The game of politics is always changing and it always boils
down to interests. This is why politicians are considered
untrustworthy, shifty and dodgy. When politicking
candidates are given allowance as politicians, immediately
they win, the allowance goes and nobody accepts their
politicking any more. They have become government who
must not twist or turn and who must be forthright including
fulfilling the promises from the time of the twist and turn.
Gov Yahaya Bello
When campaigning and during elections, politicians consider
self-interest or interest of political stakeholders relevant to
them. When they win elections and form government, they
are expected to do all they do and govern in the interest of
the people. President Muhammadu Buhari and the All
Progressives Congress, APC, have tried to change this
system. They came to power in 2015 after campaigning not
on the interest of politicians but on the interest of the
Though there were many with them who were with them in
their own interest, the country believed Buhari was only
interested in the interest of the people. Four years after,
people believe more that he is in the interest of the people.
People blame APC’s misfortune and disorganization on a
president who abandoned the party and politics for the
people. A president who acted more as the leader of a
nation than the leader of his party. This was frustrating for
the politicians in his party, but he did not change. He did
not interfere or speak till Senate President, Speaker of the
House of Representatives, Senator Shehu Sani and many
others left the party and he still did not interfere.
When it was time for re-election, the party and politicians
were afraid and some were telling him he made a mistake
not to politick and pay attention to the party because it
was in disarray and some had left and the support base
was weak. The President refused to make appointments
based only on allegiance to the APC. He did not award
juicy contracts and oil blocks to party faithful. People
were wondering where the money for election will come
from when the faithful and party structure had not been
oiled or “empowered”. But because he kept the interest of
the people at heart instead of the vested interests in the
party, he won election again.
President Buhari’s only stain on his “interest of the people”
reputation is the albatross of Kogi State. It is widely
believed that he brought Yahaya Bello to power and has
sustained him in power. Bello proudly and arrogantly
claims ‘sonship’ to the President and does not fail to
remind everybody that everything he is doing has
presidential backing. When the president returned from
London, he was the only one to declare a Public Holiday.
He frequents Aso Rock Villa to visit the President. Rumour
has it that was he who bought the president’s expression
of interest in form.
The only blemish on the President and his family’s
reputation in Kogi is why a father who is interested in the
people does not call his ‘son’, Yahaya Bello to order? The
only blame on the President in Kogi is that he has said and
done nothing for almost four years that Bello has not paid
salaries, that he has been inflicting untold hardship on the
So why is he seemingly supporting Bello when all are crying
and begging him to save and rescue them from Bello?
The president has a good opportunity to show example by
denying Yahaya Bello and telling him if he is truly a son, he
will not disgrace and spoil his father’s name and so he
should not contest. He should not contest not because
there is fear he can win, but because there is fear
presidency is behind him. There is concern that his do or
die attitude will be on ground. He should not contest not
because he can win because he can never win. He should
not contest so that there will be no loss of life in Kogi.
Openly condemning what Yahaya Bello has done and plans,
denying him the ticket is the only message from the
presidency and APC that can be loud in Kogi. It Is the only
message that cannot be misinterpreted by Bello’s militia. It
is the only message that can assuage the pain of many.
This is not the time to be silent. This is your legacy, Mr.
President. The nation wants to remember you for rescuing
people. It is time to rescue Kogi. They voted for you
because of you. They voted against you because of Yahaya
Bello. You won elections because of you, the margin was
not more because of Bello.
*Oyedepo, a public affairs commentator, wrote from Lokoja