Sunday, March 20, 2016 9:47 am
Petra Akinti Onyegbule
Caveat emptor: I am writing this article as Petra, a daughter of Kogi State, because the indignation I feel due to the unprecedented and inconceivable rot that has been entrenched in the state of my birth.
This decay I see and the agony it weighs on my soul cannot be adequately expressed if I do not remove the toga my office. Ordinarily, this paragraph should not be necessary but, as is expected, there are some people of great mischief and depravity, who would rather pull this piece into their gutter of division and political reproach. This paragraph takes care of such characters.
Recently, I shared the story on Facebook of how my boss, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the Kogi State Governor, uncovered the fact that the Two Billion Naira loan secured by the past administration from the Central Bank of Nigeria was being abused and misused. The money was meant to be given to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) to support the entrepreneurs in their businesses and drive employment and productivity. This fund was collected on behalf of the people to end the hunger and suffering of many, and would, after some time, be returned to the source from the people’s collective purse. Yet, it was being shared amongst a crooked few with reckless abandon. However, instead of my all fellow Kogites to join the Governor in his indignation against those pilfering away our future, I was flummoxed to find a very garrulous few questioning the possibility and veracity of such a discovery.
If anyone is saying were they in the shoes of the Governor and saw circulars and memos written, in English no less, outlining a liability they inherited, yet claim they could not reach a conclusion that should lead to inviting the relevant authorities to investigate the fraud, it simply means they hardly possess the required intelligence needed to occupy a position where commonwealth is entrusted to them.
How can a loan taken for the development of a critical sector be disbursed by cash, without a trace of applications from the beneficiaries? Why convert the funds into illegal grants and claim all was done in good faith?
It is perplexing and unfortunate for anyone to defend such monstrous wickedness against the common good of all Kogites over political, tribal or religious affiliations. Seeing how vociferously this group of individuals, whose names are unworthy to feature in this missive, are concocting and sharing falsehood all over the place, I can only conclude that it is either they are beneficiaries of this great heist or that they suffer from the most acute form of Stockholm Syndrome.
Kogi is a beautiful mess. Alright, she is terrible mess. People who should protect her have, at best, closed their eyes to the rot or, at worse, participated actively in her merciless and bestial rape. She cries for succour; she wails for sanctuary. She will get both and nourishment to boot.
Yahaya Bello is saying, “Enough of the division that only benefits the privileged few! Away with the cancer of tribalism that only feeds the scavengers!!” Will we ignore his call for unity and progress simply because of his origins, which he had no choice in the matter? Will you place your angst for the manner in which he divinely emerged over your love for your state? If you have another place to call home, how about the millions under this yoke? Isn’t it time for respite? Isn’t it time to take back Kogi?
But I am not altogether surprised at this turn of events. I am sure my Governor does not expect to take on the hydra-headed monster called corruption, which has brought Kogi to her bleeding knees, and expect corruption not to fight back. Corruption must surely fight back. What I know is that with Yahaya Bello’s determination and passion to recover every looted penny from the Kogi treasury, corruption WILL BE DEFEATED!
I expect everyone who desires the best for Kogi State to join hands with our Governor to recover our stolen patrimony and send destroyers of our heritage where they belong. Let the courts determine what they will. God, in His own way and time, will settle all man and matters.
Did I put a caveat above? Oh, well! In this fight, there is little room for gentility. We shall give it what it takes. Soon, very soon, what is hidden from you will be brought to light. Hopefully, the scales will fall off. That is, if those scales are actually there. For like Chris Ngwodo shared a few days ago, “The most difficult person to wake is the one pretending to sleep.”
Whatever happens, Kogi shall be free from chains – one ministry at a time and sector by sector. The time to heal our land is NOW!
*Petra Akinti Onyegbule is the Senior Special Assistant to the Kogi State Governor on Electronic Media