By Comfort Obi ( Publisher the Source)
Many Media Houses in Nigeria love to give awards to politicians, especially, Governors.
I think it is a Nigerian thing. We love titles, and frivolous recognitions.
I have never believed in most of the awards, especially, when some Governors, known to have achieved little or nothing in their States step out to be recognised as best this or best that.
I particularly remember this one. A Governor of one of the Northern States, he was given an award for the Best Governor in Education. A few days later, photographs surfaced in Newspapers of primary schools pupils in a number of schools in his state, including those within the state capital, which had no roof over their heads in their schools. They sit under trees, and their laps are their desks. He was not ashamed. He blamed political enemies, but did not deny the existence of those schools.
But I need to support one award ceremony for Governors, post COVID-19. I already have a list of winners. I intend to update everyday.
There is the irrepressible Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike. A one-man COVID-19 Warrior, you need to watch Wike on video “in pursuit of COVID-19” to appreciate why the titles of a COVID-19 Warrior, as well as a COVID-19 one man riot squad will be his crowning glory.
There is the Governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje, popular as Gandollar. Here is the case for his award.
Hundreds of people lay dead in his state. A good number of them high profile indegenes. He was not worried. He did not hurry the NCDC and other authorities to come to his state. When they did, he did not wait for any confirmation. He simply dismissed the cause of death as “Malaria and Typhoid”.
But, Mr Dollar, he lived up to his reputation. Even before a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Kano, he asked President Muhammadu Buhari to release the sum of N15 billion to him. Just like that? Not really.
He had his reason.
President Buhari had just given Lagos State the sum of N10 billion to fight the disease. So, Ganduje wants his own share.
But here is the difference.
Ganduje is not Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos. From day one of COVID-19, Sanwo-Olu was spot-on. He was on top of the game. And was, at once, both the Inspiration and Consoler-in-Chief of Lagosians. He stands out from the pack. No noise. Cool and collected. Firm, but compassionate.
There is the Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade. He is, at once, both the Mesmeriser and Dazzler-in -Chief. A man of big words, you need a dictionary by your side to understand him. He is an authority in everything. But try to decode what he is saying, and you are lost.
In this COVID-19 era, Ayade did not disappoint. This other day when he was addressing some youths, he used so many highfalutin words to explain how wrong everybody, but him, was on how to handle COVID-19. That triggered a storm in the Social Media. He was speaking as if he was either a Professor of Medicine or that of Immunology. He is none. But he told them he taught Immunology in the University. The youths who understood not a word of what he said were more confused than they were before they listened to him. Thus prompting Dr Nura Alkali to tackle Ayade. I pity your students”, he quipped.
Alkali: “Prof Ben Ayade discussed issues around immunology of vaccine and serum therapy.
A Professor of Immunology claiming that PCR methods are only good for viral sequencing but unreliable for diagonistic purposes.
“Thank God at both Universities where I teach, 400 students of Medicine and Microbiology know that PCR – which stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction – is the most reliable method of identifying microbes causing human diseases, especially, viruses like HIV and the SARS- COV 2 causing COVID-19. And, I really pity every student ever taught by Prof. Ayade”.
But Ayade has a badge of honour to flaunt, even though not a few people doubt it. He has left Kogi state Governor, Hahaha Bello behind, and now sits lonely there.
He is the only Governor whose state still has no place on the COVID-19 board in Nigeria.
Talking about Bello, he is the Master of the game. The Disaster- in- Chief. It is the appropriate award for him.
This is not the time to recount Bello’s many embarrassing outings as Governor. But from day one of COVID-19, Bello gave notice that he would be a monumental disaster. He has not disappointed.
His first shot came when the COVID-19 status of Mallam Abba Kyari, the now late Chief of Staff to the President, was revealed. Kyari had, on return from an official trip to Germany, led a Federal Government delegation to condole with the Governor who had just lost his mother.
Later, when Kyari’s status became public knowledge, speculations were rife that Bello may have, also, contracted the Virus. Speculations, nothing more.
But Bello hit the roof. He reacted in a most unbecoming manner. He cursed and swore. “Those who wish me Coronavirus, I wish them HIV. They will suffer from HIV”. This was a Governor talking down on HIV carriers. Victims of HIV protested, and demanded for an apology from him. He never offered one. Or recanted. Or showed any remorse. Nobody called him to order. Not the Minister for Health. Not the leadership of his party, the APC. Not his beloved father, President Muhammadu Buhari.
In more civilized countries, Governor Bello would have been forced to resign from office for such an unforgivable indiscretion.
But, that did not only show Nigerians how unfit Bello is to occupy the office of a Governor, it prepared them for the disaster that has been Bello since the pandemic COVID-19.
He confirmed this in an interview with Channels Television’s Seun. Mr Governor was Seun’s guest, and the session went as follows:
Seun: You must be proud, Governor, that Kogi State has recorded zero cases of Coronavirus.
Bello: That’s because we took proactive steps.
Seun: So, what proactive steps did you take?
Bello: We have an App.
Seun: Just an App? Does this App enable you to test individuals?
Bello: Not really. But they can use it themselves.
Seun: So, how many people have you tested?
Bello: We haven’t tested anyone.
Seun: Do you have any test centres in Kogi?
Bello: We don’t have any for now.
Seun: How do you then ascertain if there is a case of Coronavirus in your State?
Bello: (Smiles) That’s because no one has showed any symptoms of COVID-19.
And, it is this emptiness that Governor Bello has carried on with and, now, wears like a badge.
Roundly criticised and taunted for none performance as a Governor, Bello has found refuge in COVID-19. He has broken all protocols associated with this Virus and, without really appreciating the damage he is doing, presented Nigeria as one playing fraudulent games with COVID-19.
For instance, Bello has said, in more ways than one, that some of his colleagues are using the Virus as a front to corruptly swindle the FG and Donors. He says he will not be part of the corruption. He says nobody can force him to say there is COVID-19 in Kogi state when there is none. He says he will never engage in such lies. His government has called the NCDC and its officials all kinds of derogatory names.
Bello thinks he will be called a performing governor, if he continues to live the lie that his state is COVID-19 free.
For the records, he is not alone here. His CRS colleague, Ayade, is as guilty as hell. His Commissioner for Health, said the other day, without proof, that the NCDC was offering people money in her state to say “We are positive for the Virus.” Nobody challenged her.
But Bello takes the cake in this inexplicable behaviour.
He refuses to give the NCDC officials any support. He refuses to give them free hands to carry out tests in his state. He refuses that anybody be tested in his state. He warns Kogites not to succumb to what he calls the NCDC blackmail. He asks them to refuse to be tested. He did not stop there.
When NCDC officials went to pay him a visit at the Government House, in order to kick-off their programme in the state, Bello ordered that they be arrested and quarantined for 14 days. The officials had to negotiate their exit from the state. Even a Wike wouldn’t do that. He would just have bluntly told them off in a coarse voice. Nothing more.
Last week, the NCDC stained Bello’s white robes. They stripped him of his badge of “performance”. They splashed Kogi’s name among the States with COVID-19 patients. Two of them, the NCDC said.
Since then, Bello’s anger has boiled over. He says the NCDC is talking nonsense. He says there is no such case in his state. Even when the family of one of them, the Chief Imam of Kabba confirmed, Bello is still in denial. He sent his Commissioner for Health to Channels Television to howl insults at the NCDC for daring to confirm the cases. To have a clean slate, he is playing with the lives of his subjects.
And everybody is at once worried and embarrassed by the situation in Kogi.
The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, has reported this Governor to President Buhari. The Association asked Buhari to call Bello to order. In an SOS to the President, signed by its President, Dr Francis Faduyile, the NMA drew his attention to the danger Bello is to the country and Kogi state. Order Bello to give the NCDC free access to the State, the NMA told Buhari. Call Bello to order because the disease is gaining a strong foothold in the State, the NMA revealed. The Association, also, asked the President to order for the setting up of testing facilities in the Army Barracks, where Bello would not pose an obstacle. See, the man has become a terror.
It is surprising that nobody has called Bello to order. He has been left to carry on like nobody matters. It shouldn’t be. Somebody should care about the lives of Kogites if their Governor doesn’t. Obviously, he either wants a health crisis in the state or, he is ignorant of the dangers of what he is doing.
Governor Bello says Mr President is his father. But for COVID-19, he practically lives in Abuja, just to be close to his father. Buhari needs to save the people by calling his juvenile son to order. Nobody jokes with the lives of his people like this Governor is doing.
How did Kogites end up with this man as their Governor? How?