Kogi East: Attah Igala Inaugurates ‘Emerging Leaders Forum’

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Attah Igala, Dr. Idakwo Ameh Oboni II has been appointed Grand Patron of the Emerging Leaders Forum, a group of young leaders from the eastern flank of Kogi state.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Forum, the Chairman and convener, Dr. Salisu Ogbo Usman assured that the Forum will submit to the monarch’s authority as they work assiduously for peace, growth, progress and desired development of Kogi East.

Ogbo bemoaned the structural and economic marginalization of Kogi East and blamed the elites for the untamed ugly trend.

The university don accused past governors of Kogi East extraction of leveraging of the zone’s electoral strength to achieve personal political goals without recourse to the problems of the people.

He assured that the Forum will challenge status quo in its quest to ensure good governance and development in Kogi East.

Read his full remarks:


Remark At The Inauguration Of The Emerging Leaders Forum, Kogi East, By His Royal Majesty, Agabaidu, (Dr) Idakwo Ameh Oboni II,The Attah Igala and President, Kogi State Council of Chiefs at Attah Igala’s Palace, Idah, Kogi State.



This is indeed a great honour and a rare privilege in my lifetime for this opportunity by His Royal Majesty, our revered Attah Igala, Agabaidu for me to make remark on behalf ofthe intellectuals, dynamic and emerging leaders from Kogi East.

Your Majesty, we lack words to express our profound appreciations for the warm and royal reception you accorded us here in your Palace yesterday when we came to present letter to you as our Grand Patron and for your prompt approval of the follow up request for the inauguration of the Forum.

That you graciously grant our request for which we gather here today after yesterday’s robust interaction, is a clear demonstration of His Royal Majesty’s quest for accelerated development of the Igala kingdom.

Your Royal Majesty,cabinet Chiefs, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me seize this opportunity to explain in summary, the core focus and values of the Forum. The Emerging Leaders Forum, Kogi East, is a registered Non Governmental Organization of group of Nigerian intellectuals who are of Kogi East origin but drawn from all spheres of human endeavours.

As dynamic, determined and aspiring leaders, we are, out of concern, determined to work collectively and collaboratively with government across levels (Federal, State and Local Governments), identified notable groups, individuals and revered traditional institutions for the purpose of promoting, advocating, canvassing and attracting good governance and development to and for our domain and beyond.

Our overall theme and focus,which is “Good Governance and Development”, is further broken down into the following specific objectives:

  1. To serve as a platform for collective aspiration for peace and development of our domain;
  2. To serve as examples for peace and development in our domain and beyond;
  3. To serve as a forum for intellectual engagement and propagation of moral values through mobilization,sensitization and enlightenment programmes from time to time; 
  4. To mobilize and sensitize for the key values of good governance in our domain and beyond;
  5. To identify development concern in our domain for prompt attention and correction where necessary;        
  6. To serve as advocacy for good governance;
  7. To serve as a platform for education, health and job opportunities for the people of our domain and beyond;
  8. To provide security support and enlightenment as the case may be;
  9. To provide and attract infrastructural facilities as support for the development  of our domain;
  10. To work collectively and in collaboration with other groups to address issues of concern ranging from socio–political and economic development.
  11. To in, collaboration with the relevant groups promotes our cultural values for national and international tourist attraction.

Your Majesty, there is no doubt that peace and tranquility are the basic lubricants for governance and development; and can be obtained, sustained and at the same time, provoked with politics and economic indices. That is why it is said that the immediate resultant effects of political instability is economic instability because of the reciprocate effects.

Your Majesty, it is an open secret that we have of late, witnessed series of strange, abominable condemnable development in Kogi East. These include:

  • Violent armed conflicts among the youths, most of whom are within the “teen” age brackets;
  • Growing rate of drug abuse and addiction and the consequent health hazard some of which are responsible for the rampant cases of mental retardation resulting in avalanche of lunatics on our street;
  • Armed robbery and kidnapping;
  • Political thuggery;
  • Cult groups;
  • Growing abuse of the Social Media and the resultant effects of lack of respect for the elderly; 
  • Growing culture of lack of respect for constituted authorities among our people most especially among the youths and the debasing our revered traditional authorities and institutions for public ridicule;
  • Negative reportage about our activities,culture and aspirations by our people
  • Appetite for endless litigations amongst our political elite .
  • Introduction of very dangerous stereotype, religious strife and cultural misrepresentation, which were until recently never an issue among the Igalas.

Your Majesty, the above listed interrelated and interwoven items and more are the obvious odds and obstacles that are not only offensive to peace but also obstacles to good governance and development not only in the Kogi East but beyond.

Your Royal Majesty, our dear Kogi state which was created in 1991 can best be described as a “mini”Nigeria, considering the composition, contestation, perception and confrontations therein.

The obvious perceptions and the eventual confrontations to the collectivity of the people of Kogi East by our brothers and sisters from the Central and Western parts of the state has been the perception of marginalization by the people of Kogi East.

At the surface, this can be justified considering the fact that, the successive Governors of Kogi state under civilian administrations until the year 2015 all came from Kogi East (Alhaji Abubakar Audu, Alhaji Abubakar Audu, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, and Captain Idris Wada). This may not be unconnected to the population strength of the Kogi East. In fact, this obvious intimidating strength has been at the mercy of politically motivated threat without commensurable counter force by the people of Kogi East.  

Your Royal Majesty, probably, because our defensive and projective voices were not loud enough, the perception about the people of Kogi East by our brothers and sisters from the Kogi Central and West as sold to other Nigerians and beyond by their vocal representatives has been that of people that marginalized others because of our presumed natural numeric advantages. Hence, the sympathy for these our state kinsmen especially from the successive administrations at the federal levels has severely put the Kogi East at the bottom of disadvantage in all ramifications

Your Royal Majesty, even as the marginalization phenomenon manifest as real and or imaginary, people are quick to use the concept without recourse to its various forms and manifestations so as to properly situate its political economy meaning. Marginalization exists in the form of political, economic and structural.

Your Royal Majesty, just as the vocal and vibrant voices from the Kogi West and central have relentlessly voiced out against the perceived political form of marginalization by the Kogi East, why are the voice of the people of Kogi East not heard let alone being loud enough against the obvious structural marginalization?

Your Royal Majesty, permit me to mention just one disturbing obvious example for reference so as not to turn this remark to an academic Post Graduate class if I am to present more. How many Local Government Areas did the people of Kogi East come with from Benue State on the creation of Kogi State in 1991? How many did Kogi West and Central came with from Kwara state? Why has Kogi East become suddenly disadvantaged in the LGA creation exercise in since the state was created?

Structural marginalization exist when one Local Government Area is a Federal Constituency in a senatorial district while in another senatorial district, four Local Government Areas make up a Federal Constituency. Specifically, Ajaokuta LGA in Kogi Central is a Federal Constituency while Idah/Ibaji/Ofu/Igalamela–Odolu LGAs is a Federal Constituency. The economic consequences of this structural marginalization against the people of Kogi East whose voice is not heard or loud enough are better imagined from all ramifications.

In terms of economic marginalization, it is majorly a self inflicted one by the elite of the Kogi East against the masses. Let me use few examples here to explain. With the number of Governors and other top government functionaries that Kogi East has produced and paraded, why has the Idah – Umommi road remained a death trap until a non Kogi East Governor of Kogi state is now completing this road that lead to the traditional seat and political headquarters of Kogi East?  

As at the last count and till now, is there any former Governor of Kogi state and former Local Government Chairman of Kogi East extractions whose investments are not majorly located in Abuja or have no permanent residential apartment in the same city? How many of their investments are located in Kogi East for the development of Kogi east where our teeming youths can benefit in terms of job opportunities? Our teeming job seekers from Kogi east in the major cities in Nigeria are at best “Gatemen, Petrol Pump Attendants” and other demeaning menial jobs. Yet, Kogi East had the opportunity to have produced successive Governors of Kogi state for unbroken records of sixteen years.

You will be more disappointed when we begin to take a critical look at the worst state of electricity supply, chronic shortage of portable water, dilapidated hospitals and clinics, as well as roads that are best described as death traps with frequent road accidents almost everyday in Kogi East. Yet, Kogi East had until the year 2015 produced the successive Governors of Kogi state without commensurable developmental benefits for the people.

Your Majesty, permit me to expose all these challenges because we are determined for paradigm shift with sustainable road maps for your royal consideration and blessings. Since1999, political development in Igala land is best described as “one step forward” and “two steps backward”.

If not, how can we describe the situation when the Igala elite who manipulated the masses to have voted out of office Prince Abubakar Audu of blessed memory in 2003 even as a household name of development to turn around for his return to office in 2015, that is 15 years after.

Your Majesty, just as there is no smoke without fire, seemingly, under the regime of Capt. Idris Wada, the reign of political thuggery was somewhat curtailed with ease, but lost out in his reelection bid in 2015.  However, it seems that he is also mulling the idea a return to power based on presumed pressure by the sections of the same elite that earlier conspired against him. That is why we said; it is case of “one step forward” and “two steps backward”.

Your Majesty, it is a known fact that most notable controversial and landmark judgments up to the Supreme Court in Nigeria are traceable to the needless and endless litigations on political and election dispute between and among politicians of Igala extraction from Kogi East. These endless litigations without recourse to and or interventions from our noble traditional institutions of authorities is one of our major worries because of the obvious counterproductive and multiplier negative effects on the desired good governance and development for our land.

Apart from the litigations over Governorship among the Igala political gladiators, more worrisome is the endless litigations over the Kogi east senatorial seat. Just within a stretch of four years from 2015, the Kogi east senatorial seat had been vacated by Court four times and still counting. At first it was Senator Abdulraham Abubakar (Railway), Senator Attai Aidoko, Senator Isaac Alfa and now Senator Attai Aidoko again.

Presently, Senator Attai Aidoko and Senator Isaac Alfa are at the Supreme Court even as the election to the disputed seat is less than two months from now.   

Your Majesty, while other senatorial districts in Kogi state are busy making loud noise on behalf of their people, the Kogi east hopeful are celebrating with ego-litigation as achievements, if there is anything like that. There is no doubt that, endless litigations which is a manifestation of desperation by the political class, is responsible for political thuggery, political assassination, and violent armed conflict. Those arms that were procured for the youths to unleash political mayhem against perceived political opponents are used for kidnapping, robbery, and nefarious cult related activities with the resultant drug abuse as inducement to act.  All these were hitherto alien to our land.

Your Majesty, as clearly presented above, we can juxtapose that Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi state that providence of leadership of our dear state fell on after the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu in 2015 is certainly not the problem of Kogi East. The present crops of political class are obviously the problem of the people and the territory of Kogi East, because they have failed us and still not ready to change, let alone mentor the younger ones. 

If anything, Governor Yahaya Bello has made bold political statement that is in tandem with our paradigm shift agenda as exemplified in the choice of his Chief of Staff in the person of Hon. Edward Onoja who is not his kinsman, a deviation from the practice of the old order.  In addition, the Governor also injected and dominated his Cabinet with the ambitious younger elements that are desirous to moving the state forward. This again is deviation from the old order when youths were used and empowered as political thugs. As a body, we can only urge and encourage the Governor to improve on the quality of the youths he engages if the target is to achieve meaningful developmental impacts.  

Your Majesty, it is based on your laudable and tireless efforts to changing the negative narratives before it become norms that your children from all parts of your kingdom spread across Nigeria decided to embark on this selfless advocacy agenda under this Non Governmental Organization (NGO) with the theme and focus on: “Good Governance and Development”.

Good Governance by definition is any Governance that is good. In other words, any governance that is good is developmentally oriented.   Where there is good governance, followers may not be interested in the language, tribe, faith, race, sex and even the size of the leader.

Our desire and focus for Kogi east under your reign is the forward-looking type that will pride and parade the first eleven and without recourse to “who know man” and recycled leaders again.

Your Royal Majesty, Iwant to once again on behalf of the members of this Forum, some of whom are gathered here today to witness the inauguration of her Executives, to profusely thank you for accepting to serve as our Grand Patron. We solemnly pledge our submission to your will and authority to work assiduously, selflessly and tirelessly for peace, growth, progress and desired development of Kogi east under your reign.

God bless Agabaidu!

Thank you all for listening.

-Dr. Salisu Ogbo Usman


8th December, 2018

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