Posted by News Express | 25 October 2019 | 803 times
Maybe you may know him, have met him or heard about the man, Kim Jong-Un. He is the Marshal-General, Political Leader of the Workers Party and President of the so-called Democratic Republic of North Korea. His popular aliases include Small Rocket Man, Missile Man, Merciless Dictator, Nerve Agent Killer, all of which were given to him by the Western press and colleagues. These names were not given to him by aristocratic parents but he earned them. For example, won't it be necessary to call him a “Merciless dictator”? For example, he ordered the execution of his own uncle, on allegations on treacherous acts; he allegedly ordered the execution of a State House official for sleeping with a general purpose machine gun while he was making a speech. The country has the world record of political prisoners: 180,000. You could be jailed if you are a North Korean, for watching a South Korean movie, make international calls without state agents’ permission. And just a few Koreans that live in Pyongyang, the capital, have access to internet which is also monitored. The hermit state is overwhelming in its oppression.
He was nicknamed the “Small Rocket Man” by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in some of his tweets concerning ballistic missiles testing and brazen development of nuclear weapon by the country that has earned it global economic sanctions. This has caused severe hunger in the country, which the North Korean Government denies. He was christened “Nerve Agent Killer” for allegedly ordering the assassination of his step brother Kim Jong-Nam in Malaysia, through nerve agent. No doubt, this guy has bad public records with the outside world. He is young, about 38 years old and, maybe, I won't be typing all these stuffs about him if I was living in North Korea, if I love my life.
But here in my own country Nigeria, a Kim Jong-Un replica has found his way into the corridors of power. And he lives in Kogi State Government House. He is the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello. He shares some characteristics of Kim Jong-Un: he is the youngest serving governor in Nigeria. His ascension to position of power is an example of sheer coincidence of luck. He lost the gubernatorial primary elections of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), but the standard-bearer of his party, Audu Abubakar, who won the elections, died before inauguration. The running-mate of the governor-elect was deprived of getting the ticket. And, Yahaya Bello, being the first runner-up, was called upon to continue the race. And, eventually, he became the governor. He doesn't tolerate criticism and opposition. He jails any blogger or writer that critises him. For example, see the case of Austin Okai on Google. He owes salary to his own state government workers, culminating in more than 15 months arrears. He ordered a Chief Judge out of a function because of political differences. A lot of unsubstantiated alleged assassination claims against political foes deluge newspaper reports. I have had the opportunity of travelling through Kogi State this year. For the records, my adventure was in August 2019 and I barely encountered or drove through a good road. Yet, the state is adorned with gigantic roadside mast signboards of adverts of the governor's second-term as governor of Kogi State, asking for votes.
Recently, the governor had attracted bad press again. This time around over the impeachment of former Deputy Governor Simon Achuba, last week. He has been estranged with his deputy for about two years now. He withheld salaries and blocked funding of the deputy governor's office by more than two years. The deputy governor got Impeachment Notice immediately he gave a press conference, asking for his salaries. The Chief Judge of the state was asked to constitute a committee to investigate the deputy governor on allegations of corruption, high handedness, dereliction of duties, among other charges. The committee was headed by a Senior Adocate of Nigeria and cleared the deputy governor from all impeachment allegations. But the (subservient) Kogi State House of Assembly still went ahead to impeach him. Initially, judges in the state refused to inaugurate the deputy governor designate but the State Chief Judge later made a U-Turn and swore him in.
The story of Kogi is preposterous! We know politics is a preposterous game, but we have one too many coming from Kogi. The people in that state are experiencing acute poverty. The people there need good governance; they’ve been starved for decades of bad governance. We don't want a Kim Jong-Un record-holder as governor in times of hardship like this for Kogi People. Maybe, electorates in Kogi should be wiser by now and search for a better leader to take over the State House, as they head to the polls next month.
•Tasheyon, a human rights activist and socio-political analyst, writes from Lagos, and can be reached on: email@example.com
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