But for the fact that perception is often misconstrued as reality in this clime and even elsewhere, one would ordinarily have ignored the latest madness afflicting some embittered and frustrated foes of the Governor and Deputy Governor of Kogi State.
Perhaps suffocating under the stark reality that God and good seem to have planted a permanent hedge around the two leaders which has made them difficult to subdue, both in elections and in governance, their increasingly desperate detractors are resorting to childish psychological warfare and false propaganda about an imaginary altercation between Governor Yahaya Bello and his indefatigable loyal deputy, Edward Onoja. Maybe they believe that if they project enough ill will at them it will suddenly become true. After all, a drowning man will clutch at the flimsiest straws.
The retailers and vendors of this asinine ware are leaving no stone unturned to mislead unsuspecting members of Kogi State to believe that Governor Yahaya Bello, who won his re-election for a second term in office in stellar fashion and with an overwhelming majority of the valid votes cast, is at loggerheads with his deputy cum consiglieri, Edward Onoja, who has always stood unflinchingly by his side.
Perhaps in a bid to kill 3 birds with one stone, the fabricators of the phantom rift stories are also making concerted attempts to drag down the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Hon. Pharm. Abdulkareem Asuku, by accusing him of being the rift-maker and capo di tutti capo of troublemakers between his two leaders.
In reality, anyone who, like this author, is familiar with the inner workings of Lugard House as the Kogi State Government House is fondly called, knows that Hon. Asuku who took over as Chief of Staff after Chief Edward Onoja served Bello in that capacity for almost four year before moving on to his current position, can often be found in amicable tête-à-tête with his predecessor comparing notes, fashioning out strategies or simply touching base.
Unfortunately for those who have been cursed with the onerous task of fabricating disenchantment between people who have no problems at all with each other, their burden is a deadweight with no destination. It is in this regard that these unfortunate propagandists are most like Sisyphus who, in Greek mythology, was punished by the god Zeus, who forces him to roll a massive boulder up a hill for eternity. Every time he nears the top of the hill, the boulder rolls back down. In like manner, as each story of rift collapses before the evident amity between the three gentlemen, their detractors have to find a heavier story next time, vainly attempting to balance out past failures.
It is pertinent to state without equivocation that Governor Bello and his Deputy remain the best of friends that they have always been. As far as official functions and private lives are concerned, Onoja remains unapologetically loyal to his boss who continues to describe him Onoja as his siamese twin and trusted man.
A stranger does not even need to travel far to confirm for himself that all is well in Lugard House. How will a boss who is aggrieved with his deputy send him to represent him at every august event that he cannot himself attend owing to competing pressures of office? From meetings of Governors to coronation of traditional rulers to congresses of key religious and civil organisations, Chief Edward Onoja has been honoured by Yahaya Bello to represent him. If there was such a rift as the abjects hopefully promote, the Governor would simply have reserved his exclusive rights to attend such events to himself. We have seen other governors do it and the heavens did not fall.
For the avoidance of doubt, those trying to drive a non-existent wedge between the two leaders and by extension, the Governor’s Chief of Staff were the same unhinged elements who concocted all manners of mendacious lies to discredit the Governor from being re-elected for a second term in office in the November 2019 gubernatorial election. It is clear that having failed in their satanic and sinister agenda to stop the duo from being reelected, they are now trying to create an imaginary altercation between the Governor and his loyal Deputy so that they can derail them from delivering on the social contract they made with the people of Kogi State.
In any case, and there is a catholic truth: Chief Onoja has never hidden his unalloyed loyalty and undiluted commitment to whatever Governor Bello stands for or represents, long before the Governor even contested in any election. The Governor, likewise, has never hidden his love and respect for his impassioned loyalist and number one fan. The two of them, by every feasible metric of evaluation, are the closest Numbers 1 and 2 citizens of any state in Nigeria today.
It is on record that many in Kogi East, the largest senatorial district in the state and the one with the largest voting strength, were against the re-election of Governor Bello in 2019 under the premise that power must shift back to the zone where it has always domiciled since the creation of Kogi State until Bello, an Ebira from Kogi Central, shattered the ceiling and won the seat in 2015.
At the risk of sounding obvious here, one is certainly going to be labelled as anti-Igala if you projected Bello for Governor in 2015, succeeded then tried same again in 2019. Yet Onoja, product of a unity college and a detribalized Nigerian like his boss, put friendship far and above primordial tribal sentiments and ethnic provincialism and staked everything to ensure that his principal won reelection. A deputy who wanted to undermine his boss could have nursed dreams of his own. But that is not just the character and the essence of Chief Edward Onoja.
One of the purveyors of these falsehood is one Austen Anibe. He has openly written pernicious falsehoods trying to impugn the characters of the Governor and Deputy of Kogi State. Being a serial conman and blackmailer, one can only wonder what favours the duo in Lugard House denied him – either directly or by accident.
Of course, nobody ever takes Austen Anibe seriously because there is, among the sensible public, credible suspicion that he may not be totally compos mentis. This suspicion of impaired mental functioning is fuelled in part by the wild and uncoordinated nature of his myths. For instance, in recent publications on social media he alternates between pushing stories of the imaginary rift between Governor Bello and Edward Onoja and accusing them of being confederate in a hit-list of 15 notable Kogi Easterners allegedly marked for assassination in order to pave the way for an Onoja governorship run in 2023.
The question which only sane minds can see begging for an answer is, ‘how can a Yahaya Bello who is allegedly desperate to part ways and be done with Edward Onoja for good, be at the same time so committed to his as yet unstated ambition that he is willing to off 15 people for it? Laughably, Anibe adds himself and one Austin Okai, another eponymous miscreant, to that list. In which wacko universe does Austen Anibe and Austin Okai feature when men of ‘timbre and calibre’ are aggregated?
To show just how murderous Anibe is, he did everything humanly possible during the recent #EndSARS protests to hurt innocent people and only failed because nobody in Kogi State accords him any credibility. In a series of social media posts, he feverishly tried to pitch the youth of Kogi State against Chief Onoja by alleging that he warehoused COVID-19 palliatives in his private residence in the village. He also claimed motorcycles meant for the youths were hidden away in Onoja’s father’s house.
All the allegations were totally false and baseless, but had the potential for major mischief. Kudos to the youth of Kogi State who ignored the rantings of Anibe and his proprietors. Assuming our youths were not so sensible and had believed the mentally deranged laggard, hoodlums might have invaded the residence of the Deputy Governor in the village and we might possibly be mourning some serious mishap to his loved ones today. Still our people must come to agree that madness does not mean that the community will overlook a madman who consistently tries to set the village on fire. Austen Anibe must have a reckoning with the authorities for his misdeeds.
It is against the background of the foregoing that I turn my attention to other attempts to undermine Governor Bello and Deputy Governor Onoja. There is a claim of financial graft against the Governor and his Deputy by a non-existing MAWA Foundation, at least that is the name the unknown entity, otherwise known by its twitter handle @AfrikaReport, goes. Whoever is behind the sham handle alleges that N400m was spent to renovate Onoja’s Office as Deputy Governor before he moved in. It goes on to suggest that the said amount can provide clean water to 133 communities in Kogi State. It’s on record that this same Edward mobilizing resources and supported by his boss and other friends and associates have added nearly 30 of such rural water schemes since 2016. On December 5th of this year he is billed to be commissioning another 11 Projects, 7 of which are rural water projects. You can hate a man for his divine rise but can’t deny the impact he leaves behind in his track. CEDO rural touch is legendary, hence his acceptance by the people.
The publication and its claims are as false as the hidden and inconsequential fellows behind it. The simple truth is that Edward Onoja is using the Deputy Governor’s office as inherited from his predecessor. No renovation work was done. Even his official residence was only marginally renovated, and only because the previous occupants left it in such bad shape. Even at that, the amount expended to make it habitable for the new Deputy Governor is not even a percentage of a fraction of N400m. Not only that, payment was staggered over half a year to reduce the burden on state finances.
In the end, people of good conscience must ask why the purveyors of these imaginary stories of rifts, assassinations, embezzlements are coming from and where they think they are going.
One, the wasting locusts are obsessed about who succeeds Bello when his 2nd term ends in 2023. This is only 2020. No mortal can foretell what will happen tomorrow with any certainty. If only they will borrow themselves some sense they will join Chief Onoja in his frequent chorus: ‘2023 is in the hands of God and nobody can predict who will see it’. Not even those who are projecting who will be Governor in 2023 and getting ready to do and undo for it.
Two, Kogi State under His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello has been a model for judicious management of public funds. It has always ranked in the top 3 nationally in all World Bank indices for prudent management of public funds. Three weeks ago the New Direction Administration scored an unprecedented 100% in all nine indices for States Financial Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS). It is currently ranked numero uno in SFTAS in Nigeria. Those on the lookout for institutional misappropriation of public funds are destined to be disappointed for a long time.
Three, this writer is fully convinced that the reason the likes of Austen Anebe and the fake MAWA Foundation continue to fabricate and circulate fake news about Kogi and her leaders is because they have not been brought face to face with the legal consequences of their perfidy. My counsel to Bello and Onoja is to prosecute these people.
Dear Asuku, if your bosses are too soft-hearted about this matter, rise to the occasion before fake news and hate speech derail Kogi’s New Direction. It is like the good Book says in Ecclesiastes 8:11, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
In conclusion, the ways of God are not the ways of men. Like we say in our local parlance, man proposes, God disposes. The providential way Governor Bello came to be in 2015 should serve as a significant lesson to those trying to play God at the moment, marking the fate and credentials of those who will succeed Governor Bello or not. For Governor Bello, greater responsibilities await him at epic center of our national life given the yearning gap in national leadership and cohesion. His traces at the state level where he has harnessed the potentials of the youth and set them up for veritable productive is a begging template that should be replicated at the center. The big picture should be the preoccupation and not the distracting waves of neophytes parading themselves in feeble opposition or wannabes.
Kogi State is on the verge of redemption. There is a new wind of holistic and organic development blowing across the land. And that is exactly the focus of Governor Yahaya Bello. The same thematic focus drives his loyal deputy, Edward Onoja, who wants his principal to succeed against all the odds staked by the naysayers.
Barr.Zacchaeus Dare Michael,
legal practitioner, public affairs analyst and APC chieftain.
YAHAYA BELLO: THE WONDERS OF TIME
YAHAYA BELLO: THE WONDERS OF TIME.
Permit me to begin with a couple of scriptures.
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verse 11 that “To everything there is a season and a TIME for every purpose under heaven.” A similar Quranic verse says that “Allah has perfect timing, never early, never late. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith, but it is worth the wait.”
Time is the essence of everything.
It is our time. I believe it strongly in my spirit. Never has so many happenings pointed towards an opportunity for the Nigerian youth to take a hold of their own destiny. I struggle to think back at the past electioneering seasons and if we ever had a chance such as this. I think back at the increasing gap between the government and the governed and I feel a righteous indignation in my spirit. Many words clog my throat as I attempt to communicate my thoughts clearly, but I am determined to paint the required picture.
I am ready for change. The question is, are you?
What else do we wait for before we understand that dissatisfaction about the current state of affairs is not enough, but is supposed to spur the youth into actively pursuing change for themselves and the generations yet unborn. The wonder of time ensures that every generation has an opportunity to write their story, and I feel it deeply in my spirit, as do you, that 2023 presents a finger licking opportunity to make that move.
Before then, we must be actively involved in criticizing news and joining a Party that prioritizes youth and women inclusion. We must carefully observe trends before jumping into conclusions and most importantly, give the benefit of the doubt to those who have sought to change the status quo.
The merchants of time.
In order to restore Nigeria to the order where we will all be proud of, the Nigerian youth must be very serious about what happens in Nigeria, complain less and act more, make drastic moves that will result in credible change of policies and government happenings and also make use of the current pathos to change the narrative of his/her generation.
Nothing else will work. Believe me.
After all, everything we do as human beings has to be guided by a timeframe. Is it business? Once established, work is put in and subsequently, a proposition is made in your heart when you should start recording successes. Is it education? You put in the work and expect to graduate with good grades at the end of that timeline. Is it everyday activities? You wake up by 6am, you want to be prepared for work by 7am, have dropped off your kids by 7:30am and be stepping into work just before 8am in the morning.
Well, that is if you work in any State in Nigeria except Lagos, but I am sure you get my point.
You plan your days and weekends, holidays and travels. You plan everything, and divinity, the master planner, waits at the fringes to give that final push. I say this because even though we have been designed to plan every single thing, there often seems to be a greater plan which aligns perfectly with everything we have in mind. However, even fate waits for you to make a move, before giving the all-important assistance.
Nigeria, as a whole, has always operated on this principle: a timeline of opportunities.
Right from the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates, opportunities have been presented to various Nigerians to stake a claim in the bettering of Nigeria’s fortunes. Many have ruled from the North and South, East and West, always seeking to be the one under whom Nigeria begins to make great progress. They have sought, under the proposition of a timeline of expected development, to better Nigeria’s chances. They have tried and toiled, brainstormed and deliberated, yet Nigeria still seems to be lagging behind her neighbours and contemporaries.
Their generation might have been able to improve what they were given to a certain level, yet many Nigerians of that same generation are overcome with nostalgia at the thought of what they used to enjoy in their younger days, and what is available now, whilst the demography referred to as the “youth’ are filled with despair at the current state and what it means for the generations yet unborn.
That remains the failure of a generation that failed to take their opportunities. We must take ours.
At a time in Nigeria’s history, it was thought that Nigeria was ripe for amalgamation: That opportunity was taken. At another point in time, it was seen due to happenings and the body language of the Nigerian people that the time was nigh for Independence: That opportunity was taken. Later on, the Nigerian people began to tire of totalitarianism and started to agitate for a government that recognized the voice of the people, spoke for the people and executed their own desires: The opportunity of democracy was taken. And now, in a time that has been besieged by a certain discomfort at a perceived difference in cultural understanding between the ruling class and her citizens, the Nigerian youth are crying out for a change.
We must not let this opportunity slide.
His Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo during a recent chat with the youth, encouraged them to take the opportunity that has been presented to them to take charge of the affairs of their country. The activities and happenings of the past three years have shown just how much a youthful takeover of governance is required, and President Olusegun, a seasoned politician himself, must have studied the terrain before making such statements.
He urged the youth to grab their destinies and ensure that the peculiar manner with which they have splendidly handled numerous activities in this day and age be replicated in politics. A few weeks later, in a move that seemed to resonate strongly with previous statements, he met with the youngest Governor in Nigeria, appreciating him for keeping the peace when many states were in chaos, maintaining security when insecurity had bedeviled others, investing massively in infrastructure when other states were moaning about the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and most importantly, marshaling a political boat with which he had used to groom, prim and prune young politicians – both men and women – who are now poised to take the Nigerian political and business terrain by storm.
That man was Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello.
When Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello concocted in his mind the thought of becoming the Governor of Kogi State, many laughed at him. They called him a joker. They called him unserious. They called him all sorts of names and ridiculed his ambition even before the ship was prepared to sail.
Little did they know that this was a man who had been built up by experience and deep rooted doggedness: building an unrivalled strength of resolve that made criticism only a spur for greater result. He was prepared to do the impossible. He was only able to do this because he understood one thing.
He knew that Kogi State needed a change of story. It was highly disconcerting to think of Kogi State, with her vast natural resource and teeming youth – apart from its advantageous position at Nigeria’s epicenter – falling greatly behind many other states in education, infrastructure and human capital development.
He chose to ignore the histrionics that followed his defeat at the APC primary election, pushed further with his immovable desire for the development of Kogi state by offering his availability and service to the winner of the contest, until he was awarded an unfathomable opportunity by divinity to save Kogi from the imbroglio it had submerged itself due to years of bad governance.
He made a move, divinity perfected it.
The political solution at the time of his ascension had reached fever pitched saturation. The people were tired of seeing the same faces, hearing the same old tales and battling age-long, familiar strongholds. Yahaya Bello brought with his shocking rise a breath of fresh air, the verisimilitude of past hope and has used that goodwill to steer the ship away from troubled waters.
Bello understood the wonder of time.
He knew that the level at which Kogi and Kogites had found themselves required every man and woman, teenagers within the voting age and adults to use the time afforded within their generation to change their standard of living. He approached existential issues with the emollience of a seasoned, unifying political leader and built bridges long burnt by ethnic myopia.
Nigeria, in more ways than one, is a type and shadow of Kogi State.
Bello knew when it was time for Kogi to rise, and he knows that Nigeria is next.
I mean, what better time would anyone recommend for a country like Nigeria to be ruled by people who occupy most of her inner spaces. We have been kept at the fringes for too long. It is time to get out and get in. It is important to note that whatever problems we encounter during this time and age is solely created by our abstinence from active politics, and we can only change how things work when we get involved, contribute our quota and take over the reins of governance.
Bello, who was bestowed with the serious task of mobilizing women and youth for the All Progressives Congress, has never wavered in his quest to get the youth involved in politics. His has been a voice that maintained reason, constantly prodding and encouraging. He said in the now viral interview that his desire was to get the youth involved massively in politics – although his primary desire was to see them registered with the APC -, so much so that they will hold the keys to their future in their own hands.
The Siamese Twin brother to Governor Bello and Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Chief Edward David Onoja also made a statement in March which resonated strongly with my spirit. A man of enormous wisdom and depth of reasoning, he accurately captured the points which every Nigerian youth must consider in choosing who must be Nigeria’s next leader. He stated that “the 2023 elections will largely be defined by three issues in order of priority namely Insecurity, Unity-Integration and Youth-Women participation and inclusiveness.”
He went further to say that “Political platforms and persons who can provide solutions to these not by words but by clearly defined antecedents will top the list of potential victors. SEE HOW I DID IT SOUNDS MORE CONVINCING THAN SEE HOW I INTEND TO DO IT”.
You must have, you SHOULD have a proven track record before aspiring to that seat.
Bello possesses it.
We must understand that the only people capable of changing what goes on in our country in OUR generation remain those who have been born in this time, and understand the special requests of those in this age.
You cannot gift a 99-year old a brand new Ferrari and expect premium utilization. Neither can you take a 79 year old skydiving without risking a heart attack. There are things that must come at a certain age and time.
That is the solution to Nigeria’s woes.
No one can deny that Nigeria remains one of the most blessed countries in the world, certainly the apex in Africa. There is nowhere Nigerians migrate to that they do not excel. Ask yourself this question. Why does it not happen in Nigeria? It is simply because we have all the ingredients to prepare a perfect Pounded yam and Egusi, yet we give it all to a specialist in continental dishes.
A recipe for disaster.
A former Nigerian Senator and vastly popular wordsmith, Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon, once described Nigeria as “A country that wallows in a state of menicisetal statism, cankerous tribalism, ethnocentric chauvinism, syphilitic parochialism, epileptic nepotism, catalytic parapoism and state brigandish.”
While whatever that means remains beyond me, it says a lot about where Nigeria currently finds herself that it requires such a mouthful of words to describe. They are words that highlight the failure of a generation. It describes to all and sundry a vivid reflection of how they handled Nigeria when they were bestowed with that task.
It is time to pass the baton.
What do you want to say to your children when they ask what you did to better Nigeria’s fortunes when it was your TIME?
I know what I would like my answer to be. I want to say that I participated actively in putting a bridge builder at the seat of power. I want to be able to say that I supported One Nigeria when others sought its disintegration. I want to say that I was one of the hands that ushered in an age where all Yorubas, Igbos and Hausas thought of themselves as one, and joined their hands towards making Nigeria better for us all.
I want to be able to say that I did all this by supporting Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, the only person capable of making this all happen.
2023 sounds like it.
It looks like it.
It feels like it.
Let’s make it count.
Follow Aina Samuel on Twitter @ainoorh and Facebook @Sam Aina
Between Market Dominance And Sugar Crisis In Nigeria
Between Market Dominance And Sugar War In Nigeria
By Lukmon Tajuddeen.
The government of Nigeria through its various laws and agencies ensures the supervision and regulation of businesses in the country. This is to ensure the ease of doing business for investors, entrepreneurs, business-oriented persons as well as safeguarding the interests of the customers.
For almost two decades the country’s supervision agencies of businesses seem to favour Dangote’s establishments anytime at the detriment of other stakeholders, which is pushing the Nation’s economy toward disastrous end, as of Dangote’s business tactics threatening other competitors, US warns.
There is nothing wrong in business competition, but competition should be healthy without eroding the progress made by other active players. Because personification and monopoly is always a threat to other economic movers without recourse to the wider implications government policies guaranteed one mover a solid right over other competitors.
In as much as such policy favour one interest it really presents a dilemma for country’s economic policy, according to a report published in 2010 on Wikileak’s website.
This dilemma allow leading manufacturer engaging other stakeholders in a bitter rivalry on who would control sugar and cement sectors in the country is clearly displaying degree of impunity. which as result of the personalisation of cement and sugar has led to absurdly high prices for the two products, with cement now beyond the reach.
It is in public knowledge three years ago Dangote Group tried it luck by attempting to starts produced noodle but De United Foods Industries (makers of Indomie noodles) neither raised it voice nor lodged complaint against DFW’s to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment for the Group’s attempting to start indomie noodle.
Instead thecompany consolidated its strategist in maintaining its dominance in the country’s noodle market because it share of around 70 percent because the company believed it had already became a household name and is not afraid of any competitors. DFW was left with no option but sold two production lines to rival pasta maker and It’s not exactly clear why Dangote couldn’t compete in the noodles market as it predicted.
Now bubbles seemed to have burst with recent sugar price dispute in the the country’s as Dangote Sugar and Flour Mills of Nigeria jointly forwarded a petition to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment asking the Ministry of Trade to shut down BUA Group’s Sugar Refinery in Port Harcourt. Both companies requested the minister to launch a probe into the volume of raw sugar imported by BUA’s Port Harcourt refinery “and the appropriate penalty in terms of duty (60%) and level (10%) to be charged on the company”.
BUA in its own defence sent to the Minister of Trade clarified issues by stating that the company’s sugar refinery in Port Harcourt could stand-in the way of “the attainment of the National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP) and the sustainability of Nigeria’s Local Sugar Industry.
The law allows him to operate the refinery to support its role as a counter-balance to the Dangote and Flour Mills duopoly in the price manipulation. While his company has been working on backward integration project with BUA’s Lafiagi Sugar BIP, a $250 million sugar refinery set to be completed in 2022.
In additions his Port Harcourt sugar refinery will not affect in any way the backward integration programme adding that “the only way it will affect Nigerians is that Nigerians will pay lower prices for sugar. Therefore the same law allows BUA to sell inside Nigeria. Because his sugar project was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The reason behind the dispute is nothing but duopoly plan to hike sugar price during the holy month of Ramada they got across and put pressure on him to joint them for the exploitation of the consumers as people had no choice but to buy it. In nutshell his failure to do the bidding of duo companies accused him of breaking the law by selling sugar locally instead of for export.
To other stakeholders in sugar and Flour it was the right time to make good money but he put his feet down. Instead AbdulSamad has threatening to withdraw the dealership license of his dealers who found hiking prices of the commodities.
Last year, before Ramadan, sugar sold for around N18,000 per bag but as Ramadan fasting started the price jumped to 30,000 per bag and now BUA seen there was no reason to increase the price during Ramada and there is need to end in this ugly trend.
Let supervision and regulation of businesses in the country do justice by allowing everyone to compete on the same terms. To the Consumer their don’t care which company control the market what matter to them which company products had fair price because Peoples need affordable sugar and flour if BUA can bring that, surely people will patronise it
In very ideal open market policies businesses must have to compete against each other but should not be ideal for one one entity single-handedly monopolized every economic products.
As the rest of the world races towards their ever-rising targets for national development and progress, Nigerians remain bemusedly for loitering around the starting line, trying to figure out why its tactic of placing the carts in front of its horses is not working.
Nigeria is trying everything from share of lucky to even prayer, albeit without success. Peoples hope time has come to call all players to true account.
wrote in from Barnawa Kaduna and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
GENERAL YAKUBU GOWON AND GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO INTERFACE: THE MESSAGE
GENERAL YAKUBU GOWON AND GOVERNOR YAHAYA BELLO INTERFACE: THE MESSAGE
There is no gainsaying that the Nigerian political history will be incomplete without General Yakubu Gowon, fondly known as “Jack Gowon”. General Yakubu Gowon was the Military head of State in Nigeria from 1966 to 1975 and ranked the youngest head of state when he took over the leadership of the country at the age of 31 following the counter coup against Major General Aguiyi -Ironsi in July 1966.
General Yakubu Gowon with a root from the North Central political region of Nigeria is known as a nationalist, unifier and peacemaker. He is one of the few former heads of State who still remain relevant in the Nigerian political terrain today. It is on record that, though he spearheaded the Nigerian civil war in 1966, he was also instrumental to the unity and political cohesion and inclusiveness of all Nigerians in the affairs of the country and he promotes healing and reconciliation after the civil war which lasted for about three years.
He will always be remembered for his “No victor, No vanquished” speech after the civil war. So, without mincing words, General Yakubu Gowon is a symbol of Nigeria unity and the strength of togetherness.
The meeting between General Yakubu Gowon and Governor Yahaya Bello is both revealing and instructive. There is unmistakable message that must be gleaned from the meeting of the duo; here is once youthful Nigerian leader with unquestionable wealth of experience and knowledge meeting with a prospective Nigerian President with a vision to set the country on the right cause and path. It is meeting of the Nigeria’s history and Nigeria’s potential and it is a meeting of “youthful minds” for the sole progress of the Country.
One of the invaluable traits of a good leader is the ability to learn from the mistakes of the past, improve on the gain of the past and harness potentials for the betterment of the society.
Governor Yahaya Bello is passionate about steering the country in the right path, not by trials and errors but by understanding our problems as it was in the past, as it is today and avoiding same going forward and to know what happened in the past in an accurate term, requires getting information from the key players and those who had gone before you. This is one of the sure ways to overcome what has been dragging us behind as a country.
This is the message of the meeting; the unmistakable and timely interface between General Yakubu Gowon and Governor Yahaya Bello.
Barr Shadrach Emmanuel, FICMC.
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