The unrepentant critic of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Barrister Natasha Akpoti who lost out in the last senatorial election in Kogi central in her usual campaign of calumny has come out with another weighty allegation. In the latest version of her numerous unverifiable stories, she has again alleged that the incumbent Governor of Kogi State is using his power and influence underground to personally acquire Ajaokuta Steel Company for his private company which he is using one man named, Alhaji Musa Bello as his frontier.
The above allegation thereof prompts me to come out with this article with a view to critically look at the subject matter rather than the messenger in a bid to educate the member of the public the more on issue which we all have staked in. It is instructive to note that politics is all about interest. The interest in politics brings about lobbing which individuals, corporate organisation, nationals and public office holders usually get involved in.
I must therefore make it clear to my readers that I am not here to refute Natasha’s claim in entity but to throw light on my take on what will happen if Governor Bello acquired Ajaokuta Steel Company. On this note, I want to educate my readers that Natasha Akpoti is not the first person to champion Ajaokuta Steel Company revitalization and resuscitation campaign course. One illustrious and patriotic son of the soil, Alhaji Bashir Sani barely 8years ago started it and launched an advocacy for the resuscitation and completion of Ajaokuta steel and Itakpe iron ore companies both situated in Kogi State of Nigeria.
The median meeting was held at Sheraton and Tower Hotel in Abuja which the participants at the conference comprise of several political figures; academicians and professionals, business tycoon of Kogi State origin. Among the high profile personalities in attendance that day were late Dr Onukaba Ojo who was then Special Adviser to the Vice President, Atiku Abubakar. One Alhaji Oseni from Kogi East was one of the business tycoons present that day. The then Managing Director of Ajaokuta steel company, Engineer Joseph and Professor Nuhu Yakubu, the then Vice chancellor of University of Abuja were equally in attendance.
Alhaji Sani Bashir, the convener of the conference in his bid not to make it as an elite thing invited average individuals on social media platform most especially from Kogi State facebook group too. It was on this ground that the writer of this article, Shaibu Stephen Ojate, and Danjuma Muhammed with one lady I can’t remember her name now represented Ebira Unity on facebook at the conference that day.
At the meeting, the Managing Director of Ajaokuta steel company educated the conference member on the completion level of the company and highlighted what was remaining. He enumerated the factors hindering the completion of Ajaokuta steel and Itakpe Iron Ore Company takeoff.
As the conference members discovered that Nigeria need just few Billions of Naira to kick-start its’ operation and it was on this ground participants opined that team of Billionaires of Kogi State extraction should come together to form a Company, raise fund and acquire Ajaokuta steel and Itakpe Iron Ore Company in a bid to bring live to it as from every indication the federal government of Nigeria has shown less political will to complete it.
The participants who raised this suggestion believed that we (Kogites) stand to gain a lot from this bold step if it materialised. They hinted that our teaming unemployed Youths will benefit a lot if the Company is acquired and solely manage by the inhabitants and rich men of Kogi State. They hinted that the wealth from the company will still revolve within our state and more also the plight of the host community can be quickly look into considering the fact the new owner are Sons and Daughters of the soil.
Despite this laudable suggestion, no one or group of individuals of Kogi State origin had shown seriousness in coming together to personally acquire Ajaokuta steel and Itakpe iron ore company after the conference meeting that day. Well, I don’t blame anyone of them because in the eye of the public, those whom we regarded as Billionaires by our standard might not actually be such that wealthy.
Now, coming to the latest revelation of Natasha Akpoti, if truly there is any iota of truth in what she is saying, it ought to be a source of joy in our mind rather than developing animosity against the person of Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
We should not be at a sober mood rather we should be proud that a patriotic Son of the soil, Alhaji Yahaya Bello is making move underground to personally acquire Ajaokuta steel company towards bringing live to it.
Recall that for years, we have all been complaining of Ajaokuta steel neglect and pray for its resuscitation. Every day, we pray for its completion. We are very optimistic that when Ajaokuta steel company gets working, it will create jobs for our people. What we yearn for is to get Ajaokuta steel company working. In our innermost mind we are very certain the people of Kogi State will benefit more from it. We don’t dispute the saying that the completion of the company will enhance and boost the economy base of Kogi State and generate more internally revenue inform of tax to Kogi State Government which in turn will be used to pay regular salaries to workers. This will put an end to perennial and irregular salary payment to Kogi workers as observed in the State.
As this has been our dream, I must therefore say that rich man and somebody from somewhere else either in Nigeria or outside the country must be involved. Then, if truly the completion of Ajaokuta steel company is what we want, crucifying the incumbent Governor of Kogi State for using his political power and influence lobbying for the acquisition of Ajaokuta steel company for a company he has interest in is uncalled for.
Also rolling out drum and calling him a fraudulent person is a great mistake on the side of the ignorance individuals. Let’s even assume Alhaji Yahaya Bello uses his power and influence to Acquire Ajaokuta steel company today, the wealth from the company is equally ours as he is one of our own. If Alhaji Yahaya Bello acquires it, he will not take our wealth to England, USA, Japan, China rather it will be in Nigeria and it will be a source of joy to this writer that one of our own injected live into Ajaokuta steel company.
It is undisputable that he will be very magnanimous to the people of Kogi State as he hails from there. He will not treat us with absolute disdain if the owner of the company is a foreigner or outside Kogi State. Take a critical look at Niger Delta, how has the expatriates drilling oil in Niger Delta treated the host communities well there? They polluted the area and show less concern for their living.
Also, how has Aliko Dangote committed his wealth to the advancement of the host communities in Kogi State where his Cement Company is cited? How many times has Aliko Dangote donated Billion of Naira to any institutions of higher learning in Kogi State rather he has been taken the wealth from our area to build institution in Kano where he hails from?
This can’t be so if Governor Bello acquired the company as Natasha is insinuating. I doubt if he will abandon our people and employ larger percentage of outsiders in the managerial position of the company. Take Fair Plus Transport Company as an example, when it was in operation, larger percentage of his employees was from Kogi central. This will certainly be so if Alhaji Yahaya Bello eventually acquires the company as the owner has the final say on who to employ.
On this note, I conclude my saying let us ginger his spirit to make this come to pass rather than discouraging him.
I rest my pen.
Shaibu Stephen Ojate is a public affairs Commentator and freelance Journalist write from Abuja. He is on whatsapp and reachable via phone number 09075726236.