Governor Bello, The People, and The Future By Mike Ile

To whom much is given, very much is also expected. His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, was gifted power by fate. In some contexts, 'fate' could be termed as acts of God. Whatever interpretation you give it, power has been given to a governor to lead the state properly.
The citizens of Kogi state have every right to complain if/when things are going wrong. Afterall, they are the reason leaders are voted for. They bear the weight of any bad government policies and irresponsible leadership.

The administration of Governor Yahaya Bello still has over 2 years left to manifest the harvest of promises made. Sure, some mistakes have been made. The lengthy workers screening which left civil servants without salaries for several months readily comes to mind.
Educational institutions in the state closed up for a very long time. The Nigeria Medical Association went on strike. Doctors. It was tough for citizens.
But no problem in life lacks solutions. As I type this, a lot of civil servants have received their salaries. I interviewed a number of them. My curiosity, however, questions why those who have received their salaries refused to publicize it with as much venom as they decried the non-payment on social media.
When I interviewed some workers, they told me that they have owed monies to a lot of creditors. They enjoyed living off public empathy. If they announce that they have been paid now, they will "lose the empathy and free gifts from relatives and friends".
Another one told me that if people know about the new development, creditors will come up to demand from their monies. So they kept the good part of the story hush hush.
Infact, the governor was so livid about this, he asked that the names of paid workers should be made public as well as the exact amounts they have received, including dates.
But his advisers reasoned that, for security reasons, it would be dangerous to publish names of the beneficiaries. So he let it go.
Last week, the Commissioner for Health in Kogi had assured that the money to pay them was already in the bank. They expected their alerts that day but didn't get it so they proceeded on strike by Saturday. When I investigated, we found out that the money actually got to the bank but, because it was late, the process was not finished by the bank. As I type this, I believe doctors should be getting alerts today.
Beyond the salary issue, the governor also listened to the voice of reason by re-absorbing the 2015 set of doctors who were initially sacked as a result of controversies surrounding their recruitment by the previous regime. Not only have they been reinstated, their arrears are to be paid in full.
Now that's how to listen. The governor listened. That is one item off the list of complaints.
Funny though, the re-absorbed doctors who wailed in my inbox almost on daily basis then, have not deemed it fit to tell me the good news.
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All have resumed except Kogi State University (KSU) and Kogi State Polytechnic (KSP).
The situation in KSU is a little complicated. It is not just about the salaries owed. As a matter of fact, I don't know why KSU cannot pay its own salaries, given that the school allegedly generates in excess of 1bn naira per anum. That is a matter to be discussed next time.
I heard from a little bird that the school authorities have made some unreasonable demands. Concerning the screening exercise, they insist that ALL lecturers and staff MUST be cleared, irrespective of whether they have irregularities or not. There are widespread rumors that some lecturers even used certificates belonging to other people to apply and be recruited for the job. Are we to say these allegations are not good enough to be investigated? Do we abhor transparency so much as to deliberately refuse to be called to account?
However, students have been asked to resume school today, 05/06/2017, to commence registration. I also received assurances that, by next week, the lecturers impassè would have been resolved. This is hoping that everything works out as planned. Negotiations can be very tricky.
About the authorities' demand that all 2015 recruitments that were nullified be overturned before they (school) resume work. I believe that compromise is what matters. One item after the other, these issues will be resolved.
This is one area that the government also discussed extensively in the last cabinet meeting. It was resolved that, instead of paying LG workers one or two months salaries out of the many months owed, they should be credited with a minimum of five to six months arrears. That would make more sense. I agree. You should not owe me for a year and be paying me in bits and pieces. Kudos to the Governor on this one. And I am told that it will happen within the next two weeks, max.
A phrase the governor used a lot that I took note of. Where most people would say "the people" or "Kogites", he kept using "My people". To me, as minute as it seems, it is as phrase used by people who care. He said "My people think I do not understand their concerns but I do".
"I am willing to fix these challenges. This is not just about the mistakes made so far. It is also about what we have learned, how much we are willing to work with my good people, and how united we can be over the next two years. It is enough time to manifest the dividends of all we have been working on".
Governor Bello is called the White Lion. I expected him to project the attitude of an emperor but he did show me his humane personality. I didn't even have a prior appointment with him. But I was able to see him within 20 minutes of my arrival when he learned of my mission. So the man is accessible indeed.
I even chanced upon an act of charity. An elderly widow who's Senator has shunned her for over a year now, decided to go to Lugard House herself. In a courageous move motivated by the suffering of her children back at home, this woman arrived at government house and waited at the gate, defying several attempts by the security men to clear her off the area.
As the governor's car rolled out of the premises, he saw the woman standing, a lone figure by the roadside. His Excellency stopped his driver, wound down the glass, and called her. A woman he had never met and may not meet again. He asked why she was there. I will not mention details but suffice to say, that woman's life will never be the same again. In a good way. I was amazed. There is good in most humans, no matter what perception the public may have.
This matter has been in the headlines for a while. Even before I visited the Kogi state government, I already took a position on this matter. However, I still asked about this issue asked I was told that the governor wrote to INEC before he became governor. If this is true, how is he responsible for INEC showing up at his front door with data capture tools? Is it not okay to assume that their presence was the official response from the electoral body? One would not expect any governor to influence where and how registration is conducted by INEC. If so, then the electoral body lacks transparency and integrity.
His Excellency believes that the experience Senator Dino has garnered over these years, as an activist and law maker, is an asset to the state. But this can only happen where there is unity of purpose and peaceful coexistence in all spheres. Personally, I see no reason why a distinguished senator will choose to lock horns with the governor, so publicly, rather than share his experiences and use his connections for the growth of the state.
I cannot claim to know the real cause of this friction, but I know it is not about patriotism. This war is not because the senator loves the state so much. We already know, when political gladiators do battle, the reasons are hardly altruistic.
Governor Bello is a technocrat, not a politician.
It is important that all citizens focus more on achieving what has not been achieved so far, rather than make the state ungovernable. Otherwise, the people will suffer.
One must admit that this governor must do more. Questions have been asked about the Paris Club refund and how it was spent. The governor also has to reconcile with "My people". He needs the people just as the people need him to work even harder.
Governor Yahaya Bello must develop Kogi state. He has no choice. He knows this. Some of his cabinet members know this. Meanwhile, some incompetent cabinet members should be excused from duty now. Kogi does not lack great minds to steer the affairs of the state.
The people of Kogi state MUST rally behind their governor. It is the right thing to do. They must advise him. They must help him. They must push him to succeed. Because his success is the only thing that benefits the state. If he fails, God forbid, the state suffers.
Here is wishing that His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, finds enough goodwill and good aides to help him achieve his assignment.
PS: As I was typing this post, doctors alerts started coming in. I hope they share the good news on all the platforms where they also shared the non-payment.

Mike Ile.......The Prolific writer, Journalist(Investigative), The political analyst and above all, a nice looking man who loves to use his potentials to be of help to humanity in diverse ways he can per time.
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