Concerned by the carnage visited on Oganenigu Community in Kogi State, by killer herdsmen, Governor Yahaya Bello braced the impassable condition of the community road to visit the spot of the heinous attack.
Two issues emanated from the visit: causes and culprits of the heinous attack on the community that resulted in the death of about 13 youngman. And, the second is how on earth in the 21st century a community as endowed as Oganenigu will be so remotely disconnected as a result of persistent government neglect of a 22 kilometers road.
Dazed by the difficulty he had to go through to reach the community, Governor Bello promised to ensure the 22 kilometers Etutekpe-Oganenigu Road is fixed in record time. By March 2021, the promise will be three year-old and the said road has moved from nightmare to death trap. Haven failed at keeping his promise of fixing a 22 kilometers road, what is the guarantee that, if given Nigeria to govern, he will not mishandle Nigeria, the same way he handled Oganenigu promise?
In politics and governance, trust is the coin of the realm. What distinguishes a deft leader from leeway is ability to fulfil promises. Like a popular saying goes, charity begins at home. It is the inalienable right of Governor Yahaya Bello to seek the highest office in the land. However, to get his aspirations right, his charity should begin from home by redeeming his promise to Oganenigu people.
For clarity, Governor Yahaya Bello’s ambition will among other things enhance and widen the Kogi’s stake and amplify its voice and demands from the Nigerian state. But one would have thought that having a community like Oganenigu in your state should have been your testing ground for Agricultural Revolution that will be unleashed at the federal level.
Oganenigu is rich in agricultural land and forest resources. In fact, the community qualifies to be christened food basket of Kogi State. Alas, serial failed government promises has disorient the people and is gradually ‘killing’ their interest in agriculture because most times, farm produce are left to rot away as a result of difficulty in transporting them the Anyigba market at a profit.
The condition of the road has become so bad that around the middle of last years, a social group, comprising Sons and Daughters of the area at home and in Diaspora, Oganenigu People’s Mandate (OPM) launched an appeal fund in order to carryout palliative work on the road to enable those visiting home for the Yuletide have access to their ancestral home. Again, how much can such funds do, given the long neglect of the road.
One would have thought that, if government is not able to construct tarred road at the moment because of paucity of funds, at least, proper road laying with laterite overlay would have suffice to assuage the People’s suffering, pending when standard construction will be carried out.
As at today, Sons and Daughters of Oganenigu origin cannot drive home. They usually park their vehicles at Etutekpe, where the tarred road stopped and hire bike ‘Okada’ for the remaining 22 kilometers difficult journey.
Historically, this road was first constructed with laterite overlay in 1978 by then Benue State Government to enhance the evacuation of farm produce.
Finally, Governor Bello’s ambition to become president of Nigeria in 2023, stands on its head, or betterstill, on one leg, until the Oganenigu Road question is settled. Let Governor Yahaya Bello’s charity begin from Oganenigu Ward, one the 274 political wards in the state.
Omonu Gowon-Nelson is a member of Oganenigu People’s Mandate (OPM).