RE: HON EDWARD ONOJA, THE DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF KOGI STATE, WITH THE SINCERITY OF YOUR HEART WRAPPED WITH THE FEAR OF GOD, ANSWER THIS QUESTION AND A FEW OTHERS BELOW
A RESPONSE TO OGO’OGU MD
DO YOU TOO BELIEVE IN EBIGO OR YOU ARE PLANNING GAME?
Dear Ogo’ogu, MD,
I will answer your No. 1 and No. 2 questions together and the rest in no particular order before making some free comments of my own. I will also freely express my feelings as I write to forestall the possibility of giving the impressions that I welcome gratuitous insults, just because they come robed in the garb of ‘friendly’ criticism. If you take nothing else away from this response, let it be this:
‘Tell me the truth and its bitterness or pain will be a sweet blessing for my soul to cherish, but if you lie to me or about me, do not say you did so as a friend for I will refuse to see it so.’ – Edward Onoja, 2020.
No sir, I am not satisfied with the situation of Kogi State where, by the grace of God, I am currently the No. 2 citizen. We should be so much more than we are right now, but for decades of feckless governance in the past. I am also not SEEKING for posterity to ‘extricate’ me or the administration. I am WORKING, under the leadership of my boss, His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, to give posterity all the proof it will need to judge us favourably.
We drew up the New Direction Blueprint as our roadmap for accelerated development of Kogi State in all her constituencies as soon as my boss took office. We set targets in Education, Health, Infrastructure & Utilities, Job Creation & Youth Engagement as well as Public Service & Pension Reforms. Security and Agriculture are designated as priority focus areas till now. The pursuit of these targets, and nothing else, is our preoccupation in government.
I will not go into details about our achievements but we publish a compendium at the end of every year of governance to document accomplishments in a verifiable manner. I commend our 4 Referral Compendia (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019) to you. If you swing by the Office, I will even personally present a set to you. Your task would be to go out and see how many out of the hundreds of our projects depicted you can disprove.
I can say boldly, with the fear of God, that if it is evidence of good governance you seek in asking these questions, that is, if you are not just engaging in politicised scurrility, you will find that while we have been by no means perfect, or wonderful even, our government has made very strong efforts in providing the good governance that we preach.
Your 3rd question is an easy one. If Kogi State were to be my own private company, I would have no qualms at all hiring my boss and myself, along with a good chunk of our current and past team members to run it. We have the youthfulness, learning and character plus an enhanced appreciation of the complex dynamics involved in running a diverse society like Kogi. On top of that we are learning and improving every day. I am also satisfied that in all things we have striven to do our best, which is the best we can do.
I am not surprised though that some find our manners and approaches intolerable. We cannot be the youngest team in governance in Nigeria today (as you rightly pointed out), and not have some ‘old prophets’ who expect us to surrender our state and our people for them to run contrary to the vision given to us by the Almighty God who supplanted them to plant us. We find it funny that such people act confounded when they discover that our allegiance lies only to God and to the good people of Kogi State who elected us twice to be their leaders.
I find your 4th question somewhat disappointing, coming from you. If there is anything that has characterised the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello right from inception, it is the EBIGO philosophy of cooperation, integration and unity in Kogi State. It has become a tenet of governance and has become the main determinant of spread in appointments, projects and programmes.
The scholarship awards for Igala students who earned first class degrees in their various disciplines is a historical event to which I was invited this year by the organisers. It was set up many years ago by the illustrious Professor Francis Idachaba, NNOM, OFR, professor of agricultural economics and chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian National Merit Award who also became Vice Chancellor of Kogi State University (now Prince Abubakar Audu University), Anyigba.
No, we did not select the students of one tribe and ignore others. I was invited this year by the organisers and it was a privilege for me to participate in whatever way I could to simultaneously celebrate the late erudite scholar who founded the awards as well as the budding talents who distinguished themselves so spectacularly in their academics.
There is no office like that of the Deputy Governor of Kogi East, only that of the Deputy Governor of Kogi State o.