Not only has he virtually assumed the duties and responsibilities of the media and publicity team of the Yahaya Bello’s administration, by always appearing on television and radio programs to speak on behalf of the state government on important matters of governance and policies. The kogi state Chief of Staff to the kogi state government house, Edward Onoja who is a mere appointee that should ordinarily be in charge of the day to day running of activities, facilitate the movement of files and other documents through the government desk, ensure uninterruption of utilities like water supply, power, food and refreshment, and coordinate the staff of government house to ensure that they key into the policies of government has now been turned into the “boss” and almost becoming more powerful that the number one citizen of the state.
The influence and authority that the Chief of Staff wields is so much that all other political appointees, including the state’s Deputy Governor take orders and instructions from him. Edward Onoja is so powerful that he alone has the audacity to convene the state executive council meeting in the absence of the state governor, a duty which should constitutionally be performed by the Deputy Governor. The public were perplexed when a photo of the Chief of Staff sitting on the seat meant for the executive Governor, presiding over the state executive council meeting went viral on the social media.
It is no longer news that the activities of all the states ministries and agencies are directly overseen and presided over by the Chief of Staff. Administratively and financially, the twenty one local councils in the state takes direct orders from Edward Onoja who determines what gets done and who gets what. Many residents of the state and stakeholders are dumbfounded at the glaring political and constitutional aberration currently going on in the state, as it further reveals the lack of experience and basic knowledge of governance on the path of the leadership of the state. There is no provision in the Nigerian constitution where a Chief of Staff is allowed to act on behalf of the Governor, let alone sit on his seat. It is therefore irresponsible illegal and an assault on our constitutional democracy that this unthinkable is being allowed to take place in the confluence state.
There is a laid down code of governance recognized and allowed by the constitution, a deviation from it is tantamount to calling for anarchy. As things are presently, the Chief of Staff to the Government house calls the shot and not the state governor, Yahaya Bello. For a mere appointee of the Governor to be more powerful than his boss has exposed the immaturity and the disorderliness that reigns supreme in kogi state. Governor Yahaya Bello can best be described as a ceremonial Governor and a mere figure head, as major instructions, policy statements and formulations, allocations, appointments and executive orders emanates from the Chief of Staff.
What this means to the people of the Ebira dominated central senatorial district of the state which had agitated and waited for so long to finally have their own as governor of the state after twenty four years of its creation is that they will have to wait a bit longer to have a truly Anebira government that would protect their interests and correct the wrongs and injustices of the past administrations. As it is currently, Yahaya Bello may be the state governor on paper and by mere pronouncement, Edward Onoja is actually the person ruling the state, nothing has changed, power hasn’t shifted and constitutional democracy is under threat in the state.

Hussain Obaro…oseniobaro@yahoo.com…Lokoja, kogi state