By Daniel Adaji
The Ad-hoc Political Committee of Uk’Omu Igala Organization, under the chairmanship of Architect Gabriel Aduku, recently met with contenders in the race to represent Kogi East Senatorial District in the National Assembly. It tasked those who shall emerge victorious in the February 25, 2023 elections to work for the development of the entire people of Kogi East.
The meeting, meant to bring together for an interaction all National Assembly candidates in the 2023 elections, was held on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at Ogohi Guest House in Wuse, Abuja.
We must have a common focus – to positively impact Kogi East
In his opening address, Chief Aduku emphasized the need for unity of purpose among all persons of Kogi East Senatorial District who would be elected as federal or state legislators, as that is the only way efforts could be consolidated for the development Kogi East and the state at large.
To achieve this, Chief Aduku said, only persons who have verifiable competences, character, capacity, sound education, diverse social networks, credibility, and passion for the development of Kogi East should be elected into legislative and executive positions.
He said, “The time has come when the political leadership in Igala land should not be left in the air for just anybody that has the money to purchase party nomination forms and prosecute successful electioneering campaign. People who aspire for political leadership must be persons with requisite character and competence to bring the dividends of democracy to Igala people, Igala land and Kogi state.”
Kogi East Senatorial District is one people
Chief Aduku added that, “Kogi East Senatorial District is one people. Local governments are artificial boundaries which cannot degrade our oneness. It follows, therefore, that we must be united, and act as one in pursuit of common objectives for our people, whether as members of Kogi State House of Assembly, House of Representatives or as Senator. We must have a common focus – to positively impact Kogi East.”
Though invitation letters were sent to all candidates for the legislative elections, only two senatorial candidates attended the interactive session. They are Dr Victor Alewo Adoji of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Chief Hilary Amodu of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Dr Adoji, with over two decades’ experience in the banking sector and now a businessman, had contested for the senatorial seat in 2015 and participated in the primary election for governorship of Kogi State in 2019. In his self-introduction, Dr Adoji gave a summary of the leadership positions he had held since his days in secondary school, and how he was serially elected into the Students Union Government (SUG) of the University of Jos, Plateau State throughout the years he studied for a degree in Economics. His involvement in the SUG culminated in his election as president of the SUG of the university.
Speaking on his vision for Kogi East, if elected on February 25, Dr Adoji promised to leverage the privileged network in the Senate to boost the economy of Kogi East.
Kogi East is the cashew production headquarters of Nigeria
He argued that though Kogi East is the cashew production headquarters of Nigeria, peasant farmers of the cash crop rarely benefited from the wealth cashew attracts due to their inability to add value to the produce. Middlemen who contribute little to the production process benefited more from cashews produced in Kogi East.
Dr Adoji promised to use his position in the Senate to persuade stakeholders in the Nigerian financial sector to support peasant farmers’ efforts and/or invest in the cashew sector to create wealth and employment for the people of Kogi East.
On how to harness the abundant natural resources in Kogi East for the benefit of the people, Dr Adoji said the National Assembly has a role to play in the amendment of the Constitution to migrate the extraction of natural resources from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List. But, he argued, such measures would be made possible if there are visionary representatives of the people of Kogi East in the National Assembly.
Chief Hilary Amodu, also a former banker and former administrator of Idah Local Government Area of Kogi State took the Committee members through his contributions to the socio-cultural development of Kogi East. Apart from being the publisher of impactful Who is Who in Igalaland, Chief Amodu has organised cultural events, summits, and awards to encourage the people of Kogi East who are contributing to the development of Nigeria.
He said, if elected into the Senate, he would use his position to mobilize and attract funds for the socio-economic development of Kogi East. Chief Amodu lamented the poverty, lack of pipe borne water and roads, the poor state of the education sector, and general insecurity in Kogi State.
The Committee told the candidates that whoever is elected, would be evaluated by the promises they made during the interactive session.