivisible and strong state. He started this on his first day in office by appointing three Principal Officers spread across the three Senatorial Districts in the state. This is unprecedented in the history of our dear state.
During the State Executive Council meetings, people from the same Senatorial District do not seat next to one another. We are physically and spiritually mixed to build a united front for development. Nothing is stronger than unity.
Commissioners now know that projects must be equitably spread across the state. Under GYB, a new Kogi has come out of the rubbles of past division.
We now have a Governor who sees Edward Onoja as an excellent and loyal Chief of Staff; Engr. Ohere as a diligent Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs; Kehinde Oloruntoba as a vibrant, forward-thinking technocrat. Where they and others come from does not matter to him. He equips all his appointees to give their best to Kogi State.
When the Governor stormed the College of Health Technology, Idah to commission some projects, my mind swam through the ocean of thoughts. No Governor had ever visited the school, even when the school was less than 2km to the residence of a former Governor. Road projects are ongoing in many parts of Kogi East and Abejukolo Electrification Project is ongoing. These actions are loud statements. Vision, not ethnic loyalty, is the oil of governance.
Significantly, the fears of the East, if there was any, have been demonstratively addressed by the visionary Governor. He is for all and I am sure the Ebiras will be proud of what their son is doing to develop Kogi State and promote unity.
That you are from a place doesn’t make you love the place. Some Okun people collected road contracts in Okunland and still abandoned the project after collecting huge sums of money. This is applicable to all the Senatorial Districts in the state.
Kogites must beware of the fact that the ethnic champions are restriping their verses to cover their ugly past. Young minds are now been immersed into the waters of ethnic hawkishness, equipped with temporary pleasure and unleashed to promote division.
Yahaya Bello is the Champion of the Movement of Unity, the poster boy of dynamic and purposeful leadership, renegade against system decadence and hope of a New Kogi State.
Nature speaks to us daily with our Confluence. None of the two Rivers is bigger than the Confluence. No society can ever grow with coalescing its ideas and spirits. Together, we are stronger and bigger. In the New Kogi State, no partner is at a disadvantage. We are trudging on confidently with the hope of a better tomorrow.
We won’t there in one day but we shall get there one day. Let us rally round our Governor, support his New Direction Agenda, suggest better ways of achieving his goals and build a solid and prosperous Kogi State.
Think Kogi, Act Kogi, Build Kogi.
Kingsley Fanwo is the Director General on Media and Publicity, Office of the Kogi State Governor.
Fanwo Kingsley Olorunfemi
DG Media and Publicity to the Governor
Kogi State Government House
Tel: 234 8163376331