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Does Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello Deserves Stoning?

By Shaibu Stephen Ojate
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The social media was awashed with news story on Friday that irate Muslim Youths in Lokoja pelt stones and rotten vegetables on the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello when he went to the Lokoja Central Mosque to observe Jummat prayer.

It was hinted that Security Men saved his life as they hurriedly boggled the Governor out to his awaiting vehicle and that singular step prevented the irate Muslim Youths from molesting him.

Reports have it that the Youths in showing their anger on how the administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello has fared to the State chanted “Ole, Ole” which implies thief, thief. More also, section of Nigerian media were not also left out as they too tagged the Governor ‘corrupt person’ whilst reporting the news event.

Lots of people have expressed their reservations on this latest happening in Kogi State. Some condemned the action of the Youths in entity nothing that it is totally wrong to melt such treatment to a societal Leader in the House of God, a place considered sacred.

They contented that Mosque is a religious worshiping Centre and it ought to be respected thus action of this nature has degraded the place. This class of people stressed further that even if the Muslim Youths had ill-feeling against the Governor, it should have been done in a diplomatic manner than open display of immaturity and shame.

Another pundit also contented that there is nothing wrong on what the Muslim Youths had done. They asserted that the display of the Youths has clearly collaborated the saying that a hungry Man is an angry Man. This pundit opined that the anger of the Muslim Youths is stemmed on the non-payment of salaries to Workers which has run to months now since the present Kogi Governor took the reign of affairs in Kogi State.

The center point thereof now forms the basis of this my article as my mission is to educate member of the public better on the issue of non-salary payment to Workers not only in the Kogi State but across the State of the federation at large.

I must echo to the ear of my readers that Kogi State is a federating Unit in Nigeria just like other States who gets bulk of her revenue from the federal government in terms of monthly federal allocation fund.

Therefore the present anger of some people on the issue of non-salary payment as experienced in recent times is lack of proper education and this is what I equally termed as total display of ignorance. Many people have failed to understand that the States in Nigeria survived mostly with the federal allocation fund and this has drastically reduced over times.

The present federal allocation fund to Kogi State is nothing to right home about when compare to what his predecessor Idris Wada and former Governor Idris Ibrahim received during their tenures.

For the sake of those who are not knowledgeable on the issue of Nigerian economy, I must educate them further that the reduction in federal allocation figure to each State was caused by dwindling in the crude oil price at the International Market. This was further compounded by the activities of Niger-Delta Militant ‘Avenger’ with the coming of Buhari led government barely a year ago who have serially engaged in the destruction of oil installation leading to shortage of the Nigerian crude oil supply to the international Market. The low revenue as made by the federal government impacted negatively on what each Federation Units gets as their monthly federal allocation fund.

Going by this, many State Governors could not cope with the regular payment of Workers’ salaries and this is not peculiar to Kogi State alone. Sequel to this, States like Imo, Benue and Nassarawa have no option than to resort to slice in monthly salary of workers, a measure aimed saving the State from total collapse since the meager federal allocation fund could not sustain the State anymore.

It will interest people to note that the Governors who took this step have not been crucified by their respective people nor stoned by their Workers despite that they too owed them backlog of unpaid salaries. The Stakeholders showed understanding and reasoned well with the Governors.

I therefore began to wonder on what precipitated the irate Muslim Youths in Lokoja to call for the head of our indefatigable and Youthful Governor on the non-salary payment to Workers as at when due when this is not his making but left with the only option of utilizing the meager fund that comes to the State.

As I pointed out earlier in the above paragraph of the article that Kogi State is not a Nation with Central Bank. There is nothing like Kogi Central Bank which the accusers of the Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello would have expected him to resort to in time like this by ordering for the printing of Naira notes to pay Workers. Even if the State happened to be a Nation of its own, there are rules guiding the printing of the National currencies as things are not done that way.

At this juncture, what we need now is understanding and reasoning. The good people of Kogi State should commend the Governor on his absolute resolves not to slice Workers’ monthly salaries but boldly maintained the status quo as he is very hopeful of better days ahead.

We should therefore know that things can not turn for good within a twinkle of an eye as it is a gradual process. I believe strongly that the Governor has not rested on his oars as he is up and running and has taken a giant strive to woe Nigerian Industrialist Aliko Dangote and some foreign investors to the State. All these will translate for good and also enhance the internal generated revenue of the State in years ahead.

Concluding this article, I must declare that the failure and the success of the Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is not only his but ours as all of us are stakeholders in the State. Having made this remark, the attack on one another on social media which a times are being triggered by ethnic and political sentiments will not solve our problem.

This is not to say that I absorb Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello from blame on his inaction in the State but the plea is for the collective interest. I must also make it clear that the problem of unpaid salary in Kogi State is not because the Governor is of ebira ethnic extraction as some might portray it to be rather it is a National problem.

In view of the above, let us support the Governor in his policies and actionsas he needs us to succeed. Let us support him to succeed to make the State better for all of us.

Shaibu Stephen Ojate is aJournalist and public affairs commentator writes from Abuja. He is on Facebook and reachable via 08052666344.

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