By Edward Onoja
Yesterday, the Kogi East Elders Council (KEEC) once again proved that they serve no other interest than that of their members, families and cronies.
The group which likes to believe that she controls the thoughts and actions of Kogi East people informed the world late yesterday that they have cast their lot with Atiku Abubakar and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 Presidential and General Elections.
KEEC’s endorsement of all PDP candidates is not a problem at all as they are well within their rights to back any candidate of their choice.
The problem is when they are too ashamed of their ruined reputations to endorse in their own names, but go ahead to ascribe their unfortunate conduct to the innocent Kogi East communities, in particular, the proud and upright people of the great Igala and Bassa Kingdoms.
Who indeed is surprised that Ahmadu Ali, Nicholas Ugbane, Gabriel Aduku, Attai Aidoko, Ibrahim Idris, Idris Wada and other members of the inconsequential PDP support group they call Kogi East Elders Council have endorsed PDP’s line up of misfits in any election?
Everyone knows that these men are the founding fathers and leaders of the PDP, and that they, their families and friends benefitted the most from the 13 and 16 years respectively during which the PDP ran wild in Kogi State and Nigeria, wrecking our social fabric and mismanaging lives and destinies for the living and those yet unborn.
It is when KEEC lies to the world that the 9 local governments of Kogi East have resolved to support the PDP on February 16 that we must rise up and prove that they lied. We must show that these men are merely PDP operatives still suffering severe pains from the rebuke our people and the rest of Nigeria gave them in 2015.
They rejected their party’s nemesis, President Muhammadu Buhari, because he disconnected them from our public resources and not because of any acts or omissions of Governor Yahaya Bello as they have claimed.
Their reasons, as usual, do not add up. Even if Governor Bello has offended them by removing their mouths from sucking our blood, should they attack an innocent President Buhari? It shows that their sense of justice remains undeveloped.
They have taken refuge in their party’s latest sign-on, Atiku Abubakar, not because they think he can improve on anything President Buhari has accomplished in office, but because of his well publicised plans for his friends, those whom he insists are entitled to be enriched with assets taken from the poor and given to the rich.
The only reason the promoters of KEEC have decided to score an own goal against the Igala and Bassa Kingdoms so late in the ongoing political season is their own selfish interests. But without mincing words, we hereby let them know that we are not fools, and that we not only reject their rejection of President Buhari and APC, but we reject them and their PDP party of corruption and confusion.
This affront is doubly offensive. They have not only lied that we in Kogi East sent them when we have not. They have tried to take Kogi East and Kogi State from the forefront of Mr. President’s supporters to the rear. In 2015, Kogi State was among the first to embrace Change by booting out the PDP from our Government House. We cannot now take a backseat to anyone in 2019 by going back to swallow our own vomitus.
These undertakers are the same men who did nothing by way of developmental projects for Kogi East when they held sway in Kogi State and at the federal level for over one and a half decades. Even in their own villages, we saw nothing to suggest our people were in power except their fancy cars and newspaper reports of how they were painting Abuja and the pleasure capitals of the world red with wealth stolen from us.
Yesterday, they suddenly found the temerity to claim that we have followed them to reject the party which has achieved more for us in 3 and a half years than they did in 16 years or more.
These political elders think they are smart. They want to kill two birds with one stone. They claim Buhari’s sin is Bello and we can’t but wonder how? Given that Governor Yahaha Bello and the APC have only been in office for 3 years in Kogi, you have to wonder how their sense of judgment works. If they left behind strong foundations, would the house Bello is building for Kogi not have gone up faster now?
How many of their villages saw electricity for the first time under Bello? Can they count? How many more are poised to receive electricity this year under Bello’s Operation Light Up Kogi East? Can they number? How many of our communities across Kogi East have received portable water for the first time under Bello? Can these merchants of power count? The road projects bisecting Kogi East and heading towards the South East, is it that they have not seen it? At what point should human beings step up and be ashamed for their own misdeeds?
How could President Buhari have offended them through Governor Bello so that he must not be voted in February lest Bello come back in November? If anybody has neglected and offended Kogi East Senatorial District and deserve to be boycotted, is it not these same people and their party PDP?
In community after community across Kogi East Governor Bello is changing the narrative as fast and as much as time and finances allow. In Ankpa, Umomi, Idah, Okpo, Ogugu, Ette, and a dozen other places, are they not seeing the strong efforts of the Bello they call a stranger despite their mess which he inherited? A stranger who has yet to spend even one-quarter of the time they cumulatively wasted for us in office?
How can Kogi East, or any people with sense, conscience or principle join these men to endorse a PDP which wasted the most prosperous seasons of Nigeria and raped our motherland nearly to death over an APC which has made giant strides in every sector in just over 3½ years in power?
They should know that we understand their grievances, that we know Buhari and Bello’s sins in their eyes. Their access to Kogi’s money has been cut off. Their pipelines into the civil service to find small change for their dependents has been blocked. Their ability to leverage and mortgage Kogi’s resources and votes for their own advancement has been brought to an end. They can no longer sell their people for personal profits in the corridors of power in Abuja.
We know that Bello’s worst ‘offence’ in the eyes of KEEC and her members is that he did not just remove their leprous hands from the public till and other dishonest privileges but that he did it using a relatively young team in government, led by a strong contingent from Kogi East.
These yesterday men cannot fathom how young people whose families and communities were not considered good enough for political thugs and household helps during their reign have suddenly become the leaders of today.
They cannot forgive Bello for appointing unknown and unconnected persons as Chief of Staff, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Board members, party leaders, and even GYB special coordinators who report direct to the Governor from the grassroots.
Bello’s appointees have built churches and mosques abandoned for decades, market stalls and village halls, farm roads and rural water schemes. The long abandoned Igala Unity House is nearing completion through the galvanising actions of ICDA and some appointees, among many others.
They KEEC elders are angry because these newbreed appointees empowered by Governor Yahaya Bello have empowered tens of thousands of other youths while individually and collectively accomplishing more for Kogi East in 3 years than they did in 16.
KEEC should know that we understand their selfish politics. They are angry because Governor Bello rendered them moribund so they want to render His Excellency useless. They can only try, but they will fail. The God Who created all men equal will continue to discomfort them.
Their endorsement of PDP today in the name of our people, while it achieves nothing, archives beyond doubt that these men remain the sworn enemies of the best interests of Kogi East and indeed all of Kogi State.
We let them know that even if you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. They never loved us while in power and they have not grown to love us while out of power. Instead of remorse and repentance for their sins, they are fighting to restore their oligarchy over us. It will not work.
The final word is that Governor Yahaya Bello has helped Kogi East to see through this men and we cannot be held in their spell anymore. We will join the rest of Kogi State and Nigeria to return President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to a second term in office at all levels.
When we vote we will be voting for identifiable and unprecedented benefits accruing to us from the APC Administrations of Governor Yahaya Bello and President Muhammadu Buhari.
We will be voting for the concrete road by Dangote from Shintaku – Gboloko – Mozu – Dekina to connect Bassaland and Igalaland.
We will be voting for the comprehensive flood and erosion control works for Ibaji after the flooding of last year.
We will be voting for a brand new Army Forward Operational Base in Dekina.
We will be voting for the collaboration with Central Bank of Nigeria to develop multibillion cashew crop processing zone in Kogi East.
We will be voting for the proactive and swift response to the flooding which hit all the 9 LGAs of Kogi State last year during which the Governor, the Vice President and the President worked together to reduce the human and environment impact of the natural disaster to a minimum.
Kogi Easterners are also stakeholders in any good thing which happen anywhere in Kogi State so we will be voting for the Abuja – Lokoja Road to be completed on scheduled since 16 years of PDP could not do it.
We will be voting for the completion of the Lokoja – Okene stretch too because too many of our people, not to mention other Nigerians, have come to grief, and some have died, on it.
We will be voting for the Ajaokuta – Itobe Road since the PDP failed to do it in 16 years.
We will be voting for the Ilorin – Kabba Road which the PDP ignored for their 16 years.
We will be voting for the longest concrete road in Nigeria under construction by Dangote from Obajana – Kabba which is daily used by our people.
We will be voting for the reconstruction of Ekuku – Idoma – Obehira road traversed daily by our people.
We will be voting for the construction of Adavi – Eba – Ikuehi – Obeiba – Obokore road.
We will be voting for the rehabilitation of Lokoja – Ganaja Road.
The last four roads are the first phase of the new road-for-tax initiative under Executive Order 7 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. Kogi alone got four roads, don’t ask me how. Some states could not lobby even one.
We will be voting for release of the $1bn approved by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex Limited. The importance of ASCL to the employment and wealth creation landscape of Kogi State apparently eluded KEEC members when they were in power. That is the only explanation for why they attracted no government attention to it in 16 years
KEEC members who refused to use their influence as National Chairman of PDP, serving minister, serving governors, members of Board of Trustees, members of National Executive Council, members of National Working Committee and friends of Presidents to benefit us for 16 years cannot come now to influence us against Buhari and Bello who have used their father-son collaboration to bring so much more home for us in less than 4 years. It will not work.
On Saturday, being the 16th of this month of #FeBuhari2019 we will go out as Kogi Easterners and Kogites of all extractions and persuasions and we will vote President Muhammadu Buhari and APC for a second term. We will vote them because they have shown us good faith and because we need more.
I, Edward Onoja, is a bona fide son of Kogi East and a witness to the perfidies of those who are now hiding behind KEEC because they dare not show their faces to our people in their own name. I am also a witness to the massive positive differences that Buhari and his son Bello have made.
I am a witness and I ask KEEC to hear me and hear me well: His Excellency, President Buhari will be reelected on Saturday and the APC will do exceptionally well among our people. In November we will repeat the feat with His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello. By the end of their respective second terms, the paradigm shift will be so much that KEEC will be a forgotten memory.
We have seen what good and forthright leadership, by even strangers, can do and we cannot return to slavery and bondage. We have seen the light,We reject in totality all forms of darkness and those who run errands for it.
Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and Director-General, APC Campaigns Council, Kogi State.
By Edward Onoja