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Dr. Usman Ogbo is many things to many people. This relatively young academic is the Head, Department of Political Sciences, Kogi State (now Prince Abubakar Audu) University, Anyigba. He is also a member of the Governing Council of the institution. Accordingly, his professional competence and leadership capacity among his peers is not in doubt.

In the early days of the New Direction Administration of Governor Yahaya Bello, his reform and developmental agenda, especially the Civil Service and Pension Reforms aspects, were grossly misunderstood and engendered plenty of conflicts with vested interests.

One of the groups which came at loggerheads with the government then was the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), KSU. They went on strike to protest perceived grievances and Dr. Ogbo was one of those leading lights of ASUU who vocally and vehemently denounced the Government as high-handed and clueless out of a misunderstanding of our policy direction.

But as the ASUU strike started to stretch towards one year despite government’s desperate efforts to bring it to an end, including a last ditch proscription of the Union after all else failed, we started to hear that some academics at KSU were beginning to weigh the toll their strike was taking on the institution and the students. Again, we started to hear of Dr. Usman Ogbo as a leader among these people of conscience. He even threw open the doors to his Department for academic activities to commence.

At the time it was rare for anyone who had his teeth into the administration to pause, look at the facts and query the prevailing false narratives. But here was a man who on his own not only evaluated the evidence available, but had the honesty to admit to himself that he might have been wrong. At that point I knew I needed to meet this remarkable man.

After our meeting he became even more supportive of the progressive policies of our administration. Since then I have developed nothing but deep respect for him. He has an uncanny ability to mix logic with sentiments to get a refined opinion. His emotional intelligence is off the charts, and in the midst of complex, even potentially explosive situations, paired with his academic brilliance to produce innovative, empathetic solutions.

Dr. Usman Ogbo is an asset to any team. Before and during the 2019 General Elections he approached me with a proposal for mobilising a leadership group for Kogi East. That was the birthing of Kogi East Emerging Leaders Forum which is today the most effective coalition of newbreed political leaders in Kogi East and I dare say, the fulcrum of change in the Senatorial District for the foreseeable future.

Apart from being a political pressure group, the KEELF was even more useful as a sociopolitical vehicle for delivering Governor Yahaya Bello’s New Direction message to the very grassroots of Kogi East. The Administration needed to supplant old paradigms of tribalism, religion and classism and transplant in new principles of fairness, equity and justice as the drivers of a One Kogi or EBIGO Agenda. The enlightened minds at KEELF led by Dr. Usman Ogbo were only too glad to oblige. Today EBIGO is a household force across the state.

I will not regale anyone with the details now, the time will come and better storytellers than me will do justice to the tale, but as even a child knows, KEELF has also become an unstoppable political force in Kogi East. In the 2019 General Elections, the group was pivotal to ensuring that Kogi East delivered Mr. President and all legislative seats at state and national levels comprising a Senator, 3 members of the House of Representatives and 11 State Assembly-men for the APC. Later in the year, in November, they were on song again for my boss, the White Lion, as he took back Lugard House in spectacular fashion for a second term in Office

Dr. Usman Ogbo took a lot of vicious brickbats for standing with his political convictions and with us. They tried to assassinate him at least twice during the 2019 elections season and they ran him down at every turn but he is a man of courage and he fearlessly traversed the entire nook and cranny of Kogi East preaching the gospel of the New Direction and its Next Level.

After APC won and was sworn in on January 27, 2020, another season of anomie began for Dr. Ogbo. When the first and second batches of political appointments were made with his name conspicuously missing, he became the butt of jokes. He was ridiculed nearly to death by cowardly opposition apologists seeking soft targets to vent the severe pains of their electoral losses on. They dogged him mercilessly on social media and everywhere but they could not get him to doubt his convictions or to recant his belief in the New Direction as the best option for Kogi State at the present time.

Well, by God’s own perfect counsel and in the fullness of time, on the 7th day of March, 2020, just about a month after he became their target, Dr. Usman Ogbo has been appointed the Acting Rector, Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja.

First, to God be the Glory! It is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our sight.

Secondly, I celebrate my leader and my Siamese Twin and my Governor, His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for recognising and honouring a man of honour. It takes one man of honour to recognise another. We are very grateful sir.

I have implicit confidence in Dr. Ogbo’s capacities and competencies. I know he will apply the imbibed EBIGO philosophy to his stewardship and will hold KSP in trust for all Kogites, in a transparent and accountable manner that advances the institution from height to higher height.

Dr. Usman Ogbo, Professor to be, I trust you. GYB trusts you, remember that a good name is better than money and make everyone of us proud.

The lessons from Dr. Usman Ogbo’s odyssey are galore but several stand out for me:

For those in the opposition, determination and endurance is useless if you are on the wrong path. A wise man should periodically evaluate his stance and be sure that he is on the right path. If not, a change of course is advised. At least, you can now see that it is possible to join the team late and by hard work and commitment arrive at the front.

For those who have always been with us, remember that God makes all things beautiful in his time. It is Dr. Ogbo today, it can be anyone tomorrow. There are limited spaces for political appointments but we will keep bringing people on board as the vacancies open up.

Still to our loyalists, we must remember the things we hold dear which distinguishes us as the New Direction, ie, the good governance we promised to the good people of Kogi State. Take solace in the good governance we have going on in the 9 thematic areas of our second term, and especially in Security of lives and properties, prompt payment of salaries and wages and lots of Youth Engagement opportunities.

To all and sundry, join me to trust the captain of this ship and together, let’s do more.

I felicitate with Prof. Marietu Ohunene Tenuche and the womenfolk on her well deserved appointment as the Acting Vice Chancellor of the Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba, Kogi State. I thank the Visitor to the institution, His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for looking inwards to fill this vacancy. No doubt, having served twice as a Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University in the past, she is most suited to chart a path to its Next Level at this time.

I also congratulate the new Acting Chief Medical Director of the Kogi State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, Prof. Isah Adagari Yahaya on his appointment. Once again I celebrate Governor Yahaya Bello for planting a round peg in a round hole. We look forward to a new era of progress and enhanced service from the institution under your able leadership.

To God be the Glory!

Edward Onoja
Deputy Governor of Kogi State
March 8, 2020.

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