Kogi’s politics of the highest bidder

To the poor people of Adamawa who are wondering why Governor Yahaya Bello announced that he fed and housed their governor at the last party primaries in Kogi, it is called accountability.

I don’t suppose that Bello would disclose what it cost him to do what uniformed people classify as ‘esprit de corps.’ He only gave a heads up because he’ll need receipts to justify this ‘generosity’ to the auditors in case they still have eyes.

Bello’s generosity has bankrupted the state. He would rather entertain his guests than pay the salary of the workers whose sweat and toil drive the engine of state. One would have asked executhieves to desist from stopping by in Lokoja, except it would turn Lugard in his grave.

The Confluence State is known for its generosity. It was the reason nature merged the confluence of the Niger and Benue in its capital. The young Bello is not too young to disappoint. He is well known for his prodigious generosity. When avenues to squander money fail to show up in Lokoja, Bello has been known to go to Abuja to look for it. This means fuelling a few dozen vehicles and paying night allowances to members of his convoy to make an appearance before his godfather, Muhammadu Buhari.

If it looks like Buhari’s schedule didn’t get in on time, he’ll sniff out the First Son’s accidents. Sometime ago when the first son had a motorcycle accident, Bello was the first aid trainee to reach there before doctors from the State House Clinic. He remained by the boy’s bedside until a presidential plane could be fueled for the flight to Germany. He hung around long enough to receive the boy when he returned safe and sound. Loyalty doesn’t go deeper than that.

In spite of this, when Bello was being roasted for his misanthropy towards his workers, Mr. Integrity was ‘not aware.’ It is well in character and blood that Bello is back in political reckoning in Kogi.

The character and actions of the so-called global godfathers of democracy these days help every Tunde, Binta and Hussein parade themselves as democrats. Naija’s version of democracy is the democracy of the highest bidder run by recycled despots and unconscionable politricians.

People who have choices have convinced themselves that there are only the two-peas-in-the-same pods, PDP and APC to contend with. They even believe that one is or could be better than the other. They convince themselves that no other alternative is required or worth testing. A satiated lion may sleep in the goat pen; it does not tame its natural instinct. It’ll be very difficult for an angel not to fall in the company of Naija’s two parties.

You need N45 million to buy the APC presidential ticket as against PDP’s N12 million. The reader should bear in mind that only the APC is the corrupted version of the age-old talakawa party that is fighting corruption. Under the APC, a gubernatorial aspirant needs N22.5 million to pick the form. In the PDP, it’s N6 million or a little more than a quarter of its rival.

When next you heckle Naija sinnators for budgeting N5.5 billion ($15.3 million) to buy luxury cars, know that each APC member of the red chamber had to cough out N7 million for their forms while PDP members paid N4 million. House of Reps members in the APC spent N3.8 million for their expression of interest while their poor counterparts in the PDP shelled out N1.5 million.

The monies are non-refundable; and much like buying a JAMB form and registering in a miracle centre, it does not guarantee admission. Once forms are returned, each aspirant is responsible for funding their own campaign. Where delegates are required, they cover the transportation, feeding and other incidentals for their delegates.

In the last primaries in Kogi, in which Bello rose like a phoenix from the ashes of defeat to give all his co-contenders a bloody nose; he was said to have pulled about 3,000 delegates. If he was giving each one of them N150,000.00, that is N450 million. Officially, this is not bribe money, just something to make delegates vote according to the heaviness of their pockets.

Looking at all those who contested against Bello for the ticket in Kogi, most of them stand no chance. With a flawed foundation like this, democracy Nigeriana is not meant to produce leaders with solutions to problems, it is a stock exchange where those who invest need to recoup their expenditure with dividends.

That Bello, in spite of his appalling performance in governance and human relations, clinched the ticket of his party, is very understandable. That Kogi, and indeed most states in Naija, would continue to exist in name only with nothing to show, is ever guaranteed.

Kogi’s two-team politics has become a monarchy. Musa Wada, said to be the younger brother of the former two-cent ex-governor, has clinched the PDP ticket. As a microcosm of what obtains at the federal level, any hope of redemption in Kogi is a fervent prayer delivered to the voicemail of an unserviceable number. We can’t be alright!

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