Yahaya Bello: A Load of Pants!


One critical truth that a majority of the people may not like to admit is that contrary to insinuations, Nigeria is actually a land of immense opportunities. It’s also a land of the free. Indeed!

You just need to juxtapose your facts, albeit objectively, against those places you fancy in other parts of the world and see for yourself what blessings you trample on each day.

In spite of its sprawling shortcomings, this country offers huge opportunities, the type you may not get to experience in several places. It gives so much that its magnanimity also creates monsters, inadvertently.

But because people dwell quite often on the imperfections, they lose sight of the things that Nigeria gets right and based on the mindset created by the former, they judge everything else.

Take stock of the nation’s leadership recruitment at different era – civilian and military – you’d realise that more Nigerians in their prime have had the opportunity to serve than those considered the older generations.

However, because a majority of those in politics hardly boast a second address, many of them tarry long on the scene, and age on the stage to become the much-talked about “older generation”. They actually got on that stage in their prime.

The embattled former governor of Kogi State, a young man, who assumed office at 40 and left eight years after, is a total mess – an example of what leadership shouldn’t be, not even in a captured colony.

Not only was he reckless in words and in deeds, he was also needlessly haughty. Not one of his colleagues ever spoke well of him. He had an opportunity to retell the Nigerian story from the youth perspective but bundled it, mercilessly.

Mean, brutish and nasty, he ruled over the people of Kogi but didn’t serve them as he swore to the oath of office. He ruled each day as though he wasn’t ever going to quit. He didn’t plan his exit and therefore left nothing to circumspection.

For one, there was nothing to like about him as he refused to live by personal examples. Many people’s disdain for him swelled when the PDP woman leader in the state, Salome Abuh, was murdered in the most heinous manner under his reign and during the struggle for his reelection.

Abuh more or less died in vain. While not insinuating he killed the woman, he continued in office as if nothing happened. Apart from the arrest of six by the police, Bello made no effort to get to the root of it, but instead danced on her grave in celebration of his re-election victory. That woman was burnt alive in her house on November 18, 2019.

Bello spent state resources as though they were his personal heritage. He had no respect for processes and procedures. He thought the office of the governor was a license to disrespect people and institutions, age regardless. His position on Covid-19 revealed he was a terrible leader. High-handed and badly mannered, he is currently stewing in his own juice.

For all it is worth, Bello has shown without equivocation that the EFCC allegations against him might be true. Taking flight from the law is the most disingenuous thing anyone could ponder, much less a former governor. He has damaged the possibility of bail if detained because he is arguably now a flight-risk.

Eighty billion naira fraud is criminally unforgivable, coming from a state supposedly in the backwaters. Someone like him should have been eager to face his music. He had a long notice served by the EFCC but he thought he could get round it through brigandage.

Bello should stop running from the law and give himself up. His five minutes are up. It is shocking but disgraceful to imagine that the white lion is after all timid and lily-livered. This hide and seek is evidently an admission of guilt.

The way and manner Bello has made a terrible example of leadership as a young man in power, is how the law should make a very good example of him in this auspicious criminal trial.

Unfortunately, it does seem that the Kogi State Governor, Usman Ododo, does not understand the reason immunity is extended to him by the constitution. It is not to encourage and shield criminality, but to help him ward off distractions that might line up his path in the discharge of his duty.

Thus, preventing agents of state from discharging their constitutional duty, the same constitution from where he also derives immunity, is not loyalty but sheer criminality. Common sense presupposes that he could use his office to get his forner boss a good lawyer and stand by him all the way.

But with his action a few days ago, Ododo also comes off as yet another error in office, who is using the power derived from the constitution through immunity to undermine the same constitution and project utter criminality.

Above all, the federal government has handled this very well. From the police to the immigration services, the signal of security withdrawal and being watchlisted are timely and spot-on.

What is not acceptable, however, is the idea of using the military to invade a Government House in the bid to arrest him. It’s an overkill and not acceptable.

In all, just as Mr. Bello, has been advised by the AGF, Lateef Fagbemi, he should get himself a good lawyer and let the cinema viewing of this epoch trial commence in earnest.

Best of luck!

Olawale Olaleye


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