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An Outsider’s View On Kogi State and Governor Yahaya Bello

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Gov Yahaya Bello

I would clearly love to state from this onset that I am not from Kogi State and most importantly, I am a card carrying member of the People’s Democratic Party. After undertaking a short visit to kogi at the invitation of my very good friend, Robert Arome Eboh, it is important I give my honest assessment of the situation I met on ground.

Robert has been my very good friend since my secondary school days, we have both participated in protests , peaceful marches and share a similar view when it comes to politics. In 2019, Robert worked with me as the director of contact and mobilization for the Progressive youths initiative of Nigeria, a support group for former vice president Atiku Abubakar. As an activist, he has been one of most dedicated people I know, you can’t buy him. Robert constantly led series of attacks on the government of Yahaya Bello in its early days. He was a strong critic of the government.

During the 2019 elections, Robert called me one Sunday afternoon and as we were drinking, he opened up and said, “Mike, I have been criticizing wrongly, Bello has been a product of a negative media attack by the PDP”. I was shocked to hear this. I wondered and asked if it was the same Bello that was owing workers and he said I took a trip to Kogi after 8months of not traveling, I could not recognize my community. Good roads among other amenities. The PDP never did this things for us. When I spoke to my leader Austin Okai, he said we shouldn’t care, all we want is to get back power. I advised Robert that if what is on ground is better than what is in the media, then it is his duty to tell people the truth. He told me that people will say he has been bought and I told him that a clear conscience fears nothing.

On the salary issue, Robert found out that the past government had thousands of ghost workers on its payroll and Bello was not committed in allowing such to happen. He wanted all workers to be digitally identified and they said he was owing workers. Who in their right senses will just wake up and owe workers for months?

A year and six months later, as he took me round Kogi State, I was impressed with what I saw on ground. Recently, the economic numbers coming out of Kogi has been great. Robert showed me at least a project done in each LGA by this government. Something that has been lacking in previous administrations.

As an outsider in Kogi, I feel the need to correct the wrong impression about the state after my latest visit. On the fun side, I met some lovely kogi ladies too.

Yahaya Bello’s biggest mistake was not to pay close attention to the media, he ignored it and his biggest critics took advantage of it. Of recent, Robert has kept me updated with the activities of the governor and his deputy Edward Onoja , a Jonny good fellow. So free that you will mistake him as a nobody.

Yahaya Bello and Edward Onoja may not have done well as expected but they have done better than the past. The state is on the rise and we must try to understand both men. Personally, I am putting together a work titled, “An Outsider’s unpopular opinion on Kogi”.

Finally, let me point this out, do not believe everything you see in the media. Once again, thank you Robert for the invite and the bag of rice. Kogi’s rice is super, I wonder why you guys have not taken it out. My opinion may be unpopular but it is my truth.

Michael Odoh

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