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Governor Idris Wada And His Bag of Troubles By Abdullahi Yunusa

November 19, 2013

This is certainly not the best of times for Governor Idris Wada of Kogi state. This is no doubt a season of one day, many troubles for the Dekina born pilot turned politician. For him, it’s a season of loads of challenges in gargantuan proportion. As he tries to wriggle his way out of one trouble, he stumbles into a bigger, hydra-headed and complex one.

This is certainly not the best of times for Governor Idris Wada of Kogi state. This is no doubt a season of one day, many troubles for the Dekina born pilot turned politician. For him, it’s a season of loads of challenges in gargantuan proportion. As he tries to wriggle his way out of one trouble, he stumbles into a bigger, hydra-headed and complex one.

For many political observers in Kogi state or simply put, those sympathetic to the embattled governor’s course, the problems confronting him are just too much for a political toddler of Governor Wada’s ilk. For Governor Wada, trouble is another name for his administration. While trouble trickle in for other state governors, it pours on Captain Wada torrentially like the August rain. At a time other state executives are busy romancing power, globe-trotting and cooling off with friends over bottles of Champagnes, Captain Wada is daily striving hard to defend weighty and massive political punches from members of the opposition parties as well as opposition elements within the local chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

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Since his emergence as governor of the Confluence State two years ago, Captain Wada has indeed recorded a plethora of challenges, with some posing serious dangers to his life. He has escaped death by the whiskers in two different road crashes since his entry into the Lugard House in Lokoja. In one of such accidents which occurred while Captain Wada was on his way from Anyigba, an ancient town in the eastern part of the state, his Aide Camp, Idris Mohammed, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, died on the spot.  Other occupants of the SUV, including the governor sustained varying degrees of injuries. For many, Captain Wada is on the verge of winning the unenviable award of the state Governor with the highest number of road crashes since Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999.   

Recently, last week to be precise, Captain Wada was in the news again for the wrong reason. It was yet another car crash involving the governor’s convoy and the car conveying former ASUU boss, Professor Festus Iyayi, which regrettably, claimed the erudite Professor’s life. As usual, courtesy of Nigeria’s bourgeoning, highflying and combative online and social media platforms, the incident went viral. Expectedly, the next day, the story featured prominently on the front pages of most local print media establishments, radio and television stations. For those in Wada’s camp, hell was let loose. His aides, who obviously were irked by recurring crashes involving their principal, made frantic efforts to ‘contain’ the situation. But regrettably, their efforts made little or no difference as the world was already feasting, with reckless abandon, on the news of the accident.

The late Professor Festus Iyayi who, according to media reports died on the spot when the accident occurred in Banda village, few kilometers away from Lokoja, was on his way to Kano for ASUU’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting as part of ongoing efforts to resolve the lingering face-off between the Federal Government and striking public university lecturers.

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Unfortunately, Professor Iyayi never made it to Kano.  

With no intention of holding brief for Governor Idris Wada, who of course is the number one culprit in the accident saga, and his team of reckless, callous, unprofessional and bloodthirsty drivers, I implore all concerned Nigerians to give sound reasoning a chance before laying Wada's throat on the slaughter slab. Facts should be separated from chaffs. Jaundiced opinions should be watered down. Careless scribbling of unsubstantiated claims should be left where they ultimately belong- the gutter.

Undoubtedly, for obvious reasons, we cannot absolve Captain Wada of blame in Professor Iyayi's unfortunate death last Tuesday. Being the man in charge and control of all the cars in his fleet, he takes the knocks and jibes arising from the unpardonable recklessness and annoying overzealousness of his aides, including his drivers. Professor Iyayi’s departure has no doubt depleted the rank of committed, patriotic and unblemished advocates of popular struggles in the country. That he died while on a commendable mission of redeeming the mess that is left of our once high-flying Ivory Tower, buttresses the fact he wanted the best for Nigeria and Nigerians. We are in pains. We have lost a fine academic, a scholar of local and international repute, a fearless, purposeful and vibrant labour man and strategist. It is very painful that Professor Iyayi went the way of all mortals at a time efforts are on to meaningfully revamp Nigeria’s tertiary education.
Governor Wada was still battling with a select team of elders in Kogi state, under the aegis of Kogi Elders Forum over the governor’s move to secure a N20 billion bond from a select number of commercial banks in the country when a car in his convoy crashed into Professor Iyayi’s car. The elders are not only against the bond issue, but are equally not pleased or satisfied with his government’s poor governance records. According to the elders, the Captain Idris Wada-led administration has not justified how it has spent the billions of naira from federation account and funds from the Internally Generated Revenue. In their thinking, Wada and his team have reduced governance to a Kindergarten affair.  
The elders are indeed out for a serious business. All they want and seek for, is for Governor Wada to convincingly give account of his stewardship since he assumed office. In their summation, Kogi is not faring well under Wada’s watch. And that Kogi and its people are fast becoming huge economic and social burdens to neighbouring states and the FCT. The allegations are much. But the questions that keep agitating the minds of concerned Kogites and other Nigerians are, who are these elders and what could simply be responsible for their resolve to engage ‘their own’ product in war of wits?  Are these elders different from those on whose shoulders Governor Wada rode to the Lugard House in Lokoja? So many questions about this bunch of ‘emergency elders’ and what they are out to achieve.
A cursory look at the names of those who constitute the group shows that most of them, if not all, contributed in no small measure to the mess Kogi state is presently enmeshed in. The list had one time Senator from Kogi East, Alex Kadiri, one time Acting Governor and Speaker, Clarence Olafemi, former state PDP chairman, John Odawn, Rtd AVM Salihu Atawodi and media guru, Dr Ojo Adinoyi Onukaba. Of the above listed names, with the exception of AVM Salihu Atawodi and Ojo Onukaba, others have held political offices within and outside Kogi state. These elders are only out to display what they are good at doing- seeking for relevance in the face of clear rejection or where none exist.  These so called elders are largely responsible for the state’s backwardness in all ramifications. With due sense of seriousness, most of these elders were responsible for the emergence of a barely literate Alhaji Ibrahim Idris as governor first in 2003 and 2007. Among them are high-profile election riggers and result fixers. For these elders to have risen against a man they conspiratorially brought to power at this time evidently shows that all is not well. Things have indeed fallen apart. The falconet no longer hears the falconer.

In matching their words with action, these elders had last week issued a press statement where they made their positions known to the world. The statement which was jointly signed by Sen. Alex Kadir, Former Acting Governor Clarence Olafemi, Former PDP Chairman John Odawun, AVM Salihu Atawodi (Rtd) and Dr Adinoyi Ojo Onukaba, the elders said they are “worried that a government with a track record of profligacy, ineptitude and visionlessness, the N20 billion will go down the drain again without noticeable and meaningful development in the state.”

Undoubtedly, the issues raised by the elders are germane as well as critical. They truly want to know what the Captain Wada-led government has been doing with the state’s resources since he assumed power. This is a challenge to the governor and members of his team. This is a unique opportunity for them to tell the world, and not just Kogites alone, how they have utilized the billions of Naira from Abuja and the funds generated from within.

Unfortunately, this is simply a case of the right message delivered by the wrong messenger. Yes, these elders are not fighting for the common masses in Isanlu, Ogaminana, Aiyetoro-Gbede, Egbe, Ogugu, Okaba, Koton Karfe or Ogori Magongo. It is more of personal and group battle. This is why some of us are not too comfortable with the positions, intentions and motives behind these elders’ actions. We don’t have confidence in these elders. They are part and parcel of the plethora of problems that Kogi and Kogites are daily battling with. We cannot look for solutions to our problems in the hands of those responsible for our woes. Captain Idris Wada is a product of their machination. This is not the time to depart from a man they literarily hand-picked to govern the state.

If these elders really want us to see sense in their actions and intentions, they should first and foremost retrace their steps towards Wada’s predecessors, Ibrahim Idris, who allegedly frittered the state’s resources with reckless abandon. Till date, no one, not even the EFCC has deemed it necessary to invite former Governor Ibrahim Idris for questioning. But I’ve sincerely lost the number of times this same EFCC has invited and interrogated former Governor, Prince Abubakar Audu over alleged corruption charges. We expect these same elders to beam their searchlight on former leaders of the state, across all levels, who were believed to have enriched themselves with tax payers’ money.

Abdullahi Yunusa wrote in from Imane, Kogi state, [email protected]


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters


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