Throughout the history of political evolution, democracy has remained the most preferred system of organising society and government because it guarantees fair representation, equity and justice. And, it is a time-tested fact that, no society can attain meaningful development without these factors.
For the confluence state, as Kogi is fondly called, political disequilibrium and injustices have remained the hallmark of political leadership. Political analysts have attributed the disquiet in the state to absence of justice and fairness in the distribution of social amenities and infrastructural development, since the state returned to democratic governance in 1999.
One pathetic example of the crude marginalisation in the distribution of government projects in Kogi State is the neglect of Oganenigu Ward, one of the 12 wards in Dekina and unarguably the largest of the 239 Wards in the state.
Located 50 kilometres North of Dekina, the local government headquarters, Oganenigu Community remains the only Ward headquarter in Kogi East that is not accessable by tarred road. As a community of 20 fairly large villages, the two roads linking the community have been left in a deplorable state.
The 26 kilometre Oganenigu-Etutekpe road has become impassable and a death trap while the 22 kilometer Oganenigu-Iyale road, last constructed with laterite overlay in 1978, has completely broken down.
All electoral promises so far have only offered palliative measures for the people of the community. The direct consequences of the absence of good roads to the community is aggravated by an atmosphere of insecurity as armed bandits invade villages in the community at will to dispose villagers of their hard earned resources. Many lives and unquantifiable properties have also been lost to armed robbers. This has worsened the nightmare of travellers on the road, who are already traumatised by the bad roads, which results in wears and tears of their vehicles.
This has not taken into account the activities of Fulani herdsmen, who invade farms, destroy crops and render farmlands unfit for farming activities. The community has lost too many lives to the activities of herdsmen. Villagers can hardly go to farm without been molested, harassed and raped.
The trickle-down effects of absence of good roads have impacted negatively on both the economic and social lives of the community. For instance, the community has struggled over the years to retained policemen, health attendants and Primary, Secondary School Teachers posted to the community on the account of bad roads.
The only Primary Health Care (PHC), in the community was constructed by the Kwara State government in the 70’s when the Igalas were in Kwara State. The same is presently in tattered shape and not better than a prison yard.
This has had untold pains and twists in the lives of women and children, especially pregnant women and new born babies. On account of bad roads, pregnant women sometimes lose their lives before getting to Iyale or Anyigba General Hospitals. Under-5 years children are the worst hit as they are vulnerable to malaria and all manner of diseases.
Another effect of the bad road is the increasing incident of poverty in the community. This is because the famers can hardly transport their farm produce to the nearest Anyigba market at profit. Food items purchased by traders for a resell at Anyigba market are left to rot away as vehicles often breakdown on the road without alternatives.
In this era of escalation of food prices, Kogi State can rely on communities like Oganenigu to solve the food crisis in the state. This has been made difficult because the promise of the supply of fertilizer by successive administrations in the state has ended in broken promises. This, coupled with the Fulani menace, has denied the community of its share from food market.
The community is reputed for forest resources. However, the evacuation of same to market in exchange for money remain a herculean task because of bad road. These are too many challenges to confront any community in the 21st century.
Weary and tired of the brazen neglect of the community by concerned authorities in the state, the community has resolved that, it would no longer be used as a vote-catching centre by disgruntled politicians who only appear during electioneering campaigns; catch their votes and disappear into thin air until another election season.
Nevertheless, the community has left its chances opened as it believes the ‘New Direction government’ of Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello has demonstrated enough commitment to be trusted. The people are calling on the new team at the ‘Lugard House’ to come to the rescue of the community.
Credits: Omonu Yax-Nelson | Leadership