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Pulse Opinion Kogi Governor's public holiday declaration was utterly irresponsible

Declaring a public holiday on account of a president's return, makes absolutely no sense.

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President Buhari and Gov Yahaya Bello play

President Buhari and Gov Yahaya Bello

As State Governors took turns to show how excited they were following President Muhammadu Buhari’s return last Saturday August 19, 2017, one Governor took it a step further.

Kogi State's Yahaya Bello bucked the trend and declared a public holiday instead.

Kingsley Fanwo who is the Director-General, Media and Publicity to Governor Bello said the public holiday was declared in order to provide a thanksgiving day for the safe return of President Buhari from London.

The Kogi state government said the “gesture was in line with the support and prayers of the Kogi people for the renaissance of the nation by the president”.

play Gov Bello commissions a project (Kogi State govt)


Apart from using the holiday to thank God for the president’s return, Governor Bello said the people of Kogi were expected to continue to pray for the president as he seeks to reposition the country.

As sycophancy goes, this was a stretch. It may have been couched as politics, but this was politics taken too far.

By most accounts from the Confluence territory, Kogi State has been poorly governed under Bello. His policies have been described as shallow or non-existent, workers say they are being owed backlog in salaries and allowances, the morale of civil servants has been badly bruised and infrastructure remains abysmal.

Bello, it has been alleged by pundits, runs Kogi without a coherent policy blueprint.

ALSO READ: President arrives Abuja after 103 days in London

Bello and his team say workers are being owed only because ghost employees need to be preened off the payroll. However, workers wonder why the biometric verification exercise is taking forever.

Like most States in the country, Kogi depends a lot on allocation from the center to survive.

It is this same State where a Governor decides to put a lid on a whole day of productive work because a president just returned home. Talk about misplaced priorites.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello play Gov Yahaya Bello of Kogi State (Gbenga Olorunpomi)


On the day of Buhari’s return, my team and I received tons of congratulatory messages for the returnee president from several State Governors, some of whom were at the airport to physically fawn and massage egos as Buhari made his way down the runway. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s human nature to be merry with anyone who has just recovered from an ailment.

But to declare a public holiday on account of a president’s return underlines the shallow work ethic of our State executives and underscores just how poorly we value the twin concepts of labour and reward in this country.

It is little wonder that our economy is forever tied to the vacillating fortunes of crude oil in the international market.

There are several reasons to declare a public holiday in a State. A president’s homecoming shouldn’t be one of those.

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