The 20-day ordeal of political activist, Austin Okai in the hands of the Department of State Services, DSS in Kogi State, is another telling indication that humility is a virtue that is rare for many politicians.
Gov Yahaya Bello
Okai, was picked up by DSS operatives in an eatery in Abuja and whisked to Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
For the 20 days he was away, no one could say for a fact why or who took him. But nearly every guess pointed to the strongman in Kogi, Governor Yahaya Bello whose style in leadership had been severely criticized by Okai and many other stakeholders from the state.
So, when he was eventually released last Thursday, and he opened up, Okai confirmed the speculations that he was arrested after Governor Bello allegedly accused him of inciting the masses against him.
Given that Okai was also the spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar campaign, it behooves to find out what manner of incitement would have been preferred against Okai in the articulation of his job as spokesman of the opposition campaign.
It was not said that it was because a director in Governor Bello’s civil service committed suicide when his wife delivered because he could not pay hospital bills. Or, for the many other oddities that have now been associated with governance in Kogi State.But Okai was not the first to be so treated.
One of Governor Bello’s predecessors, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris gave a perspective of the indignity the people of the state were suffering when he revealed how he was forced out of the state at the risk of his life ahead of the recent presidential election.
Other PDP leaders suffered a similar fate and some like Senator Dino Melaye, had to run NADECO routes to enter the state to exercise the right to vote.
Remarkably, the fear of Governor Bello’s goons is not limited to PDP partisans.
For more than a year, even the state executive of the governor’s party, that is All Progressives Congress, APC operated out of the state after they expressed contrary views to the governor’s political schemes.
However, like almost every dictator in the mould of Gen. Sani Abacha, there is one good thing that can be associated with Governor Bello’s administration.
The stories of banditry and other forms of herdsmen attacks that were the narrative before Bello’s advent have ceased. Security is perhaps the only good thing he has done, one stakeholder observed.
Remarkably, some close to the governor say that he is not as bad as his actions portray. Some allege that his foibles are purely a result of the poor capacity of his handlers.
But whatever, the buck stops at Governor Bello’s desk, and it behooves him to position himself in the right side of history.
He could well listen to the advise of one governor who not too long ago saw himself as a constituted authority who every other person in his state should pay obeisance to.
Receiving his ordained successor, Seye Makinde in his office last Thursday, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State counselled him on how he could build a legacy.
This same Ajimobi we remember was not too long ago moved from one controversy to the other with fights with the Olubadan, entertainer Yinka Ayefele, and with nearly all political leaders of the state.
However, when he met with Makinde, Ajimobi was quoted to have counselled the incoming governor to avoid praise singers, telling him to “avoid acrimony as it is better to focus on relationship.”
Ajimobi some claimed may have been humbled by the popular uprising against him during the elections that saw him bequeath his state to the opposition upon perceptions against his style.
Nigerian voters had a rare chance in some cases to revolt against men who thought themselves as god in their carriage and conduct.
Among political actors who have been so flayed in the public space on account of their conduct in public office is Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who became the first sitting governor of Lagos State to be denied a second term.
Another subject that has been much mentioned is Senator Godswill Akpabio, whose ascendancy in Akwa Ibom, came crashing when his people rejected his second-term bid for the Senate. Even more amazing was that the people preferred a retired political actor in the person of Chris Ekpenyong.
However, the double defeat of Owelle Rochas Okorocha in foisting his son, Uche Nwosu as his successor and his now annulled Senate election are points that have lately excited the critics of the outgoing governor of Imo State.
That Ambode, Ajimobi, Akpabio, and Okorocha lost out in their political schemes does not mean that dictators always lose out in elections.
There are many other examples of dictators who by sheer muscle forced their way during the recent elections.
They should not be an example for Governor Bello to follow. Ajimobi’s admonishment will do him better.
Kogi unseals telcos facilities after NCC intervention.
Curled from the Sun.