Politics and Policy

The Cost of a Bello-guering Public Holiday

The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, declared a public holiday on August 21, 2017, for his people to offer thanks for the return and health of President Muhammadu Buhari to the country.

Governor Bello, of the ruling APC, was among the first batch of Governors to visit Buhari in London, that’s according to that dodgy breakfast table photo. He, Bello, was also at the Airport to welcome the President when he returned on Saturday, August 19, 2017.

Before Buhari’s return, Kogi State had been in the news for the existence of some mysterious sickness which was taking lives; it has now been identified as Gastroenteritis, a technical name for a kind of stomach upset. It is also in the same state that a significant number of public officials are owed salaries for months, but the Governor has put up a state-of-the-art new mansion in his country home Okene.

At 42, Governor Yahaya Bello should be the pointer for young people around the country that the future of effective and virile leadership lies with the youth but the accidental Governor could not be any worse as an albatross to the cause. From one attention-seeking experiment to another, including the collapse of his bid to send Senator Dino Melaye packing from the Senate, the former civil servant has appeared more unfit for the role he occupied, the cap too oversize.

A public holiday to pray for a President who has resumed work does not make fundamental sense. How could it be that huge swathes of the Nigerian population, including Kogi people, have been praying and fasting, protesting and fighting, for President Buhari to return only for them to now take a holiday when he resumes work? That must be like the mother who presses on his son for so long to get married and on his wedding day urges him to consider admission letters from seminaries.

It should be that the financial cost of public holidays are borne by the entire nation, to extent that every state contributes something to the Federation account in terms of revenue. So that when a state Governor arbitrarily declares a holiday either for the birthday of his cousin’s step mother or for praying for a President who has resumed duty, the entire country ought to be outraged and demand an explanation.

Of course Governor Bello only followed the copybook of the Jigawa state Governor who in July declared a public holiday to pray for Buhari. But that was even to be on a Friday (July 7) which, though a work day, is a Muslim day of prayer, and they also were committing the late Danmasanin Kano, Maitama Sule, to prayers of repose. Governor Bello’s holiday was on a Monday and for a man who was alive and wel!!

Well, if only there was an independent legislature in any state of Nigeria which did not depend and defer to the State Governor. Pata pata, they will blow hot air, but when Don Bello beckons and bestows benevolence, they will still bow.

And pardon the spelling in that headline; you know it is actually ‘beleaguering’ right?

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