By Omonu Nelson
The decision people take is first, dictated by the health of their conscience. They are those with living conscience, while others have smeared conscience. The state of one’s conscience determines whether to break a bridge after crossing it, jam a door or close after exit.
The statement credited to the senator, representing Kogi East at the red chamber, Jibrin Isa alias Echocho, that he will work to ensure that the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello emerge president in 2023, and the Deputy Governor, Edward Onoja, as Governor in 2024, came to many as a huge surprise.
Some have even gone ahead to described the statement as senseless. However, there are some sense in every nonsense. To get Senator Echocho’s statement in the right perspective, one must assume the hurts of the thorns, the thistles, the tears and blood that brought him to where he is today, and juxtapose it with the statement in question.
While some are surprised because they feel Senator Echocho took theatrics too far in his avowed commitment to Bello’s presidential ambition, others is out of prejudice. Some believe Governor Bello’s presidential ambition is a joke carried too far, hence the jest at Senator Echocho’s statement.
The argument is neither hear or there! Those who supports the senator’s position believe in the moral law that, if you forgot where rain drenched you, at least, don’t forget the man whose fire gave warmth.
This debate is built around the intricacies and push and pull that have characterized Kogi politics in the Fourth Republic. It would be recalled that Senator Echocho emerged as the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, candidate for the 2011 governorship election in the state before the judgement of a Court of Appeal elongated the tenure of his benefactor, then incumbent Governor Ibrahim Idris and four others.
While waiting in the wings as the PDP candidate, too many waters passed under the bridge and activities of mudslingers, fifth columnists, hanger-on, scavengers and back-stabbers soiled his relationship with Governor Idris.
This development boxed the once flourishing Echocho into a corner. Like it is common in our clime, the ‘honeymoon’ you enjoy with people is to the extent you last in power, influence and affluence.
Senator Echocho, according to some insiders was in a social and economic wilderness untill the duo of Governor Bello and his then Chief of Staff cum Strategist, Edward Onoja struck a deal with him.
Rightly or wrongly, some people predicted at the time that Echocho’s move into Bello/Onoja’s camp was a dicey one. With this re-alignment, Echocho’s life, dignity and pride, damaged by Ibrahim Idris and his antics, returned to him again because he once again had unfettered access to power.
One of the questions begging for sane answer is that, if you were the one, and your conscience is alive, what will you do? Knowing that in Nigeria’s political arena, to successfully prosecute senatorial race to a logical conclusion, whether you borrowed from bank, enlist the services of a godfather or spend from personal purse, you must part ways with not less then 500 million naira.
Haven expended huge fortune on the failed governorship bid, from where was he to get the resources to launch back into political relevance? Here is a chance handed him on platter of gold. In the order of ranking of elected political offices in Nigeria, the senate seat is the third after president and vice president. Thar is what Governor Bello and Onoja handed him without the usual push and pull; back-stabbing and character assassination.
Because of Governor Bello and Edward Onoja’s benevolence, Senator Echocho can once again be mentioned in the scheme of things in Kogi State and Nigeria. Has the time-tested saying that “One good turn deserves another,” lost its meaning? With this scenario, if Senator Echocho pledges allegiance to his benefactor’s Ambition, has he broken a pot of water? Isn’t life “rob my back, I rob your back”?
Some have started the permutation that Echocho should vie to replace Governor Bello in 2024. As much as nothing is entirely wrong with that idea, will that stop him from expressing support for Edward Onoja, who, for all that is clear was instrumental or the architect of the deal that hands Senator Echocho a life-line? The senator has demonstrated that he is a man of fair character and good intentions. Let those who are given to art betrayal learn from this examplary conduct and spare the ears of senseless arguments.
Omonu Nelson is the Publisher of Summit Post Newspaper, Journalist, Author and On Air Analyst.