There is a fact not to be contested which is that politics is a game of numbers but what is to be contested is for logic of numbers and time to be stood on its head out of personal convenience.
In 2019, when the All Progressives Congress (APC) wanted retaining power in Kogi State, they floated the scam concept of EBIGO (Ebira, Igala, Okun). EBIGO was a concept that vowed to recognize the three major tribes in Kogi State in the power-rotation equation, the three major tribes being Ebira, Igala and Okun.
It was on the heels of the EBIGO scam that the Okuns and the Igalas were cajoled and obviously manipulated to deliver their zones to Governor Yahaya Bello of the APC. The concept back then was that after Yahaya Bello is able to win a second term to complete two-term in office, it will imply that the Ebiras have done consequently on behalf of Kogi Central and then it will logically be the turn of the people of Okun on behalf of the people of Kogi West, to also eventually govern Kogi State since the Igalas have on behalf of the people of Kogi East zone, done already.
Based on the EBIGO scam of 2019, prominent leaders and their supporters and beneficiaries across the Kogi East and the Kogi West were made to deliver their zones against all odds by every means they found necessary at the time. They did this even against the backdrop of the well-known fact that the APC has largely failed to deliver on governance and was undeserving on any need to be returned to Government House.
Against logic and essence, the APC was returned in a bid to help the people of Kogi Central being the Ebiras to complete their turn in governance. Fast forward to recent events, the APC occupants of Lugard House have done a complete about-turn and have dumped the EBIGO concept in the dustbin and now they are floating a certain “16:16:16” agenda which implies that since the Igalas did 16 years before power left them, the Ebiras should be allowed to now do extra 8 years before relinquishing power hopefully to the Okuns to do some 16 years in power too on behalf of the people of Kogi West or per chance for the Igalas to rather find their way back to power already.
Ordinarily, one expects that the Igalas, if they really intend to return to power any time soon, they must reject the “16:16:16” agenda and rather support the Okuns to win in November so that by as soon as 2031, power would have finished going round the three zones of the State and then the Igalas can have it again. Also, one expects the entire people of Kogi West to have now learnt their lessons from the EBIGO scam of 2019 and grab this 2023 chance with both hands. If the people of Kogi West miss this 2023 opportunity, they may never have it again as it is every four years now that the APC keeps shifting the goalpost and changing the power-rotation rules as much as it suits their own personal convenience as surely there is a few that is taking all the unilateral decision for them all to accept any which way.
It is clear that the APC has the people of Ebiraland and for much of Kogi Central on lockdown already with the hope of retaining power via the Ebiras; but what about the people of Kogi West and Kogi East? The option is largely rather theirs. If the people of Kogi West and Kogi East learnt anything from the EBIGO scam APC dealt to them in 2019, this year 2023 November is the perfect time to prove it by outrightly rejecting the APC at the polls. I am certain that the Okuns and consequently the people of Kogi West will not want to wait any further 8 years before finally getting this power, but the Igalas and their recent obvious disunity issues is the problem to an extent. If the Igalas honestly desire to be back to power soon enough, they must join their numerical strength with the Okuns and come up with a joint consensus and defeat the APC in November. If the Igalas decide to go ahead to contest in the course of this year 2023 November, it will be futile, logically-speaking. This is as the Igalas have never in the history of Kogi State delivered the high number of votes they are expecting especially compared to how the Ebiras can, in comparative partisan percentage. This is because the Igalas are lately no longer as united as the Ebiras. So, the Igalas should rather put their little existing co-operation among themselves together and join the ticket of the Okuns and help the Okuns win and then in 8 years time, even if it means nobody else in the State contesting along with them across the political parties in the State, so be it, if that will be the easiest way of helping the Igalas return to power any moment soon by year 2031.
I do strongly believe that waiting for 8 years is better than waiting for about 24 to 32 years if not for all eternity, to taste power again. The Igalas have the numbers but they don’t have the unity. The Ebiras may not have the numbers, but they have the unity and the powers of incumbency to deliver as much votes that will even out with the votes the Igalas can largely produce in essence on election day.
So, the Igalas should rather accept Deputy Governorship slot from the Okuns and come to the table already and hit the ground running in a bid to remove APC from power and to say “Enough is Enough” to the “Maradona” style of power-rotation currently ongoing in Kogi State where the power-rotation rule now changes due to personal convenience and not due to any principle of fairness, equity and justice.
Even the Ebiras must act to show they are people who value the shared choices of their neighbours. The Ebiras must thank God that the power came at first of course via an act of God, but the only way to show that indeed the Ebiras were being marginalized since the creation of the State till God acted by Himself in His own ways in 2015, is by relinquishing this power to the Okuns, yes, “relinquish” is the “appeal word” in this instance, but then the Ebiras must yet understand that the rest zones are watching, if the power is not relinquished as a show of honour, if the power is rather collected away at the polls in a show of obvious numbers competing, the power may never return to Ebiraland till maybe tens of years or hundreds of years to come. This is as the Okuns and the Igalas may decide that since they collected the power away by November 2023 by defeating the Ebiras at the polls especially if it was a hard-fought victory, they may now be rotating it among themselves only and it will be a situation whereby the Ebiras will not be able to have a say because of what their ancestors by then who are the people of today may be doing regarding the power-rotation conversation.
The Ebiras of today and of this year 2023 must understand that there is greed, there is opportunism but there is also honour. Trying to hold onto this power beyond January 2024 is greed and opportunism combined, but relinquishing the power between November 2023 and January 2024 is an act of honour which future Ebiras to come shall be respected for by the other zones when history is revisited in the power-rotation conversation.
However, if the Ebiras of now shall choose to want to hold on to the power beyond January 2024 under the guise of some “16:16:16” agenda, the Igalas should immediately close ranks with the Okuns and consequently all the people of Kogi West and collect the power away with their numbers in belief that by 2031 the people of Kogi West will return similar kind gesture by ensuring that the Igalas return to power.
The choice is therefore for all the Ebiras, the Okuns and especially the Igalas to look at the facts and the logic of the times and let fairness and equity prevail by ensuring that an Okun indigene becomes the next Governor of Kogi State. It is the fair and right thing to do at this juncture of the power-rotation conversation of the State.
Altogether, the Igalas must understand that being Igala is not being a political party, hence supporting one political party is the only way forward for them as an ethnic nationality else their large voting numbers will be rendered ineffective at the polls. The Igalas are largely PDP voters, hence it is best if they support PDP with their numbers than trying to run an ethnic agenda because of their numbers even when it is clear that the Igalas don’t have the necessary co-operation to win any ethnic contest this year 2023.
History beckons and we know there are still honourable Ebiras who share similar sentiment that an Okun indigene should be the next Governor of Kogi State. Also, it is expected that the Okuns will not go into November with the intent of splitting their own votes knowing fully well that if they don’t win this year, they may never have this similar opportunity ever again.
The Okuns and consequently, the people of Kogi West are at the threshold of history, a bulk vote will do the job, a split vote will only mean that the Okuns and consequently the entire people of Kogi West are perhaps not and never ever ripe to govern Kogi State. To govern Kogi State, your ethnic nationality must be going into the polls with the intent of delivering bulk votes to you as their fellow tribe-person as against with the intent of splitting votes hoping people from other places will rather deliver their own votes for you.
A vote for an Okun indigene, come November; is a vote for fairness and equity and justice in Kogi State regarding the age-long power-rotation agitation in Kogi State.
APC is normally a party of deceptive individuals taking much of their decisions as a party leadership and trying to impose such deceptions on the people generally under the guise of “our leader has spoken to us as a party and consequently to the people generally”.
If the same APC leadership that floated EBIGO in 2019 is the same set of people that are rejecting power-shift today and are insisting on power staying back in Kogi Central for yet another 8 years under the personal convenience of theirs hinged on some “16:16:16” agenda of theirs; what then is the probability that they will not shift the goal-post and re-switch the rules of the mutual conversation in 8 years time if they are allowed to succeed again in this year 2023? So, the choice is eventually that of Kogites to make altogether for fairness, equity and justice to collect the power away from Central and shift it to the Okuns, come November when the State goes to the polls to elect its next Governor.
– Issa Itopa Lucky wrote from Abuja.