Yahaya Bello and the Coming COVID-19 Outbreak in Kogi State
By: Deji Yesufu
Yahaya Bello is the Governor of Kogi State. Kogi is a state in the middle belt area of Nigeria. Its capital, Lokoja, was once the capital of Nigeria. It is an ancient state although little developed because it does not enjoy the kind of resource endowment like some states in the South South of Nigeria. It is also further challenged by the kind of irresponsible leadership it has had since the state was carved out of Kwara State in 1991.
When Yahaya Bello became Governor of Kogi State, one would think that Kogi’s romance with irresponsible leaders had come to an end. Bello, purported to be the youngest Governor in Nigeria, presented himself as a breadth of fresh air. He would however soon show staleness in his method of governance, as he has simply regurgitated the same old type of government the people of the state are used to.
One would have excused Bello until you realize that the present situation that he has put the people of his state in is similar to playing Russian roulette with people’s lives. Since the Nigerian government began to combat COVID-19, Yahaya Bello has flatly denied the presence of the disease in the state. When the NCDC approached the state to carry out tests, Bello prevented them and sent them back to Abuja. Today, Kogi State is the only state in the country without test centers for Coronavirus.
A few days ago, the chief justice of Kogi State died of COVID-19 related ailments. In fact some reports have it that he was in an isolation center in Abuja before his passing. While speaking at the burial of this man, Mr. Bello said that COVID-19 was not real. That the whole thing was promulgated to impart fears in Nigeria. He remained adamant that there was no COVID-19 in Kogi State.
Earlier today, the Federal Medical Center in the state capital decided to hold a press conference to intimate the world of the presence of COVID-19 in the state. That meeting was disrupted by gun totting youths that many believed were tugs sent by the Governor of the State.
Kogi State is an APC state and Bello is regarded as President Buhari’s boy. Thus the reason why it appears the Federal government has turned a blind eye to Bello’s irresponsibility. But going by the reports emerging from that state, Kogi is fast becoming the epicenter of COVID-19 in Nigeria. Yet the Governor is in denial.
This is an appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria to save the people of Kogi State from a coming outbreak of COVID-19 in the state, occasioned by the irresponsibility of one man: Yahaya Bello. Kogi State is in dire need of Coronavirus test centers. There’s the need for the FMC to open up immediately. And the Nigerian government will need to caution Yahaya Bello.