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Yahaya Bello: The transience of power

Yahaya Bello on Kogi teachers Yahaya Bello on Kogi teachers

Once upon a time, he roared like a lion, and he referred to himself as the white breed of the majestic beast. Hence his praise singers nicknamed him the white lion, and nothing else mattered. He didn’t give a dam about anything. He ruled with an iron fist. Gentility was not his attribute. But he forgot power was transient.

Since he left office some months back, Yahaya Bello has faded from the public glare. News filtered that he was a resident in the Kogi state government house. Some also said he relocated to Okene, his ancestral home and commissioned a private security.

Interestingly, the once boisterous Yahaya Bello became humble. He avoided the cameras. He was seldom seen at public functions, only when barricaded by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at one of his numerous residences in Abuja recently.

The drama played out when the governor of Kogi state arrived at his residence and presumably drove out with him to an unknown destination. I thought about Karma and why it is called a bitch. Karma is impartial and equally judgmental in its assessment of all human behaviour. Yahaya Bello has a date with Karma and must devise a means to appease it because it won’t go away anytime soon. Either he succumbs or fights. The choice is his.

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The story of Yahaya Bello is laced with ironies. For eight years, he grew astronomically in prominence from a public transport company promoter to one of the most powerful politicians in the country. He got drunk on the power of the office. His vehicular convoy was more extensive than that of the president. Interestingly, he always regales his presence and contribution to burning national issues. Even though, most times, it was more of grandstanding.

At some point, he was a delight for media houses. He is either recorded showcasing his boxing skills or pictured with the high and mighty in the country. That was Yahaya Bello for you. And the beginning of the descent into irrationality.

Lest I forget, he also aspired for the number one office in the country. His posters littered the nook and cranny of the country. The rented crowd justified their pay. Going by the energy of the rented crowd, Yahaya Bello was already the president in waiting. But God knows best. I heard some billions went into the ill-fated project.

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Yahaya Bello is in hiding. So many thoughts ran through my mind. Has he fallen out of favour with the powers at the centre? What was his offence? Can he survive this onslaught? Please agree with me that politics is not for the fainthearted. Yahaya Bello is not a good student of history. He got to power on a platter of gold and was in a haste to outshine his masters.

In the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, Law 1 says Never Outshine the Master. “Ensure that those above you always feel superior. Go out of your way to make your bosses look better and feel smarter than anyone else. Everyone is insecure, but an insecure boss can retaliate more strongly than others.”

Yahaya Bello wasn’t smart about everything. He robbed shoulders with vested interests. Yes, he had some resources at his disposal, but he had no history. He came to the limelight eight years ago. Ideally, he should still be learning the robes of politicking. But he wanted the throne that was reserved for a select few. He didn’t mind whose ox was gored.

He forgot that those in glass houses should not throw stones. He wasn’t a saint. His stewardship in Kogi state says so. He was an accidental politician who reigned for eight years and attained immeasurable heights in notoriety. What was he thinking at the time? This is what power does. It corrupts absolutely. But it is also transient.

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There are consequences for our actions and inaction. The raid on his residence by the EFCC begins a long journey of rendering account of his stewardship. Even though the Kogi state government had comically stated that monies were not missing or misappropriated, the fact remains that Yahaya Bello has a case to answer with how he utilized state resources while he held sway as governor.

I have some advice for the governor of Kogi State. He is delving into a terrain that is above his pay grade. Suppose he ferried Yahaya Bello out of his residence to prevent his arrest by the EFCC. In that case, he has obstructed the cause of justice. He should seek advice from his lawyers on the implications of his actions.

Yahaya Bello has his cross to carry. He would go down in history as one politician who missed an opportunity to write his name in gold in the sands of time. Kogi state remains an eyesore. He busied himself with extraneous things to the detriment of purposeful leadership. And today, the chicken has come home to roost.

Those conversant with the reign of Yahaya Bello in Kogi state would agree that it was a missed opportunity. There is also a dent in the preparedness of the youths for leadership positions in the country.

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Yahaya Bello got carried away instantly. He believed, “What money cannot do, more money can do”. And more money went the wrong way. The N84 billion money laundering allegation by the EFCC against Yahaya Bello is very strong. I empathize with him. Experience is always the best teacher.

Those in leadership positions and those aspiring must learn from the Yahaya Bello experience. Power is indeed transient. And those in glass houses should not throw stones. The day of reckoning is here, and the white lion is hiding like a squirrel. How he manages his predicament is left to be imagined. But Karma is a bitch.

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Ocheja, a military historian and doctoral researcher, can be reached via [email protected]

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Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.
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