By Capt. Daniel Omale
Ibrahim Idris, alias Ibro, in my opinion, could have been considered the luckiest man on planet earth at the time of his ascendance to the podium. A furniture maker with little social and political exposure, marginal academic background and blurred in everyrational sense to win an election into such a position of responsibility became victorious. Providence further enhanced his governorship seat and he ruled the state for nine wasted years.
When it became obvious that Captain Idris Wada would succeed Alhaji Ibrahim Idris as the governor of Kogi State, I sent Captain Wada a text message. The SMS was “Skipper, you don’t belong in politics.” His answer to me was simply this: “Dan, at my age, I should know what I am doing.”
Captain Wada was damn correct, he alone knows what he is doing. From everyone else’s perspective, Wada has done nothing to uplift Kogi State and its people and there is no visible sign that he will change course soon.
An airline pilot’s linear visual cue on the horizon must be expanded tenfold to view the ever active political drama in Nigeria. A captain’s absolute authority in the aircraft must be diluted and refined as every indigene of the state is a stakeholder, who can always question the commander’s decisions.
To be fair to the governor, he was given, on a platter of gold, the most enviable social/political position in Nigeria. No one, not in the history of Nigeria would decline such a gift. Wada should not be blamed or criticised for non-performance. After all, there was an election and the electorate bestowed the mantle of leadership on him. Unfortunately, that’s the position of the law.
The protracted litigation and the resultant victory further cemented his legitimacy to the throne.
In retrospect, since 1999, every civilian governor of Kogi State emerged as a result of some unexplainable circumstances. Prince Abubakar Audu won the election against all odds, because of the block votes of the Igala people. The political party he rode to victory on, the All People’s Party (APP), was not tipped to win, as President Obasanjo and his tough, formidable disciples like Ahmadu Ali were in the dominant party at the centre. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presented more refined, educated and influential candidates, but they were members of the minority tribes in the state.
Prince Audu’s extra-large ego led to his failure in the re-election contest.
With all his shortcomings, the only real infrastructural development in Kogi State can be credited to Audu Abubakar. Kogi State University is an outstanding legacy of Audu’s short term in office.
Ibrahim Idris, alias Ibro, in my opinion, could have been considered the luckiest man on planet earth at the time of his ascendance to the podium. A furniture maker with little social and political exposure, marginal academic background and blurred in every rational sense to win an election into such a position of responsibility became victorious. Providence further enhanced his governorship seat and he ruled the state for nine wasted years. His tenure heightened underdevelopment, as every accelerated programme of his predecessor was halted.
Echocho, who was prepared to lead the state and won the election to succeed Ibro, was arm-twisted in a political drama and only Ibro can explain the reason behind his sudden change of heart and betrayal of the people’s mandate.
What is most appalling about Kogi is that in all the 19 northern states, Kwara is Kogi’s only rival in terms of high literacy level. The number of enlightened individuals in Kogi State, by virtue of their political and academic positions in Nigeria is a natural prelude to selection of a viable governorship candidate for the state.
Captain Wada, in all aggregate benchmarks, is qualified to govern the state. He is an experienced and exposed professional pilot, who has travelled round the world. He is equally sound in academics with a Master’s degree in Business Administration.
Unlike his two predecessors, the people of Kogi State will not forgive Wada for ineptitude, lack of vision and outright negligence of the trust bestowed on him. Although it is difficult for the majority of the stakeholders of the state to understand the captain’s mindset and why the main street at the centre of Lokoja is riddled with potholes (roads in the local government headquarters are even worse).
As a former road contractor during his godfather’s administration, Captain Wada should justify to himself why Kogi State does not deserve better services in his tenure.
Nigeria’s parody of democracy, where successors are simply appointed by the incumbent at the expense of the electorate, cannot encourage economic development and prosperity.
It is common knowledge that Idris Wada has been plotting his re-election route, despite the poor performance. If continuation of his tenure is the only assurance that Kogi people will benefit from his administration and because he is a bloodline PDP member, nothing will jeopardise his re-election, he should not forget “people power”.
It saddens me to see the gradual deterioration of the roads in the state. Township roads in most of the local government headquarters are either barely usable or outrightly impassable. Government primary schools have been forcefully closed due to lack of government support, as teachers are owed months in salary arrears.
There are many theories for Captain Wada’s performance. The first is that Ibro, his political godfather and benefactor, left huge debts for him to offset. The second theory explains that the protracted legal battle with Echocho immensely created a deep hole in the state’s treasury. Some people even insinuated that about N250m from the state’s monthly allocation was paid to a law firm belonging to a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), an indigene of Kogi State, to fight the legal battle.
Whatever the reason, Kogi State is bleeding profusely from pure mismanagement.
Despite its natural resources, Kogi State is devoid of potential economic growth. Farming is purely subsistence based. Poverty has become the order of day to day activities.
For now, the misfortune of Kogi State continues.
Articles and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of WooferBuzz