The November 11 governorship elections has come and gone leaving mixed feelings among different groups in the state.
Build-up to elections saw fierce ethnic agitations taking centre stage. While APC chieftains in Kogi West were able to waltz through the power-shift agitation through sublime negotiations, same was not true with their counterparts from the eastern flank of the state.
The vexatious Igala Agenda was a movement synonymous to a Tsunami. Many appointees of government reportedly engaged in anti-party activities while some even resigned their appointments to join the local crusade.
However, some chieftains stood their grounds, ran against a fierce horde and defended the candidate of their party’s flag-bearer, Governor-elect Usman Ahmed Ododo.
Some of these gallant APC leaders are the Minister of Steel, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu; the State Auditor General, YY Okala; Rector of Kogi Poly, Dr. Usman Ogbo; Chairman of Dekina LGA, Ishaq Okolo among others.
These party generals deserves commendation and should be rewarded as a tonic for others in future. Failure to commend and reward these loyal partymen will only fertilize massive ethnic politics in near future.
Anyone who had faced similar ethnic agenda which is not uncommon in Kogi will understand the sacrifice made by these party generals. No single tribe is innocent of ethnic agenda at some point in the political history of our state. In 1999, Okun Agenda for Stephen Olorunfemmi treated kinsmen supporting Audu of then APP as traitors. In 2003, Ebira Agenda fueled the ambition of the UNPP candidate who was obviously destined to lose the governorship contest. In 2019, Ebira Agenda saw almost all PDP leaders from the zone giving tacit support for Yahaya Bello’s second term election. Even in the just concluded November 11 election this year, most of the Ebira leaders who identified with candidates other than their son, Ododo, did not find it funny. So, demonizing Igala Agenda is actually self-deceit. This is who we are, we cannot run from our shadows.
Some are already tinkering with the idea of dealing with Igalas when Ododo assumes office next year. This will be counter-productive. He must celebrate and reward Igala leaders who stood firmly with him at the polls against all odds. Moreover, he promised a united Kogi state where all ethnic zones will feel a sense of belonging. Any trace of ethnic chauvinism will surely taint his administration and will haunt him in no distant time.
2027 governorship election is by the corner and we will go through similar cycle. Ethnic politics will rear it heads but eventually. Kogi will win as usual.
– Abidemi Olalekan writes from Lokoja.