Yahaya Bello: The travails of a wasted political patronage


It is no longer news that Nigeria’s youngest governor today, the governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, is floating in the murkiest political waters of his career or dancing a dance that a superstitious African man will unashamedly refer to as ‘SURUGEDE’.
The election in his state is scheduled for November and Mr Bello is engaged in an unforeseen political tussle from right within his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Many of the influential decision-makers in the party including its national leader, Asiwaju Tinubu are said to have vowed that Bello, the ‘unelected’ governor of Kogi will never be handed the ticket of the ruling party for what they described as a woeful performance.
It was in Chinua Achebe’s world record book (THINGS FALL APART) that an elder warned Okonkwo who was becoming too boisterous and disrespectful that “if a benevolent spirit cracks a palm-kernel for anybody, he or she should not forget to be humble”. Bello must have been loathsome of books not to come across this most celebrated book. He would have behaved differently.

The above is the very case that is about bringing a supposedly thriving political career to a shameful and abrupt end. Bello forgot his roots. He never looked back to his humble beginning. He forgot one very important fact, that he inherited the mandate of an enigma, a leader par excellence who the people adore and dread like a god. Hee ignored the glaring unconstitutionality in his emergence. He also forgot that his party would demand prudence and quality governance from him just like the people would do.
He forgot that workers need salaries too. How do they cope with 22 months of unpaid salary? He skipped that the youths, buoyed by the emergence of a 42-year-old as governor would demand excellent performance to prove their abilities and further challenge non-inclusion in Nigeria’s mainstream politics. He forgot that to whom much is given much is expected of.
My elders would have reminded him now that he whom the gods want to kill they first make mad if he were from my ancestral home. Bello in a clear case of a recalcitrant animal being led to the slaughter became a law unto himself. He ruled Kogi with the kind of tyrannic fists that Pinochet would be scared today to wield against the soviet union. He singlehandedly banned the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU).
As if that was not enough, he went on to build a mansion that stands tall in the midst of very lowly houses belonging to his poverty-stricken Okene kinsmen. His spending spree and extravagance can only draw us back to the very gory and ignoble days of Jean Bodden Bokassa who spent hundreds of millions of dollars in a ceremony to install himself as the life president of the Central African Republic (CAR) in the 1970-80s. He even in a despotic move to control all lives and tiers of government moved against the Judiciary. He forgot he is from a minority tribe and that only good governance and extraordinary performance would endear him to the people. Now that money and thuggery have become far-fetched, what next?
The tears Bello shed on national television during his inauguration and his recent behaviour are in conspicuous contrast and it goes a long way to tell the stories and personalities of Nigerian politicians. He is a locus classic of their lies, deception and irresponsibility.
He built people’s hopes for a letdown and brought Kogi state to a pariah region. We thank APC for not reinforcing failure. Like the story of Olawele’s God’s are not to blame, he brought this Waterloo upon himself by wasting the unsual political patronage he got on a platter of gold.