Kogi Guber: Between Data Boys and Shekpe Boys

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Everyday; scratch that. Start again. Every minute of the day that passes, terms, aphorisms, labels and coinages come to the fore in Nigeria’s governance parlance and in people’s expressions. Social media posts especially. But no where has more verbal inventions come up in the political lexicon preparatory to an electioneering period like it has for Kogi Politics.

The latest is the heading for this piece. Data Boys and Shekpe Boys.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Nigeria’s election umpire is preparing for Governorship polls in two states of Bayelsa and Kogi on the 16th of November this year. One state is in the North, the other in the South. That is not the dissimilarity between the two states. The most talked about of the two polls is Kogi which is always in the news making it the North – Central the headquarters of Political Discourse. However, there are various reasons as to why that is so. First, let us deal with our terms of discussion here – Data Boys and Shekpe Boys.

Those who are believed to get stipends and some form of patronage as a result of their support for the current government in Kogi State are referred to as the Data Boys by the other group – the Shekpe Boys. The Data Boys accuse the other ‘Boys’ of being boot – lickers who kowtow to the dictate of Kogi State Diaspora Politicians for nothing but kegs of palm wine and bottles of liquor.

The Data Boys on the other hand are believed to be those that are passionate about promoting the ideals of the government in Kogi State under the youngest Governor in Nigeria, Yahaya Bello. They are also seen as being in obeisance of Lugard House overlords. In fact, they are believed to be promoters and online defenders of policies and programmes of government. To the Shekpe Boys, their counterparts in the Data section are on ground being fed with authentic information to be disseminated to the public. Even though they are said to be eager to add their own ‘sugars’ on intervals.

The Shekpe Boys are believed by the Data Boys to be largely young people recruited to do the job of poking about to find lapses in government activities which they mostly discuss over bowls of pepper soup, Isi-ewu and Beer. They are seen by the Data Boys as a group that functions better under the influence as their information are usually laced with badly cooked propaganda. This is obviously a claim they deny.

These two groups have taken over most of the Kogi related social media handles, groups and chat forums trying to out-do each other. As it is, the Data Boys have suddenly owned up to the tag, carrying it about with pride.

The Shekpe Boys, who a sub-group of the Data Boys refer to as COZA Boys are yet to actually own up to their own end of the given tags, but are warming up to.

The Data Boys have come out to pinpoint places within Abuja metropolis where their rival group can be found, including Nyanya, Mararaba, Masaka and other outskirts of the city centres, even though their sponsors are believed to live in affluent neighbourhoods of the nation’s capital. But the Shekpe Boys, it is gathered, have few foot soldiers in parts of the state with the sole purpose of mining data for the headquarters to put to finishing touches before feeding the public. The main guys are hardly on ground in Kogi State because Abuja is the operational base.

It would be safe to conclude therefore that due to the domineering nature of the Data Boys, they are having the upper hand, but the Shekpe Boys are not lying low. If their antecedents are anything to go by, they are planning something up their sleeves to keep the online discussions alive in the weeks and months that precede the election.

As to why Kogi State is currently the Capital of Political Discourse in the media, it is probably because the current Governor, Yahaya Bello is altering the landscape with daring policies and programmes aimed at addressing several decades of rot in a cesspool of decadence and a system that has been hitherto characterised by anomalies. Let me catch brake here and sip water. We go continue at a later date.

Data Boys and Shekpe Boys…

– Mohammed Ahmed Yabagi writes from Lokoja.

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