LOKOJA – A lot of people may be asking the temerity of the writer to demand for a change in leadership of Kogi State, or why should it be the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP)’s Mohammed Shaibu Tettes.
Attempts will be made to provide answers to this and many more agitating the minds of good people of the state and other lovers of democracy and good governance.
It will be a big deal to see Governor Yahaya Bello being replaced with a political neophyte. Anyone who has played politics in Kogi in the past as a governorship aspirant cannot stand the battle against Bello, except now that so many reasons are working against his re-election bid. I have itemised 10 reasons, which have become practical worries for the incumbent, which will work to the advantage of Tettes.
Kogi State is at the moment not running any economic policy that is known to the public. Therefore, it is seen as either the government is rocking the walls with a blind master plan that is known only to the persons said to be in power, or embarking on sheer injustice to humanity. The state is among the poorest in the world despite abundant God-given human and natural resources.
Tettes, after slugging it out against other aspirants to emerge as the PDP strong striker in the forthcoming primaries, should be able to turn the economic fortunes of the state into a very profitable agenda that would create employment for the people.
The tribal contention that will bring Mohammed Shaibu Tettes into play as the most favourable against Bello if considered as the PDP magic finger has a lot to do with the displacement of a fellow Igala son in the person of Onoja who is also a new school politician.
Every tribe in a state or elsewhere would want to see their son as the governor. So it’s not any crime to say the Igalas want to produce the 2019 governor of Kogi as it is the tradition over time. Practically it is sure that with Tettes as the PDP flag bearer, the whole of Igala nation will come out to do whatsoever is needed to break heavens for their son to enter.
The politics of governorship elections in Kogi is a very tight one because of their political style of voting. The camps have been divided into formidable machineries that we have seen so far. Onoja and Bello control one machinery which is said to be the newest of all, former governors, Ibrahim Idris and Captain Idris Wada, are said to be struggling to lead another team controlling a political force in the state, while the last political machinery is controlled by three men who do not even know their machineries work as a twine with the death of Prince Abubakar Audu who was the greatest of all master planners and warlords in the political arena of Kogi State.
These three men have shown so much strength in holding down political actions since Audu was removed by the hands of death. One of the personalities of this particular political gang up doing very well in kogi state, undermining the fights against them by the national leadership of the APC in Abuja, is Senator Dino Melaye, representing the Kogi West constituency. And with our calculations on the style of voting a governor into office in Kogi, Dino plays a serious role and if his support is not given, there will be a huge setback for whosoever wants to be governor.
Other members of the strong hold in the last political machinery in Kogi politics is the United Democratic Party (UDP), whose governorship candidate is doing so much underground to capture the government house from the hearts of the youths with a very silent methodology used by men like the Barack Obama of the United States of America. Emeje is said to be a very secret protégé of late Prince Abubakar Audu of blessed memories. He has a total number of personalities attached to his camp over the years for one or two favours facilitated by him on their behalf while prince was Kogi governor. It is believed by some political pundits that the time to pay back for such gestures is now. One Ibrahim names withheld is another factor to crack in Kogi State politically.
In 2015 Kogi governorship election, Prince Audu won with a huge margin without any vote buying or terrorism by anybody, Ibrahim is said to own one of the largest telecommunications company in Kogi State. His company is said to have provided employment to Kogi people over the years. He is said to be in a serious alliance with Emeje in finding a vote smith that can open a larger percentage of how power can be taken away for good from a lucky Bello who didn’t contest in the general elections that made him the governor just like Rotimi Ameachi, who won a court case against the contested candidate in Sir Celestine Omeha years back.
With our calculations, any governorship candidate that can hold tight the three Prince Abubakar Audu’s men, is automatically the next governor of Kogi State come rain, come shine.
Going through the academic qualification of both Tettes and Bello, one would discover that Tettes holds a PhD, while the governor, according to information on his website, has a first degree.
Although I am not an advocate of paper qualification as a necessity for performance, but looking at the peculiar challenges of the state with diversities, it will require a highly educated, sophisticated and exposed person like Tettes to touch the lives of the people.
The private sector where Tettes worked for so many years is a sector that is the engine room of the Nigerian economy, where he played a huge role in the revolutionary steps taken by Nigerian Breweries Plc and even Guinness where he worked as a sales and regional manager, according to his profile on his personal website.
Work experience is very key and Tettes has it all, it’s only for the PDP to look it over and take the advantage of presenting the strong posture of Tettes as its candidate to clear Bello off the Lugard House in days to come.
We have not seen any responsibility in the present APC government in the centre as well as in states it controls, like Kogi, except, for Lagos, which is administered by the influence of the people and close markings. In fact, the country is witnessing daily killings and kidnappings and nothing is being done by the APC controlled Federal Government, just as most of the states are bereft of ideas for solutions.
Particularly, Kogi State is not exempted as we have seen so many killings from the Fulani herdsmen and nothing has been done, but rather, the governor opted for accommodation of the killer herdsmen in the state, through ranching arrangement, even after wreaking havoc on the people and destroyed their farms.
Mohammed Tettes showed so much integrity as a private sector expert who left office working for the most profitable and respected beverage making company in Africa and till today Tettes walks a free man without any invitation, whatsoever from the DSS, EFCC or ICPC.
Our sources say there are some places Bello may not be able to campaign by the time INEC gives nod for electioneering campaigns. For instance, the east of Kogi is said to be a no go area for the governor accused of high level impunity and lack of performance. This may result to total rejection of APC in the state, paving way for a purposeful Tettes’s leadership by the grace of the party. Kogi State needs a person that carries so much value in the acceptance of the people.
The political battle between Bello and Senator Dino has a lot to do with the way the Kogi people will vote in the forthcoming elections. Although the governor has countlessly denied any involvement in the recall project against Dino, it is obvious that the accusing fingers stop at the tables of the APC in the state and the national because if the party has no hand in that sold-out movie produced by the award winning supposed political organisation turned a film house, the party leaders would have called up the senator and those fighting him at the state for a round table talk.
The political structure of Bello in Kogi is described as the most newest of all. There’s no politician that doesn’t have a political plan on how he or she will take over the structures of the others. However, based on the formidable structure of Tettes on ground, it will gladden the hearts of every Igala person to vote for him when given the opportunity by his party, thereby sealing the second term ambition of Bello.
Daniel Ogaji, public affairs commentator, writes from Lokoja.