Battle for Kogi Government House


Saturday letter1

Excitement and expectations are high as the gladiators of the two main political parties gear up for the commencement of the official campaigns for the November 16 election in Kogi State, when the people will cast their votes for who they adjudged could take the state to a new level of development. The incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello and his APC will be slugging it out with Musa Wada and his so-called league of the righteous.

The APC has been making big gains lately with throng of defections to the party and the endorsements of the governor. The APC seems a formidable and impregnable bloc, which is a stark contrast to what it was a year back. A testament to the excellent crisis management by the national leadership of the party on the one hand, the willingness of stakeholders to reconcile with the governor and the brinksmanship on the part of the governor and his closest ally, current deputy governor, Edward Onoja. Our main challengers, the PDP seems to still be fighting for balance after the controversial primary that produced Musa Wada as the candidate of the party. It is no longer news of the fallout in their ranks in the wake of the exercise and how they have been struggling to put a veneer of order. We know that several strong men in Kogi State PDP will be conspicuously absent in their campaign train, such as former governor Ibrahim Idris who is his in-law, and his elder brother and a former governor, Idris Wada. All this are pointer to the fact that Musa Wada lacks acceptability and legitimacy within the party.

It is with this spirit and albatross that the PDP intends to challenge a resurgent and roaring APC that has made spectacular marks in the governance of the state in the last four years despite the financial burden inherited from the previous PDP administration of Idris Wada. With their skeletal campaign machineries, they have been throwing allegations, here and there and faulting virtually all institutions involved in the conduct of the election. This can be seen as an attempt to save face and win the sympathy of the people. Initially it was an attempt to whip up tribal sentiments by crying out that the people of Kogi East have been short-changed from their traditional right of producing the governor but when they realized that the people of Kogi East were captivated by the Bello/Cedo political brand and governance model, they employed violence on some of our supporters, a situation that led to the death of one person.

Violence does not win elections. The APC knows this and it has been a fundamental component of its campaign manual. Why should we engage or employ violence when the APC and their standard bearers have been widely accepted by the citizens of the state across the three senatorial districts?

So far the stage seems set for the APC in Kogi to deal another devastating blow on the PDP in a repeat of the 2015 feat led by our strongman, late Prince Abubakar Audu.

There is unanimity in our ranks, we have not forgotten the lessons of the past that made us come together to dislodge the PDP from power. Kogites are awake and knowledgeable; the Bello government may not be perfect but it is far different from the model of the past, that has breed ineffectiveness and inefficiency, which the GYB-led government is still battling with. The first term of Governor Bello was about rooting out deeply entrenched injustice and contradictions within the state systems; hence the staff audit, the first of its kind in 28 years history of the state.

Now, son and daughters from across the three senatorial districts can collaborate equally to administer the affairs of the state under the ambience exemplified by the pattern of the governor’s appointments, which strives to reflect equitably the three senatorial zones of the state. This can also be seen in the distribution of projects and development initiatives.

So Musa Wada is never a threat to the APC; in fact his emergence stirred the APC into greater unity and determination as we could foresee the implications of allowing another Wada to mount the helm of affairs of our beloved state to re-enact another era of misappropriation, nepotic cum dynastic rule.

So given the current dynamics in Kogi politics on the eve of the election, the PDP campaigns are only putting up a show in order to conceal their shame and vindicate their vanity. Their disjointed and unco-ordinated approach to campaigning cannot withstand the co-ordinated and superlative mobilization of the APC. As at Wednesday, sensitization and mobilization have kick started in all the wards in the state to be followed by mobilization in all the local government areas before proceeding to the nine federal constituencies. So to the perceptive observers of politics, the re-election bid of Governor Bello and his iconoclastic chief of staff is a done deal.

Dr Tom Ohikere, Secretary of the Media and Publicity Committee of the Kogi State 2019 APC Governorship Campaign Council





Saturday comment2


 Danliti Goga writes that the Presidency is committed to addressing the plight of the downtrodden

 Typical of the fault-finding focus of the media and the political elite, a positive development in government affairs gets fleeting attention- if any. After a first term of strenuous efforts to apply brakes on the affairs of government cascading towards decadent implosion amid incessant resistance from entrenched status quo stalwarts, President Buhari’s second term exhibits a focused grasp on the dysfunctional dimensions with an informed reformative savvy that is bound to halt the rot. One major manifestation of this progressively remedial piloting of government is the creation of new ministries and assigning special priority to critical aspects of national development hitherto drifting into administrative oblivion such as police affairs, power and humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development. Mr President obviously soared above the critics to acquire clearer analysis for intelligent intervention in the interest of the masses.

The creation of a Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development by President Buhari as part of the “next Level” innovations in governance is a particularly outstanding initiative towards bringing government to the most marginalized, helpless and voiceless citizens of this country just when they desperately need such attention and concern. Government’s primary duty is to redress the plight of the majority of its citizens who are seemingly condemned to mere statistical existence as data to justify appropriation of national revenue for the virtually exclusive exploitation of the privileged minority.

President Buhari being the first to translate lip service to affirmative action on humanitarian affairs and disaster management in particular earns him additional distinction for deep-seated devotion to the elevation of public interest to the top priority of government in words and deeds. He went further to select a well-qualified technocrat capable of jump-starting the overdue consolidation of existing relevant government agencies and resources dealing with humanitarian affairs and natural disasters for a more robust and coordinated management of humanitarian affairs in Nigeria.

Sadiya Umar Faruk is definitely a good, if not the best, choice for this all-important national assignment by virtue of her relevant work experience. She was the Federal Commissioner of National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons before her apt appointment to the new ministry. At the commission, she made her presence felt by reinvigorating its operations as the lead government agency responsible for coordination, protection and assistance of the distressed and displaced.

The Strategic Road map of the Commission that she initiated focused on prudent provision of durable solution to the plight of those affected by natural and man-made disasters through implementation of standardized procedures for utilizing research, data gathering and planning for Resettling, Rehabilitating, Reintegrating and Readmitting them into their communities.

Her impactful performance considered pioneering in the history of the commission is not happenstance but a testimony to her enviable academic and professional antecedents. Saadiya Faruk, an emerging icon of Zamfara female technocrats, was educated at the Federal Government Girls’ College Gusau and Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, where she earned a B.Sc. in Business Administration (Actuarial Science) in 1998. She proceeded to broaden her horizon with a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy in 2008 and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2011 from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, to enhance her technocratic capability.

 The pioneer minister of humanitarian affairs will need all her specialized knowledge, insight and experience to meet the daunting challenges of her portfolio. In view of the increasing outbreaks of civil unrest, violence, crime and related destabilizing phenomenon, which consistently descend on the most vulnerable people, harnessing the available vast financial and administrative resources of government into a streamlined channel dedicated to managing and bringing succor to minimize their misery is priority.

The statistics are startling: 2.24 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria, 213,179 living as refugees in Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic, but with the minister’s track record she will be startling us to the pleasant relief of the hapless constituency that has resigned to fatalistic despondency after years of haphazard and often heartless intervention. The initial tacit reluctance of the ‘independent” agencies and departments to adjust could not deter her. She has since set to work bringing the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the National Commission for Refugees, the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (PCNI) and the Victims Support Fund under her authority, with the benefits of streamlining and committed professional control coming to the fore. 

Another vast constituency of vulnerable Nigerians captured by President Buhari’s compassionate concern is the teeming population of unemployed youths and other socially sidelined citizens who constitute a menacing threat to law and order. The necessity of government intervention to ameliorate the compelling circumstances that incriminate them has spawned a series of innovative and purposeful schemes unfortunately impeded by uncoordinated implementation and political patronage.

Happily, Minister Sa’adiya Faruk has already captured the essence of this aspect of her national assignment. At a retreat with stakeholders for meaningful collaboration, she emphasized strengthening Nigeria’s institutional and legal framework for the coordination of humanitarian crises and ongoing interventions and programs delivered by government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). “Our vision is, therefore, to have an inclusive social protection system that is proactive, humane, inclusive and sustainable,” she remarked while assuring that the ministry is already developing its internal structure based on international best practices and considering available technical expertise to strengthen ongoing partnership.

Expectedly, the new ministry and its pioneer minister have been hailed by African Doctors for Africa (AfDA) who regard the creation of the ministry as a unique initiative for all humanitarian activities to be better coordinated for optimal benefits, strengthened by the appointment of a minister “who is a round peg in a round hole, as she parades all that is required to discharge the duties of her office.”

 Goga wrote from Kontagora

Saturday letter2

The Neglect of Kano Dry Port

In response to the questions by newsmen about effort being made to decongest the Lagos port, the current Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Shippers Council, Mr. Hassan Bello stated that Jos and Funtua dry ports will soon be ready for business between December and January, 2020. Certainly, this cheering news represents something good especially coming at a time when all hands must be on deck to improve the economy of Northern Nigeria in particular and address the current pathetic and endemic poverty that has been ravaging the country.

 It is an open secret that pervasive poverty can be described as Northern Nigeria’s signature trademark. No geo-political region of Nigeria comes any closer in terms of excruciating poverty, economic stagnation, squalor, want and degraded life challenges like northern Nigeria. Besides, there is strong link between high level insecurity in the country and poverty, and as such, whatever can be done to ameliorate the suffering and improve the economy of the people is a welcome development.

 However, the startling revelation by the executive secretary of the Nigeria Shippers Council that Kano has not been able to do anything tangible about developing its dry port at Zawaciki has come to many observers as a very rude shock.

 The enviable status of Kano which prides itself as the commercial nerve center of the North must be closely guarded. Many states in the north are doing whatever in their capacity to catch up with Kano or even surpass it in terms of ease of doing business and economic competitiveness. For that reason, observers including yours sincerely are finding it difficult  coming to terms with reasons why Kano economic stakeholders are not doing much to maintain the current economic advantage of the state in the ever competitive world.

 Investment in the Kano Dry Port from the look of things, is a worthwhile venture. Huge return on investment is assured. And the state is hugely blessed with enterprising marketers who import and export goods and services which hold greater promise to transform the dry port into a more viable one.  Added to that, 70% of all north-bound imports are from Kano. Besides, it has closer proximity to the border which can also be another advantage for exports. So taking all these and many more advantages into consideration, investors have no cause to fear or hesitate investing their money as the Kano dry port has many comparative advantages over the rest.

 It is on that note that many are finding it difficult to understand why Kano State government has so far refused to do the needful and tap into this economic gold-mine which is one way of moving the economy away from oil as disclosed by the Executive Secretary of the NSC. This is quite unfortunate.

 The Emir of Kano, Kano elders, and business tycoons like Dantata, Dangote and Bua, in conjunction with Kano State government via  the state Chamber of Commerce, trade and Industries have a date with history. Generations yet unborn will surely judge them accordingly if they allow this economic opportunity to slip away.


Kabiru Inuwa, Kano