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PEACE: The duo in Kogi shows Nigeria the way

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Chief Edward Onoja & Gov Yahaya Bello

I hope everyone can see how Yahaya Bello and Edward Onoja are skillfully steering Kogi State on the path of peace in this time of national upheavals?

Whatever their shortcomings in governance nobody can deny that these two young men are displaying a level of emotional intelligence and crisis management capacity not easily seen in Nigerian leadership.

The way they managed the Covid-19 pandemic without lockdown of the state and still made sure Kogi did not become a killing ground for the disease (in fact the state does not have one confirmed case of the disease till today) is a case study for the world.

How they have ensured youths who should be in school from Primary to tertiary institutions are in school and studying without being held to ransom by covid or ASUU is nothing short of magic. Only federal tertiary institutions are closed in Kogi now.

Also, nobody who loves masterful leadership can truly claim not to be impressed with how they provided leadership during the #EndSARS protests. When the protesters brought their grievances to Government House Yahaya Bello (GYB) and Edward Onoja and principal officers of the State Cabinet walked into their midst and held a powwow. Not only did they bond with the youths of Kogi to find common grounds that day, the Governor who was the first sitting Chief Executive of a state to stand openly with the original #EndSARS protests frequently reached out to smoothen ruffled feathers across the country. Everyone agrees that if the protesters had listened to him, they would have gone home with more wins and the country would have been spared the current pains.

But perhaps the duo’s biggest hit was the street credibility they displayed today. At a time Governors and other elected officials were fleeing from rampaging looters armed with dangerous weapons in other states, Edward Onoja walked into the midst of crowd of them today. He not only lived to tell the story, he calmed the guys down and had them dancing and chanting ‘GYB! GYB! GYB!’ before he departed.

If you haven’t already, watch the viral video of the incident.

The Kogi State Deputy took word from the Governor to the boys who were facing off with security agents at a state storage facility where relief materials for flood victims were kept. It was a tense situation with the youth hellbent on cleaning out the place and the security agents determined to stop them. There was high possibility of a a confrontation which would have resulted in deaths before CEDO (as the Deputy Governor is fondly called) arrived. Dressed in casuals with his trademark Gatsby beret cap on, he exchanged bangers with the crowd then spoke to them on a mutual level. They hit a compromise almost immediately. Government declared open season on the supplies and the boys promised to keep Lokoja safe. Just two minutes with them and CEDO had defused the explosive tension. It became a carnival after that. I doubt if there is any other Deputy Governor in this country right now who can achieve that feat.

It was truly a wonder to behold and I seriously commend GYB and CEDO for building a connection with their fellow youth which has been called upon time and time again to save dicey situations.

To their credit the duo have grown in national stature. They have become experienced in security and uniting diverse tribes and religions. What they don’t know about politics and governance they seem eager to learn. As it becomes increasingly clear that Nigerians are preoccupied with how to save this country from becoming another Libya, Syria or Yemen over the next 10 years, players must look towards Kogi to learn a thing or two.

It’s clear there is a language common to young minds. You call it “Y” code. You won’t be far from the TRUTH.

Opinion

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