Governor Bello, The People, and The Future By Mike Ile
To whom much is given, very much is also expected. His Excellency,
Governor Yahaya Bello, was gifted power by fate. In some contexts,
‘fate’ could be termed as acts of God. Whatever interpretation you give
it, power has been given to a governor to lead the state properly.
The citizens of Kogi state have every right to complain if/when things
are going wrong. Afterall, they are the reason leaders are voted for.
They bear the weight of any bad government policies and irresponsible
The administration of Governor
Yahaya Bello still has over 2 years left to manifest the harvest of
promises made. Sure, some mistakes have been made. The lengthy workers
screening which left civil servants without salaries for several months
readily comes to mind.
Educational institutions in the state
closed up for a very long time. The Nigeria Medical Association went on
strike. Doctors. It was tough for citizens.
But no problem in
life lacks solutions. As I type this, a lot of civil servants have
received their salaries. I interviewed a number of them. My curiosity,
however, questions why those who have received their salaries refused to
publicize it with as much venom as they decried the non-payment on
When I interviewed some workers, they told me that
they have owed monies to a lot of creditors. They enjoyed living off
public empathy. If they announce that they have been paid now, they will
“lose the empathy and free gifts from relatives and friends”.
Another one told me that if people know about the new development,
creditors will come up to demand from their monies. So they kept the
good part of the story hush hush.
Infact, the governor was so
livid about this, he asked that the names of paid workers should be made
public as well as the exact amounts they have received, including
But his advisers reasoned that, for security reasons, it
would be dangerous to publish names of the beneficiaries. So he let it
Last week, the Commissioner for Health in Kogi
had assured that the money to pay them was already in the bank. They
expected their alerts that day but didn’t get it so they proceeded on
strike by Saturday. When I investigated, we found out that the money
actually got to the bank but, because it was late, the process was not
finished by the bank. As I type this, I believe doctors should be
getting alerts today.
Beyond the salary issue, the governor also
listened to the voice of reason by re-absorbing the 2015 set of doctors
who were initially sacked as a result of controversies surrounding
their recruitment by the previous regime. Not only have they been
reinstated, their arrears are to be paid in full.
Now that’s how to listen. The governor listened. That is one item off the list of complaints.
Funny though, the re-absorbed doctors who wailed in my inbox almost on
daily basis then, have not deemed it fit to tell me the good news.
All have resumed except Kogi State University (KSU) and Kogi State Polytechnic (KSP).
The situation in KSU is a little complicated. It is not just about the
salaries owed. As a matter of fact, I don’t know why KSU cannot pay its
own salaries, given that the school allegedly generates in excess of 1bn
naira per anum. That is a matter to be discussed next time.
heard from a little bird that the school authorities have made some
unreasonable demands. Concerning the screening exercise, they insist
that ALL lecturers and staff MUST be cleared, irrespective of whether
they have irregularities or not. There are widespread rumors that some
lecturers even used certificates belonging to other people to apply and
be recruited for the job. Are we to say these allegations are not good
enough to be investigated? Do we abhor transparency so much as to
deliberately refuse to be called to account?
have been asked to resume school today, 05/06/2017, to commence
registration. I also received assurances that, by next week, the
lecturers impassè would have been resolved. This is hoping that
everything works out as planned. Negotiations can be very tricky.
About the authorities’ demand that all 2015 recruitments that were
nullified be overturned before they (school) resume work. I believe that
compromise is what matters. One item after the other, these issues will
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STAFF UNPAID
This is one
area that the government also discussed extensively in the last cabinet
meeting. It was resolved that, instead of paying LG workers one or two
months salaries out of the many months owed, they should be credited
with a minimum of five to six months arrears. That would make more
sense. I agree. You should not owe me for a year and be paying me in
bits and pieces. Kudos to the Governor on this one. And I am told that
it will happen within the next two weeks, max.
A phrase the governor used a lot that I took note of. Where most people
would say “the people” or “Kogites”, he kept using “My people”. To me,
as minute as it seems, it is as phrase used by people who care. He said
“My people think I do not understand their concerns but I do”.
am willing to fix these challenges. This is not just about the mistakes
made so far. It is also about what we have learned, how much we are
willing to work with my good people, and how united we can be over the
next two years. It is enough time to manifest the dividends of all we
have been working on”.
Governor Bello is called the White Lion. I
expected him to project the attitude of an emperor but he did show me
his humane personality. I didn’t even have a prior appointment with him.
But I was able to see him within 20 minutes of my arrival when he
learned of my mission. So the man is accessible indeed.
chanced upon an act of charity. An elderly widow who’s Senator has
shunned her for over a year now, decided to go to Lugard House herself.
In a courageous move motivated by the suffering of her children back at
home, this woman arrived at government house and waited at the gate,
defying several attempts by the security men to clear her off the area.
As the governor’s car rolled out of the premises, he saw the woman
standing, a lone figure by the roadside. His Excellency stopped his
driver, wound down the glass, and called her. A woman he had never met
and may not meet again. He asked why she was there. I will not mention
details but suffice to say, that woman’s life will never be the same
again. In a good way. I was amazed. There is good in most humans, no
matter what perception the public may have.
This matter has been in the headlines for a while. Even before I
visited the Kogi state government, I already took a position on this
matter. However, I still asked about this issue asked I was told that
the governor wrote to INEC before he became governor. If this is true,
how is he responsible for INEC showing up at his front door with data
capture tools? Is it not okay to assume that their presence was the
official response from the electoral body? One would not expect any
governor to influence where and how registration is conducted by INEC.
If so, then the electoral body lacks transparency and integrity.
His Excellency believes that the experience Senator Dino has garnered
over these years, as an activist and law maker, is an asset to the
state. But this can only happen where there is unity of purpose and
peaceful coexistence in all spheres. Personally, I see no reason why a
distinguished senator will choose to lock horns with the governor, so
publicly, rather than share his experiences and use his connections for
the growth of the state.
I cannot claim to know the real cause
of this friction, but I know it is not about patriotism. This war is not
because the senator loves the state so much. We already know, when
political gladiators do battle, the reasons are hardly altruistic.
Governor Bello is a technocrat, not a politician.
It is important that all citizens focus more on achieving what has not
been achieved so far, rather than make the state ungovernable.
Otherwise, the people will suffer.
One must admit
that this governor must do more. Questions have been asked about the
Paris Club refund and how it was spent. The governor also has to
reconcile with “My people”. He needs the people just as the people need
him to work even harder.
Governor Yahaya Bello must develop Kogi
state. He has no choice. He knows this. Some of his cabinet members know
this. Meanwhile, some incompetent cabinet members should be excused
from duty now. Kogi does not lack great minds to steer the affairs of
The people of Kogi state MUST rally behind their
governor. It is the right thing to do. They must advise him. They must
help him. They must push him to succeed. Because his success is the only
thing that benefits the state. If he fails, God forbid, the state
Here is wishing that His Excellency, Governor Yahaya
Bello, finds enough goodwill and good aides to help him achieve his
PS: As I was typing this post, doctors alerts started coming in. I hope
they share the good news on all the platforms where they also shared
ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mike Ile…….The Prolific writer, Journalist(Investigative), The political analyst and above all, a nice looking man who loves to use his potentials to be of help to humanity in diverse ways he can per time.