For a while now, Kogi state has remained in the news for all the wrong reasons. Most of the time, the problem has to do with altercations between the Governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and Senator Dino Melaye. Melaye represents Kogi West at the National Assembly. Interestingly, both men are young and belong to the ruling party. No sooner had the governor took office did we begin to hear all manner of skirmishes.
Since then, there have been attempted murders, murders and threats of more murders. Aside murders are several instances of breach of peace, riots and demonstrations. Even, normal cultural events are targeted for reprisals. All these culminated in an ill-advised recall process. While the recall was on, there was no doubt who the masterminds were. It is difficult at this time to know how much the Kogi government allegedly pumped into that project.
Just last week, leader of the labour union in the state was assassinated. At the weekend, what could have been a disaster was averted when the lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, escaped a mob attack at the Kabba Day celebration in Kogi State. Kabba is to some extent the headquarters of the senatorial district being represented by Melaye. Melaye, who arrived at the venue at about 11am, was welcomed by a mammoth crowd as he was seen snapping pictures with supporters.
News reports have it that Senator Melaye was invited to make comments and announce his donation before the arrival of Governor Bello, who we understand was already in Kabba for the occasion. Shortly after he announced a donation of N3m, Melaye headed for his car, and some thugs started throwing stones and other missiles at him. Thankfully, security men resorted to using tear gas to bring the situation under control.
Meanwhile, all the security apparatus of the state governor, led by his Aide-De-Camp and the chief details, were at the venue ahead of the governor, who was expected to grace the occasion. Reports of the event suggested that the governor refused to show up for the programme after learning of Melaye’s attack, and instead sent his donation of N20m on behalf of the state government.
The swift intervention of security personnel on the ground saved the day as one of the thugs was arrested and whisked away in a van with number plate PS 300 A/0. Meanwhile, Melaye has alleged that Governor Yahaya Bello knew about the attack on him.
Whether the governor knew about the attack or not, something is clear, the state is in perpetual thug of war between the governor and the senator. It seems there is nothing anyone can do about it. It appears Kogi has no elders, the party from which both gladiators emerged have not shown urgency in trying to tackle the issues between both men. While the people may not be so much interested in the details of whatever is causing their altercation, but at least the people should be left out of their enmity and violence.
It is shameful how this matter has dragged on for this long. The other day, because of long salary arrears owed to Kogi workers, Melaye resorted to begging his colleagues in the Senate to help alleviate the poverty in the land. We understand the state owes as much as 13 months to her workers. Probably as a result, a director in the state’s civil service committed suicide after he learn his wife was delivered of triplets.The man was obviously depressed as a result of inability to meet basic needs. Melaye’s senate mobilised and donated nearly a thousand bags of rice to the workers. Since that feat was achieved, the Kogi government has prevented the rice consignment from entering the state.
We consider what is happening in Kogi to be of immense importance to Abuja. By now the party chairman or the president should have intervened. The same way other cadres of leadership should try to find an amicable solution to the problem between both men. Continued throwing of tantrums will only paint their party in bad light. It will soil their brand and make them not electable. The in-fighting between Bello and Melaye should be halted now.