Yahaya Bello: Politicisation of an innocent, generous gesture
Prejudice is an opinion without judgement, one can still be heavily criticised for being kind. The fact that we are not equally gifted or blessed is an opportunity for the rich to give charity as giving charity to the deserving is not just charity but justice.
In a video that went viral recently, the First Lady of Kogi State Rashida Bello was seen giving one million naira each to her security aides in her bid to appreciate their cooperation and sacrifice, and also to cultivate their friendship.
In other climes, this magnanimous gesture would have been appreciated and the First Lady praised for her milk of human kindness. But not in Nigeria. Definitely not in Kogi state where a lot of folks view everything from the prism of bitter and toxic politics and do not see anything good in anything.
Not long after the video of the gesture went viral, career hate preachers went to town with tales that the First Lady was doing a mere show off while her husband was owing workers their entitlements.
It would have been excusable if the cynics ended their mischief at the level of attacking the innocent First Lady for her generosity but they took their hatred too far by falsely accusing the hardworking and welfarist Governor Bello of owing workers’ salaries. Nothing can be farther from the truth!
Last week, I was privileged to be part of an interview the governor did with BBC Hausa Service. He spoke extensively about the repeatedly told lies that he was always owing workers’ salaries. Governor Bello clearly stated that his administration is not owing any civil servant a dime and challenged anyone with contrary facts to come and prove the claims. He also challenged the purveyors of the fake news to name the civil servants that are being owed.
To corroborate the governor’s assertion, one can also recall that the state chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Ranti Ojo, recently commended Governor Bello for the implementation of the 30, 000 naira National Minimum Wage, its consequential adjustments, and prompt payment of salaries and pensions.
“The organised Labour in the state appreciates the governor immensely for the release of 100 million naira monthly for the payment of gratuities,” the TUC boss had said.
Speaking on the gesture of the First Lady to her security details, a Government House source said he didn’t see any big deal in it, adding that it is consistent with the welfarist policy of the state government and the sheer magnanimity of the First Family as exemplified by the Governor himself.
The source added that it is the habit of the First Family to support and take adequate care of people working with them so they won’t be begging like the aides of other VIPs.
“They should provide any worker that is owed salary. The Governor’s wife is empathetic to the police and other security forces who are taking care of her and the immediate family, rather than allowing them to be begging like that of some VIPs. Though I don’t support the fact that the video was made public.”
“There’s no big deal about giving one million naira each to her security aides. Let me tell you this one in confidence. The Governor once bought two houses for the two wives of one of his outriders who died in the course of duty,” the source disclosed.
It is however in the public domain that the governor is one of the big presidential contestants in the upcoming All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries and his local opponents who hate his guts for no reason believe anything should be thrown at him, including the kitchen sink, to stop him from shining at the national after the way he had demystified governance and elevated peoples welfare in the state.
I sincerely wish Nigerians can actually play politics without bitterness and vote for people not because of their tribe, religion or political persuasion but due to their competence and credibility.
Hafsat Ibrahim wrote in from Wuye District, Abuja.