Attention has been called to a publication circulating online in which the Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Yahaya Bello is alleged to have vowed to remove Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as the National Chairman of the governing party, the All Progress Congress (APC).
The Governor, it is claimed, is working with a coalition of powerful aggrieved persons to achieve the said objective. The publishers of this falsehood allege that the plot was laid out by Edward Onoja, Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor during a meeting with some female APC supporters he is said to have hosted recently somewhere in the Life Camp area of Abuja.
In order to give it some credibility, this current misguided effort was cloaked in deceit and attributed to ‘the Women Wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)’, specifically an unknown group called ‘APC Women Ambassadors’ led by one Hajia Zainab Mamud’ who is equally unknown.
As usual, in their haste to be unfortunate in the matters of Kogi State and Governor Yahaya Bello, the makers of this particular fake news somehow forgot that Hajia Salamatu Baiwa Umar-Eluma, the National Women Leader of the APC is an illustrious daughter of Kogi State and a staunch associate of the Governor.
Immediately she was reached on the matter, Hajia Baiwa repudiated the existence of both the group and its alleged leader in the ranks of the APC. The National Women Leader of the APC first queried, ‘who is this Hajia Zainab Mamud?’ before categorically stating that ‘there is nothing like APC Women Ambassadors that I am aware of or (that is) recognised by the party’.
End of discussion. Our National Women Leader has spoken. The alleged spokesperson and her phantom group are unknown vectors in a self-induced state of entropy. The ‘Women Wing of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)’ where Hajia Baiwa is in charge is not involved. The APC at all levels where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is in charge is not involved. In effect, we are dealing with another pseudo-entity which has no electoral value at all.
Actually, we in the APC Kogi State tend to ignore such nonsense nowadays. It is just another example of the childishness into which the opposition here continues to slide the nearer we get to November 16, the date for the next Kogi governorship elections.
Well, for the records, no such incident happened. As Leader of the Party and Director-General of APC Campaigns in Kogi State respectively, the Governor and his Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja, were pivotal to the party’s unprecedented win in Kogi State in the 2019 General Elections. They were both in Abuja this week to attend the Inauguration of the President and Vice President into a second term in office and attend to other matters of state.
Neither holds the alleged hostile intentions towards any leader of the party nor did the meeting where same was allegedly voiced hold. Like in the past, these things only happened in the overwrought imaginations of the promoters and on the pages of the obscure internet sites circulating them.
What is truly sad is the Kogi opposition’s abysmal lack of reason in cooking up these lies. It has in fact become an epidemic of the incongruous. Almost every other day now they rehash a different version of the same old rubbish in their captive media. The collateral negative effect on the image of their state is not their concern. Personal interest at all costs is their mantra.
Such desperation can only be seen in people who have reached the uttermost limits of their ability to think and engage constructively. At their wits’ end, the Kogi opposition is now throwing wild punches in every direction hoping to hit someone or something and start a fracas. This much falsehood they peddled that I was arrested and at the same time holding a surreptitious meeting with Kogi APC Women Leaders. How does it appeal to logic that a man can be incarcerated and at the same time holding a meeting somewhere else. He must have assumed an omnipresence which is an exclusive preserve of the ‘Most High’.. What a preposterous position!
Right now it appears that as their hopes of unseating Governor Yahaya Bello in fair contest diminishes by the day before His Excellency’s ever-rising profile, they have settled for more and more dishonour, hence publications such as this one.
Since assuming office over three and a half years ago, Governor Yahaya Bello has grown the ranks of the APC in Kogi State, not only through good governance but also by being a great party man who respects party protocols and leadership at all levels. Thus His Excellency finds it laughable that anyone would associate him with any project to ‘use Kogi State money’ to remove the duly elected National Chairman or any other elected party official.
Governor Yahaya Bello therefore rejects any attempt to tamper with the duly elected leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at all levels as well as all attempts to associate him with calls for the removal of the National Chairman of our party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Politics is a game of interest and as an advocate of progressive democracy, Governor Bello respects people’s freedom to canvass for their ideologies and choice, but frowns at deliberate mischief. The government of Kogi State has always called on those interested in contesting for the November 16 gubernatorial elections in the state to freely go about their campaigns and leave out all the dishonest shenanigans.
Most persons who oppose the Governor today can trace the genesis of their disaffection to his refusal to either help them impose candidates, supplant institutions, misuse resources, oppress human beings or allow them use the resources of his office to do so. Such people need to know that blackmail, character assassination and other acts which do not sit well with the spirit of democracy has never and will never intimidate the administration or we, the APC foot-soldiers in the state.
In rounding off, let it be made known that none of the November candidates in Kogi State is unveiling any leadership plans to the electorate like Governor Bello and the APC have been doing. Instead, their only project now is how to get the APC to deny Bello the ticket and shoot herself in the foot.
Subverting the APC’s Primaries in August is therefore the last stand of the desperate dinosaurs fighting to stave off political extinction at the hands of Governor Yahaya Bello and his new breed of leaders across the 3 Senatorial Districts of the state.
Any political watcher can see that the opposition, both within and without the APC, are aware that only Governor Yahaya Bello stands between the party and defeat in November. This is why they want to set disaffection between the Governor and elements within the national leadership of the APC led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Unfortunately for them, not only do they continue to misjudge the strength of the APC’s resolve at the National Secretariat not to interfere in the affairs of state chapters of the party, they also seem unable to grasp that the Nigerian and APC Constitutions as well as the electoral laws and guidelines have comprehensive provisions on party Primaries and the emergence of ticket-holders in elections.
The floundering opposition can also not comprehend how Governor Yahaya Bello and the APC in Kogi State have managed to side-step all the banana peels strewn in their path by foes. Instead, the APC Kogi family is more sure-footed and closely knit than ever.
There are many secrets to this, but one major one is the religious adherence to due process and the rule of law in the conduct of party affairs in the state. The opposition know that the APC Kogi Primaries in August will follow the same route of legality and that is their fear. They know that they must deceive the party’s national hierarchy into imposition of candidates in order to entrap the APC in deadly legal quandaries. If they fail, they know the game is over for them.
These poor schemers also know that neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole can be cajoled or coerced into interference in Kogi but ineptitude and inordinate ambitions will not just allow them to stop wasting their time and resources chasing the wind.
We recognise that at the bottom of it all is a ploy to push the APC National Secretariat into doing them the favour of interfering in how the party’s Kogi State flagbearer emerges in August so that the courts can step in and bury the party forever. Their plans will collapse as usual.
“God frustrates the devices and schemes of the crafty, so that their hands cannot attain success or perform their enterprise.” Job 5:12.
A WORD ABOUT THE GOOD STEWARD, EDWARD ONOJA
I cannot end this piece without noting how the tendency of the opposition to pick on Edward Onoja whenever they come gunning for Governor Yahaya Bello has become the clearest testimonial of the Chief of Staff’s loyalty to his boss. In working to sour relations between the ‘siamese twins’, enemies have only succeeded in strengthening the bonds of their legendary friendship the more.
Edward Onoja, our Governor’s Man Friday, had earned an intimidating profile as a financial sector and oil industry professional before joining the rescue team that is the New Direction administration in Kogi State. He is not a daft illogical jobless politician like some of his traducers, especially those behind fake news such as this.
Edward has also paid his political dues in full in the APC starting from his initial roles as Director, Kogi Youth Arise Group (KYAG) for PMB/PYO in 2015, Director-General, Governor Yahaya Bello Campaigns, 2015 and Director-General, APC/PMB/PYO Campaigns, 2019. Each time, he made a resounding success of each assignment and delivered the required result in his territory.
Those who are scared of who Edward Onoja may become tomorrow should spare themselves a heart attack and desist. The destiny of any man is entirely in God’s Hands. It has become imperative to make this warning because those who wish him or his boss, or our state, evil, especially those he once helped, are playing with the fires of God’s retribution.
Edward Onoja is simply a Chief of Staff who does nothing other than the duties assigned to him by his boss. If he is blessed to have a boss who is big enough to give him large assignments which the small men of yesterday in the same office entrusted to no one but their wives or sons, should anyone begrudge him that?
You cannot wish Edward and his entire household death by accident, wish him death by assassination, lie that he has been arrested and incarcerated by the EFCC, the Police or the DSS in order to tarnish his image and expect God, or even God-fearing men, to look the other way.
Ask those who once tried to rope him into a ghost assassination plot on Senator Dino Melaye how that one ended for them? Who is being tried for giving false information to the police on that matter today? God is not a man.
If it is Edward’s destiny, just like his namesake King David in the Bible, to become King and ascend the throne prepared for him, a million hordes from the pit of hell cannot stop him. Some irredeemable irredentists have vowed to kill his career for daring to step into Kogi politics.
I urge these set of people to think again. Does Edward fit the mould of those whose career can be killed by men? A man of destiny is carried and kept by the God of the destiny.
Even worse, some who talk like this are people he graciously recommended to his boss for appointments and elevations. People in whose life he proved a destiny helper. They may need to ask those who attempted same in the last 3 and half years.
Many have today become moribund today and remotely disconnected from any meaningful help, no matter where they run, or how hard they hustle. I am convinced that those who recently have set out on the same path of dishonour will end up in the same slippery slope to self-destruction.
Edward is like David in that he walks in the 2-fold ministry of a king and priest. Even if you are Absalom the beloved son of King David, the harder you come at him, the harder and greater your fall. I write this as someone who has known Edward since 1985 when our paths crossed in the Jungles of Kwali in the FCT.
I believe the secret lies in the principle that life is a seed. Edward is loyal to a fault. He sows loyalty and he reaps loyalty. His loyalty to Governor Yahaya Bello is almost an involuntary reflex. It is now acknowledged nationally.
Political leaders from other places recognise this attribute in him and hail it because they know that loyalty is such a scarce commodity in Nigeria’s political space today. I will advise appointees and protégés of this administration who find themselves unwilling or unable to remain loyal to exit honourably and not work against the system.
Bare loyalty is not enough however. It must be backed by other attributes to be effective. Edward is a shield-bearer for our Governor and the New Direction Administration. Many appointees we see online and offline will not lift their voice or a finger to defend their employer’s interests even when lies are peddled directly to their hearing. Edward comes running to the fray each time, even at personal risks.
Finally, Edward is a stellar strategist. He is just out of this world. When everyone said the Kogi East New Direction Team will not deliver in the 2019 General Elections, Edward came up with a barrage of strategies which helped to filter governance to the grassroots and generated massive votes for the APC.
Edward, Ahmed Attah (the equally youthful APC Zonal Chairman for Kogi East) and their team delivered 100% of all elective posts to APC in their zone. Those who waited to mock them after a projected dismal outing had no option than to join the joyful throng which ushered them like heroes into Lugard House, Lokoja. They defeated an opposition team which included such juggernauts as 2 Former Governors, 3 Former Senators,a serving Senator and one who replaced him after the elections,Retired Military officers including one who now seeks APC’s ticket after fighting APC/PMB in 2015 and 2019, House of Representatives members, former Federal Ministers and a long list of former state assemblyman and public functionaries of all sorts. Edward and team proved that the audacity and capacity of the Youths are equal to any task. When a man is marked out as divinely graced for his time and season, it is suicidal to stand in his way.
ETU Dandy ATAJA- MR White
APC Stakeholder & Member G9 Initiative for GYB.
Writes from Ayingba,Kogi State