Foremost socio-cultural institutions of Igalaland has refuted claims of state sponsored violence during the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Kogi state by a group, Ojuju Agbadufu Igala.
In a letter sent to International communities, Ojuju Agbadufu called on supra-national organizations to investigate the role played by President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government in “the electoral fraud, political violence and political murders witnessed during the 16th November, 2019 gubernatorial election in Kogi State.”
Ojuju Agbadufu also accused the Buhari and APC-led federal government of instigating political and ethno-religious crisis in Kogi State.
However, in a rejoinder, the Igala Cultural and Development Association (ICDA), Emerging Leaders Forum, Kogi East and Igala Youth Development Congress (IYDC) stated that Ojuju Agbadufu cannot speak for the people of Igala land.
In a letter signed by Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq, Dr Usman Ogbo and others, the three socio-cultural organizations urged the United Nations, African Union, Transparency International, ECOWAS and others to ignore Ojuju Agbadufu’s letter as it epitomizes ethnic bigotry.
The groups said its rejoinder is to set the record straight so as not to project the good people of Kogi East as a rustic, intolerant and greedy people who will purvey falsehood to get their way.
Read full contents of the Letter here:
The Secretary General, United Nations Organisation,
The Chairman, African Union,
The President of ECOWAS,
Ambassador of United States of America to Nigeria,
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria,
The Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany to Nigeria,
The Ambassador of Canada to Nigeria,
The Ambassador of French to Nigeria,
The Ambassador of Republic of Russia to Nigeria,
The President, International Criminal Court in the Hague,
The Country Representative of Amnesty International in Nigeria,
The Country Representative of Transparency International in Nigeria,
The Heads of Local and International NGOs in Nigeria,
Senior Nigerian Citizens with Conscience,
All the Oppressed People of Nigeria,
RE: Increasing Use Of State Sponsored Violence As A Political Tool In Nigeria And Its Implications On Internal Security: The 16th November, 2019 Gubernatorial Election In Kogi State Of Nigeria In Focus – A Rejoinder To Ojuju Agbadufu Igala
- It is important to establish from the onset that this response comes from the foremost socio-cultural institutions of Igalaland and people in Kogi State, North Central Nigeria. We are set up by our people to speak and act for them in all things Igala. There is no higher Igala Institution than our revered Attah of Igala, or organisation than the Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA), both of which were consulted and gave prior consent to this rejoinder and the coalition which authored it.
- We do, of course, recognise the unfettered rights of all Igala sons and daughters to hold any ideological, religious, political or other school of thought, to espouse same and to freely associate with any others to propagate it without let or hindrance, provided they do so in a lawful manner.
- We however draw the line at random people purporting to speak for the Igala nation on sensitive sociopolitical issues and passing oﬀ their personal positions and petty peeves on any subject as that of our whole tribe. Thus, when persons we have not sent say things we have not said, particularly things so bitterly politicised and partisan that they are borderline hate speech, we, the custodians of Igala Tradition and Culture MUST counter same, both for the records and to remove the toga of bigotry with which such misguided people aim to dress our whole nation in the eyes of the world.
- The Igala are the most populous tribe in Kogi State and the most successful politically, having produced all of the previous governors under this 4th Republic but the incumbent. We have achieved this feat by working together with our compatriots from all the other tribes with whom we share Kogi State. Today we have a Governor from our respected Ebira neighbours, and every rule of fair play and equity among humans demand that we give him all the cooperation he needs to succeed.
- It is against this background of mutuality and multiethnic collaboration which has long existed in Kogi State that we reject the provocative and senselessly sectarian publication by one Ojuju Agbadufu Igala, especially as the unknown group carefully and fraudulently cultivated the impression that same is the prevalent Igala thinking and disposition.
- We are scandalised at how the signatories to the oﬀensive publication (who are well-known foot-soldiers of a political party which lost in the last elections) repackaged their long term, and ultimately futile, political talking points almost word-for-word and sought to rope Igalaland into their political feud with the government of the day.
- We are worried at the authors’ attempt to involve us as a tribe in a war of attrition between political parties by means of fraudulent misrepresentations, false analyses and wild unsubstantiated accusations without thought to the damage they might do to our egalitarian worldview and tribal dignity in the eyes of the right-thinking world.
- This rejoinder is the outcome of intense consultations with our Grand Patron, His Royal Majesty, Gabaidu, Chief Idakwo Ameh Oboni II, the Attah Igala (the paramount ruler of Igala Kingdom) and Chairman, Kogi State Council of Chiefs and other prominent traditional rulers across Kogi East. The rejoinder is to set the record straight so as not to project the good people of Kogi East as a rustic, intolerant and greedy people who will purvey falsehood to get their way.
WHO ARE WE?
- Igala Cultural and Development Association (ICDA), is the general and overall umbrella body of the entire Igala people home and abroad. It has been in existence for over 3 decades. It maintains leadership structure in the nine (9) LGAs of Kogi East and in all the thirty–six (36) states of the Nigerian Federation. The national headquarters is located at the magnificent Igala Unity House, Anyigba, facilitated by the current leadership of the Association. His Royal Majesty, Gabaidu, Attah Igala, is the natural Grand patron.
- The Emerging Leaders Forum, Kogi East, is a duly registered socio–cultural and Non–Governmental Organisation with operational base at Anyigba and its activities covering the nine (9) Local Government Areas of the Eastern Senatorial District of Kogi State. The group members comprise of over one hundred PhD holders, about two hundred Lawyers and more than three hundred graduates of other professional disciplines who hail from across the 9 Local Government Areas of the Kogi East Senatorial District. The group maintains leadership structures in the entire nine (9) LGA and ninety–eight (98) electoral wards in Kogi East. It modus operandi is sensitisation, grassroots mobilisation and political education aimed at achieving the overall objectives of good governance and development. His Royal Majesty, Gabaidu, Attah Igala, is the Grand patron.
- The Igala Youth Development Congress (IYDC) is a socio–cultural body of Igala youths, living at home or abroad, from across the aforesaid nine (9) LGAs of Kogi East Senatorial District. It is an association of intelligent, well coordinated, respectful, and hardworking Igala sons and daughters within the ages of 18 to 45. It was founded on the 10th October, 2010 with traditional and administrative headquarters at Idah and Anyigba respectively. The sole aim is to foster unity, love and professional measures to ensure even development of Igala kingdom. It also aspires to join hands with Government at respective levels to curb social menace in our society for the good of all.
OUR RESPONSES TO THE ISSUES RAISED BY THE SO-CALLED OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA
- The group attacked, blamed or condemned virtually every person, agency or institution in Nigeria which is not aﬀiliated with the political party and bloc which they are known to work for, both within and outside Kogi State.
- We are in the best position to clarify the misleading impressions raised in the good name of the Igalas and the good people of Kogi East Senatorial District and will thus limit our intervention to debunking claims by the ‘OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA’ which implicate us in their proxy political war against the current Administration in Kogi State.
ON ALLEGED STATE SPONSORED VIOLENCE AND CHALLENGES TO INTERNAL SECURITY
- During the build up to the 2019 General Elections a d the November 16, Kogi State Governorship election, the groups issuing this rejoinder collaborated to organise Town Hall Meetings at the respective headquarters of the nine (9) LGAs of Kogi East on the theme: Good Governance and Development. These held between 17th – 26th January, 2019 and enabled us to interact with youths, women leaders, market women, farmers, community leaders, civil servants, traditional rulers, clubs, associations, interest groups and opinion moulders on one side and the government representatives on the other side. During the encounter, we successfully established communication gaps as one of the major problems between the government and the people, and suggestion were proﬀered on how to close the identified gaps. Consequently, on Thursday 3rd October, 2019, we followed up with delegates meeting during which all the information gathered from the field were adopted and ratified as a ‘Development Agenda’ for Kogi East. These townhall meetings put attendees in vantage position to identify their needs, demands, expectations and aspiration of our people, especially if they feel short-changed in any way by government.
- In addition, we also monitored and observed conduct of the last Presidential, National and State Assemblies, as well as the November 16 Kogi State Governorship, Elections with Kogi East as our specific area of coverage. Before the elections, we equally embarked on enlightenment, sensitisation, mobilisation, and political education on the need to shun ethno–religious sentiments in the choice and quest for credible representatives. We advocated for responsible conduct amongst the electorates, political parties and stakeholders for a rancour-free exercise. Therefore, this rejoinder and our reports are based on firsthand information and not suppositions or hearsay.
- In the light of the foregoing, and speaking as observers in the November 16, Kogi State Governorship Election, we are constrained to raise the following posers to guide readers towards the search for truth and a balanced judgement on the numerous issues raised by the so-called ‘OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA’ in their publication under reference.
- Why were there negligible or nil cases of electoral violence reported in LGAs such as Okene, Adavi, Okene, Olamaboro, Ibaji etc where the All Progressives Congress (APC), the governing party, enjoyed majority support and won convincingly?
- Why were cases of violence rampant in virtually all the areas predominated by the PDP and won by the party, particularly in Ankpa, Ofu, Dekina, Idah, Igalamela – Odolu, Omala and Bassa LGAs in Kogi East? We learn that a similar pattern played out in other Senatorial Districts?
- The question then rises: Did the PDP adopt violence to suppress the opposition in its enclaves in order to win the elections or it was a case of state sponsored violence to prevent the party from winning?
- Which political party marred her Primaries during the 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections with bizzare violence – sporadic gunshots and stampeding of terrified delegates out of the venue which resulted to an inconclusive exercise which is still under litigation in multiple court cases?
- Which major political party in the state made ethnic sentiments a core principle of her campaigns amongst our people despite our protests?
- Supporters of which party attacked the convoy of the Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the APC flag bearer at Ankpa rally and project commissioning?
- Supporters of which party attacked and vandalised the vehicles of Dr. Usman Ogbo, the Chairman/Convener of the Emerging Leaders Forum, Kogi East at Ankpa before the general rallies?
- Who sponsored the gun attack on and attempted assassination of Mrs. Ejura Onoja, the wife of Chief Edward Onoja, the Deputy Governor and running mate at the time to the Governor who was the APC candidate in 16th November, 2019 at Egume?
- Why did Ojuju Agbadufu Igala deliberately refuse to mention in their publication the well publicised arrest of a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Suleiman Ejeh Abutu who was then serving as Chairman, Security Committee of Wada/Aro Security Organisation, Dekina LGA and six others in Dekina LGA with Pump Action guns, AK 47 rifles, and a pistol? (Search The Nation Newspaper and others online for details and reference).
- While the Police is investigating the gruesome murder of Mrs. Salome Abuh at Ochadamu and we are grappling with the unnatural brutality of the crime which desecrated our land, we are also interested in knowing who murdered Awolu Zekeri, a husband of 2 women and father of 3 now orphaned children?
- In particular, as the APC and the PDP cast blames back and forth over the Awolu Zekeri and Salome Abuh murders, we wonder why Ojuju Agbadufu Igala sidestepped the critical question of how one murder (Zekeri’s) could have led to the other (Mrs. Abuh’s) in what the preliminary police report have called a ‘reprisal attack’?
- Who armed our youths with the sophisticated weapons with which wanton killings and destruction of valuable properties were perpetrated across Igalaland particularly at Anyigba, Ajaka, Idah, Odoulu, Ejule and Ugwolawo just to mention few, between 2003–2011?
- What killed the annual celebration of ‘Italo’ festival at Anyigba by the ICDA and under whose administration did the celebration stopped and why?
- Who placed our late icon, late Prince Abubakar Audu in handcuﬀs after he left oﬀice and why?
- Where are the hard and illicit drugs that the youths used to engage in violence sold? Government rented buildings or personal properties owned by the private owners in Igala kingdom?
- Has any attempt been made since then to disarm those youths and recover the weapons? Would it be too far-fetched to situate some of the blame for violence plaguing our land on the high level of high grade weaponry in circulation in Igalaland?
- How did they fail to acknowledge that Kogi State fell into the doldrums in terms of security for at least 10 years before Governor Yahaya Bello came to Oﬀice and Kogi State had become the literal incarnation of the Hobbesian failed state where life was short and brutish and citizens lived in fear of their lives every moment?
- Who were the Governors within that period (2003–2011), their party and ethnic origins and what were the previous eﬀorts of Ojuju Agbadufu Igala before now to interrogate these knotty issues before now? Why are they suddenly possessed of an irresistible urge to dump these accumulated ills on the laps of the present Governor?
- And if they claim a misplaced sense of duty, why did they fail to notice and appreciate the vastly improved security measures in our domain and across our state under the watch of the current administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello who has never flagged in his determination to curb insecurity in the state?
- Why are members of Ojuju Agbadufu Igala intent on inciting ethnic sentiments and projecting sectarian divisions by painting the November 16 Kogi State Governorship Elections to as a superiority contest between we, the Igala, and the Ebira tribe of the Governor as against what is an obvious political contest between/amongst political parties; principally, the APC and PDP?
These foregoing questions are basically rhetorical but vouchsafing an answer to them will guide our comprehensive responses using historical approach so as to set the record straight.
THE BUILD UP TO THE NOVEMBER 16, KOGI STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION
The November 16, Governorship election in Kogi state was not an ordinary one judging from the convoluted socio – political composition and historical realities of the state. Since the creation of the state in 1991, the state had been governed by the Governors of Igala extraction until providence paved way for power – shi%, leading to the emergence of the current Governor – it was necessitated by the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu (the APC candidate) who was coasting to victory during the 2015 Governorship election, but died before the election was concluded.
This development which did not go down well with many of the late Audu’s supporters, particularly those from his Igala ethnic stock, who felt short-changed in the process that led to the emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, an Ebira man from Kogi Central as his replacement. This in part, signalled the charged atmosphere that characterised the November 16, Kogi state Governorship election. The issues as an a‑ermath took ethnic, religious and family hegemony dimension.
Evidently, when the APC hierarchy in their wisdom, decided to settle for Alhaji Yahaya Bello who was the runners-up, to replace the late Prince Audu to complete the inclusive Kogi State Governorship election in 2015, heaven was let loose with protest and road block especially at the Ajaokuta – Itobe axis bridge which linked the Kogi East with the Kogi Central. A lot of travellers were stranded, harassed and robbed of their personal belongings in the milieu that lasted almost about seven (7) hours on that road before the eventual intervention of the security personnel.
The grievances of the sponsors of that protest were not only against the choice of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, but to press for the choice of Late Audu’s son, Mohammed Audu to replace his father. In fact, Mohammed Audu’s camp and Audu’s running mate Honourable James Faleke had to slug it out at a time, until it dawned on the Mohammed’s camp that party aﬀairs and governance is not a family business. On the realisation of this stack reality, Mohammed Audu and other supporters of his father, decided to support James Faleke in all the ensuing legal contest to reclaim that mandate with agreement that, if they succeeded, Mohammed would come on board as Faleke’s Deputy. It was that expectation that did not allow Faleke to show up for swearing in as Deputy Governor elect on January 27, 2016. Unfortunately, Faleke/Mohammed group lost the legal battles all through to the Supreme Court.
Needless to say when Alhaji Yahaya Bello assumed oﬀice as the 4th Executive Governor of Kogi state on January 27, 2016, there were already complicated animosity and grievances against his candidature, particularly the process for his emergence. This orchestrated hatred took ethnic dimension as a section of the Igala ethnic groups who felt that, it was late Audu (their kinsman) they gave the mandate to and not Alhaji Yahaya Bello, an Ebira man from Kogi Central bore their fangs. There were also other ethno-religious champions like the OJUJU AGBADUFU who believed that Hon. James Faleke was short changed because there were certain cabals that did not want Christian to occupy the Governorship position. Yet, there were core late Audu supporters who felt that the family was short changed against the backdrop of huge investment committed into the election for which they had lost everything due to the sudden demise of their principal.
Apart from the above three (3) categories, there were also the supporters of the defeated former Governor, Captain Idris Ichalla Wada and his PDP supporters who were hoping on the constitutional lacuna then to be pronounced winner of the election to the extent of challenging the declaration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello all the way to the Supreme Court.
Glaringly, it was the inherited rots in the system such as ghost workers syndicate, over bloated wage bills, diaspora workers syndrome and general dysfunctional, ineﬀective and ineﬀicient civil service which necessitated civil service reforms for elimination of all the vices in the system. Expectedly, the beneficiaries of this illicit acts, attempted severally to frustrate the laudable eﬀorts of the government through several measures which almost marred the exercise.
All the above issues that are aptly summarised below and others formed the basis for the tensed atmosphere that characterised the November 16, Governorship election in Kogi state.
- There are some section among the Igalas of the Kogi East Senatorial district who felt that the tribe must govern the state to the exclusion of other ethnic groups. OJUJU AGBADUFU belongs to this group of mercantile ethnicists as clearly expressed in their write ups. This group believes that good governance can only be gotten from Governor of Igala extraction and nothing less.
- The religious bigots are other groups who felt marginalised under the successive and continuous Governors of Islamic religious faith. To this set of people, any Christian Governor from of whatever denomination would satisfy their yearnings and aspiration beyond the current Muslim dominance.
- The third groups are those who want to return the established semblance of monarchical political structures by returning the families or relatives of our past leaders. This manifested in both the dominant political parties; APC and PDP with Mohammed Audu and Mustapha Audu and Alhaji Yahaya Audu, children and younger brother respectively of the former Governor, late Alhaji Abubabar Audu jostling for the APC Governorship ticket. While in the PDP, Captain Idris Ichalla Wada, former Governor (2011 – 2015), his younger brother Engineer Musa Wada, their in-law and son of the former Governor of Kogi state (Alhaji Ibrahim Idris – 2003 – 2011), Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim Idris also contesting for the PDP ticket. Recall that, the PDP primary election was characterised by open display of vote buying as much as 300, 000 naira and a Motorbike per delegate, but unfortunately ended with sporadic gunshots and violence, culminating litigation over the rightful winner of the primary election between the son of the former Governor Ibrahim Idris and his in law Engineer Musa Wada. The case is still pending at the Kogi State High Court, Lokoja.
- The forth group are those who canvassed and supported continuity against the old order while at the same time urging people to bear and tolerate today’s pain that come with the reforms for enduring tomorrow’s gain. These groups are seen across the nook and crannies of the state evangelising this gospels which most of the civil servants who bore the harsh realities of the reforms where finding diﬀicult to accept. It is these civil servants that those in categories a – c above were using as alibi to achieve their cloaked agenda. In all, a‑er the scheming by all the categories in the two major political parties (APC and PDP), the incumbent Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello emerged as the flag bearer of the APC and Engineer Musa Wada, the younger brother of the former Governor, Captain Idris Wada (2011 – 2015) and a direct in law to the former Governor Ibrahim Idris (2003 – 2011) also emerged as the candidate for the PDP. The Kogi State November 16 Governorship election became a straight contest between the candidate of the PDP who openly ran his campaign on the strength of Igala ethnic agenda and the candidate of the APC whose campaign was run on what they termed ‘EBIGO’ agenda (EB = Ebira, IG = Igala, O = Okun) representing the three (3) major ethnic groups in Kogi State.
THE REMOTE AND IMMEDIATE CAUSES OF VIOLENCE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE NOVEMBER 16, KOGI STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION.
As clearly pointed out in the preceding section, the PDP candidate’s campaign mantra was dedicated to ‘reclaiming’ Igala mandate and restoration of Igala lost opportunities in 2015. Video evidence abounds, how inciting and divisive ethnic comments against other ethnic groups particularly the Ebira as people of insignificant population that must not be allowed to rule over the majority Igala anymore.
In fact, the ethnic agenda was so orchestrated to the point of circulating a fabricated speech that was attributed to the Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello that, average Igala person can sell his wife for 6,000 naira. And that the Governor had boasted at a public function in Ebira land how he was going to buy Igala people cheaply the way they can sell their wives and children at such ridiculous amount. The fabricated, divisive and inciting messages was spread and given eﬀect by some mushroom associations from Igala land, including the OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA through the various social media platforms.
Even as the Igala highest traditional institution led by the Attah Igala, Gabaidu, Chief Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni II stood firmly against such insinuation, the calamitous and colossal ember of ethnic sentiments have already been formed amongst the Igala people who believed in the fabricated message. The message was tactically designed not only to further divide the people of Kogi State, but to also win more followers particularly from amongst the Igalas who had in 2015 detest and rejected everything about the PDP because of poor governance and corruption tainted administration in all ramifications.
Consequently, any Igala person that was seen supporting the administration and candidature of Governor Yahaya Bello for the November 16 Governorship election was seen as a betrayal of the Igala people and cheap commodities waiting to be purchased by Governor Bello. In fact, the PDP ethnic campaign incitement also included fetish and open demonstration of a symbolic white cock raised by the PDP candidate which they claimed was not only used to invoke the spirit of the Igala ancestors against any Igala person that supported the Governor Bello whom they tagged ‘Ebira’, but also to purify the desecrated Igala land for the mistake of allowing another tribe to rule over them. Unfortunately, OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA and their ilk were not only promoting this divisive agenda, they were also in subtle support of the consequent a‑ermath of this incitement that manifested, albeit, those that aﬀected their interest.
It was therefore not a surprise that Governor Bello’s supporters and those seen to be supporting his administration to succeed, were labelled as traitors and betrayal of the Igala people; consequently they were severally attacked by the PDP miscreants and thugs. This obvious build up violence started with the attack on the Chairman and Convener of the Emerging Leaders Forum, Kogi East, Dr. Usman Ogbo and vandalisation of his vehicles at Ankpa even before the campaign rallies commenced. This violent action which was executed by the youths within the ‘teen’ age brackets, did set the tensed violent atmosphere the OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA were trying to give a diﬀerent but suitable colour in vain.
The Attah Igala, Gaabaidu, Chief Idakwo Ameh Oboni II, having noticed this politically induced ethnic tension and violent incitement, had in his wisdom among other consideration decided to honour the Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello, his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja and the Secretary to the Kogi State Government with chieaincy titles as symbolic essence of unity and sense of togetherness in Kogi State. Evidently, it was this same OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA who did not only write to challenge the Attah Igala to stop the ceremony, they also attempted to denigrate, debase and accuse him of being partisan in a similar letter, addressed to the Attah Igala and widely circulated as the one under reference. They took further steps to incite and create violent fears in the mind of the people not to attend the historic ceremony a‑er the eﬀorts of their rain makers had failed.
Few days a‑er the conferment of the Chie aincy titles on the Governor at Idah, by the Attah Igala, which was well attended against their planned expectation, the Governor was at Ankpa LGA for the APC rally. The Ankpa rally was a ‘Mecca’ of a sort. This further demystified the divisive eﬀorts of the Igala agenda merchants. Consequently, to create the illusion that the Governor was not popular amongst the people, they arranged youths in their ‘teens’ as above, who they used to attack his convoy. Unfortunately, apart from the APC rally, the Governor was also at Ankpa to commission the Ankpa Township Road that was le abandoned in a dilapidated and deplorable condition for twelve (12) years before it was fixed by the current administration. The irony is that the period the road was abandoned was under the administration of the successive Governors of Igala extraction (Alhaji Ibrahim Idris 2003 – 2011, Captain Idris Wada, 2011 – 2015).
During the build up to the election, in a well publicised report, Police arrested a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Suleiman Ejeh Abutu who was then serving as Chairman, Security Committee of Wada/Aro Security Organisation, Dekina LGA and six others in Dekina LGA with Pump Action guns, AK 47 rifles, and a pistol? (Search The Nation Newspaper and others online for details and reference).
On the Election Day, Mrs. Ejura Onoja, the wife of the Deputy Governor/APC Running mate’s vehicle was ruined by several bullets from gunshots at Egume in an attempted assassination on her life even with Policemen with her. The question is who sponsored the violent attack? The state or the opposition?
Obviously, judging from the series of sponsored attack along ethnic lines against the Governor and his supporters amongst the Igalas who labelled and tagged as traitor and betrayal of the Igala people, rational minds can safely conclude that, it was the fear of reprisal attacks in respect of what they did in Kogi East that probably prevented the PDP candidate and his supporters from going to Kogi Central (the Governor’s Senatorial district) to campaign. If not, how can the OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA rationalise the role of the Kogi State Chairman of PDP who incidentally is from Okene LGA in Kogi Central if the Governor did not allow level playing ground as insinuated?
These ignited divisive ethnic sentiments openly promoted and championed by the PDP flag bearer and follower obviously manifested in the November 16 Kogi state Governorship elections. Evidently, the incumbent Governor who was the APC flag bearer, massively cleared the votes in all the five (5) LGAs; Okene, Adavi, Okehi, Ajaokuta and Ogori – Mangogo in Kogi Central where he hailed from. On his part, the PDP flag bearer also won in seven (7) LGAs; Ankpa, Dekina, Bassa, Idah, Ofu, Igalamela –Odoulu and Omala, out of the nine (9) LGAs in Kogi East where he hailed from.
On 17th November, 2019 a‑er the declaration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello of the APC as the winner of that election, news broke out of the gruesome and heartless murder of the PDP Women Leader in Ofu LGA at Ochadamu with conflicting reports from each side of political stands even as the Police that is handling the investigation is yet to come out with compressive reports. A curious and cursory question is the possibility of whether the winner – party can be the aggressor or the bad loser party action might have prompted the unfortunate reprisal?
In all, the PDP flag bearer couldn’t have won landslide in Kogi East because of the equal-to- task eﬀorts of the Deputy Governor and running mate to Governor Bello in that election. Therefore, the result of the November 16, Kogi State Governorship election was a reflection of Kogi agenda against ethnic agenda which OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA are yet to come to term with the reality, as bad losers.
OUR ADVICE AND SUGGESTIONS FOR A WAY FORWARD
We observe the need for aggressive political education, sensitisation and public enlightenment on the need for continuous preaching for mutual cooperation and cohabitation in Kogi state, so as to diﬀuse the politically and ethnically induced incitement for which OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA and other mushrooms associations are enmeshed.
The relevant oﬀices which the OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA attempted to mislead in their letter under reference should disregard the misleading content in its entirety, as their outburst are products of PDP ethnically induced failed agenda and manifestation of bad losers from the election.
We are requesting for support and collaboration to train, educate and enlighten various groups within our domain like the OJUJU AGBADUFU IGALA, on the importance and overall benefits of politics of inclusiveness and not the parochial type that is capable of igniting short and long terms violence with limitless catastrophic eﬀects on all.
Apart from monitoring of election by the civil societies and international observers, there is the need to extend similar eﬀorts beginning from the campaign so as to nip in the bud, the type of divisive and inciting ethno – religious sentiments as promoted by the PDP during the November 16, Governorship election in Kogi state.
Since members of the two (2) major political parties in that election are still complaining and heaping blames on the role of the Police and other security personnel for compromise during the election; it clearly suggest act of neutrality and commendable professional conducts exhibited by
the security personnel. Continuous training, orientation and adequate remuneration are also desirable in similar exercise in the future.
The OJUJU AGBDUFU IGALA whose membership is not up to 20 persons and had no visible oﬀice in any parts of Igala land; except on the social media platforms cannot speak for the Igala people without due authorisation from Gabaidu, Attah Igala and Igala Cultural and Development Association (ICDA) which is the overall umbrella body of the entire associations in the Igala kingdom.
While commending INEC for the conduct of the last election, there is no doubt that there is room for improvement in some critical areas. This does not contradict the fact that there are improvements in that election in terms of voters turns out and distribution of electoral materials.
Finally, we enjoin the OJUJU AGADUFU IGALA to turn a new leaf to join us in our crusade and sincere desires for inclusive politics and governance for harmonious, prosperous, peaceful and sustainable development oriented Kogi State.
Accept the assurances of our esteem regards and maximum cooperation at all times.
God bless Kogi state and Nigeria our dear country.
- Alhaji Abubakar Ahmodu Sadiq President, ICDA
- Ustaz Umar O. Usman Secretary – General, ICDA
- Dr. Salisu Ogbo Usman, fcia Chairman/Convener, ELF
- Miss Faith Onoja Secretary – General, ELF
- Comrade Felix Solomon Omachoko President, IYDC
- Comrade Osheidi Ojodale Secretary – General, IYDC