The formative years and initial carving of Kogi state under the watchful cynosure of the Nigerian military in the course of the defunct military rule became a reality in the year 1991 but it is compensating to understand the complexities of political occurrence and reoccurrence which concurrently heralded the advent of the confluence state. This exposes an overwhelming reality whereby many indigene of Kogi extraction were practically involved in political interplays and intrigues before the birth of Kogi state. This was basically in tune with military incursion in politics, yet a thorough study of political coup d’etat and underground calculations implemented before most military rule in Nigeria had an indirect influence of political activists, civilian business owners and a crop of low ranking military rebels.
This discourse is aimed at assessing the merits of political order in Kogi state from 1999 till date – at least, the country has enjoyed 22 years of uninterrupted democratic practice with semblance of militarily modus operandi in basic assessments. Be that as it may, the worst dividends of democracy cannot be compared to the best form of military rule which is often laced with autocratic tendencies by paying lips service to the rule of law; the absence of separation of power is always a bidding flair to suffocate and abuse fundamental human rights of citizenry.
Now that the political atmosphere in Kogi state is relatively calm, it is instructive political actors return to the drawing board to strategize and redefine a new political order where the limited merits of democratic romance recorded so far can be galvanized to uplift a potent roadmap in anticipation of a more formidable political blueprints beyond 2023. The first step in achieving this goal is to pursue and restore the lost glories of Kogi state.
The political relevance of Kogi state must be revamped at this juncture in order not to allow it perish before the next general election. Kogi state is presently lagging behind at the national level of political consultations, relevance and reverence. It is pitiable, that the only consideration of identity of Kogi state is the garnished appointment of a junior minister. This belittling mockery of ministerial portfolio should be well addressed. Reasons not far fetched: Kogi state should not be relegated to a puppet corner in the corridor of political value and recognition because many personalities of the confluence extraction have contributed positive quotas to national development devoid of personal interest. Rewarding a territory turning out chunks of votes at the general elections with shaming portfolios is extremely as a result of ugly happenings during the electoral process where kinsmen engage in shady dealings and varying form of brutality.
The issue of thuggery and politically influenced assassination must be addressed. Any territory where thugs are utilized to win elections often suffer insecurity in the aftermath because election is once in four years but hunger is a permanent structure. As a result, thugs empowered to snatch ballot boxes during elections always metamorphose to highway robbers, hooligans and terrorists in full regalia of lawlessness in their quest to survive. To this end, political insecurity is a gateway to low rating affection accorded to political breeds from such locality and Kogi state is not an exception.
Kogi state has recorded a lot of electoral violence and insecurity in the time past (even now) and the first step in gaining national relevance is to orientate teaming youths to shun thuggery and wear a new garment as credible ambassadors.
If violence is conceptualized to win elections, Kogi state will remain a mocked territory where politicians are always regarded as products of thuggery influenced political ascension with zero relevance. Therefore, the cogently thoughtful pathway to improve the national image of the confluence state is to end thuggery and all forms of insecurity. It is pathetic to mention that most individuals or group constituting nuisance are well known even in the government circle but the high backups of cabals and sponsors of violence is naturally enticing more entrants to sign up because thuggery is criminally lucrative. This shallow idealism must stop and perpetrators should turn a new leaf before 2023 in order to get it right.
Galvanization of the limited merits of democracy in Kogi state also requires the institutionalization of a prudent reconciliation committee to resolve all political disputes amongst politicians. Democracy is in vogue and political actors are the major team players therefore a tensed political scenario is a clog in the wheels of democratic progress. It is a known fact that politics is all about interest but communal interest supersedes personal interest. In the light of the foregoing, political gladiators in Kogi state should learn how to bury their differences never to germinate because the basic slogan is KOGI 1ST. Patriotism is scarce in the affairs and pursuits of many politicians therefore the search for selfless politicians of credible character and charisma is unending. As a result, the political field is full of so many opportunists, traitors and political gamblers. In worst effect, many of these shortcoming features mentioned above is fast becoming a trend amongst politicians who are negatively reputed for this deviations preventing the emergence of men and women of integrity.
Furthermore, politicians across the state should join ideas and resources together to build a united Kogi state where ethnic considerations and party differences will not be a dividing factor. If only politicians can speak with one voice then the stentorian effect can attract national growth and developments because the federal government will definitely focus its lens on any composed and united entity. It is time to unite and derive the dividends of democracy and this should go beyond 2023.
– Ajogwu Jerry Ochada, a journalist, writes from Abuja.