Let Us Dialogue and Renegotiate Kogi State Before Gov’ship Election

Spread the love

Kogi is one of the states created by military fiat, with little or no inputs from majority of the stakeholders. The ethnic groups that were merged didn’t have the chance or an opportunity to adequately negotiate the terms to decide if they really wanted to come together, only a few persons who had connections with the powers that be at the time were carried along by the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.

Nearly three decades after the state was created by merging the Igala and Bassa tribes who were hitherto part of the old Benue state, with the then Kabba province which comprised the present day central and west districts of the state from the old Kwara state, unity of purpose, peace and harmony has continued to elude the state.

The confluence state is currently sharply politically divided along ethnic line, with every tribe and ethnic group seeking what they can get from our common patrimony rather than how best to transform, develop and move the state to an enviable height.

While the minority ethnic groups have continued to strive and struggle for political relevance and economic survival in a state that has not been lucky to produce a set of detribalized leaders since its creation, the major ethnic groups are thriving by using their numerical strength and economic advantage to subdue and suppress them. The winner takes all mentality of the ethnic giants in the state is largely responsible for the polarity, disunity and tension that we have witnessed since the past twenty eight years of our existence.

The Igala ethnic group’s dominance of the east senatorial district have subdued and reduced the Bassa tribe to mere spectators in the politics of that district, the highest elective political office a Bassa politician can attain for now is the position of a House of Reps member. The Igalas have always used their population advantage to exclusively retain the position of Senator for their kind since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999. The story is not too different in the west senatorial district where none of the many minority ethnic tribes have been able to gain the support and confidence of the Okun tribe who have since dominated the politics of the district since the double terms of office of Senator Tunde Ogbeha.

The political relegation of the people of Ogori-Magongo in the central senatorial district dominated by the Ebira ethnic tribe is pathetic and runs against the principles of fairness, brotherliness and unity. Okene and Ogori-Magongo shares a common federal constituency at the House of Reps, but they have always been relegated to the background and reduced to a second class status in the constituency. No Ogori-Magongo politician have been able to attain the position of House of Reps member since 1999, as their Ebira speaking counterpart have continually used their population strength to politically suppress them.

In the same fashion, the Igala ethnic tribe in the state had dominated the political scene in the state by relying on their numerical advantage to produce all the democratically elected governors of the state, before governor Yahaya Bello became the only man to attain the highest political office outside Igala land in what many have described as a divine design. The 2014 national conference report already addressed and proffered a lasting solution to the cases of ethno-political and economic dominations which has generated a lot of tension and mutual distrust in our polity, by recommending that power rotation at all levels of political positions be enshrined in our constitution but sadly, the current government decided to dump the report and recommendations of that august conference into the bin of history.

All hopes is however not lost, nothing stops us from coming together as Kogites to dialogue, renegotiate and design a political template that will give every tribe in the confluence sate a sense of belonging.

All ethnic groups in the state has politicians who are eminently qualified to contribute towards the rapid development of our dear state but are currently prevented and limited by population. A political arrangement where the position of councilor is rotated among the founding families of a particular ward, the position of chairman and House of Assembly member is rotated among the wards that make up the local government and state constituency, the position of House of Reps member is rotated among the local governments that makes up a federal constituency, the position of Senator is rotated among all the local governments in the senatorial districts and the position of governor of the state is rotated among the three senatorial district of the state will not only give all the ethnic tribes in the state a sense of belonging but will enhance unity, harmony, peace and mutual trust which will translate into an accelerated development of our dear state.

Kogi state won’t be the first to put in place this kind of a political arrangement as some of the multi-ethnic states in Nigeria already have it, to avoid a total domination of one ethnic group by the other and to give all tribes a chance to contribute towards the development of the state. Enough of the inter-tribal and ethnic enmity, acrimony and bitterness in our dear state, the time for us to prevail on the government of the day and our elders to convene an all ethnic conference towards setting a political agenda and order for Kogi state with the aim of putting our dear state on a pedestal of accelerated development is now or never. No ethnic group or tribe is superior or inferior to the others, we all own this state and it must be made to work for all of us.


– Hussain Obaro

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *