AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR OF KOGI STATE, HIS EXCELLENCY CAPTAIN IDRIS WADA
By Oyigu OnucheOjo Elijah
TOWARDS QUENCHING THE FIRE OF VIOLENCE IN KOGI POLITICS
Sir, I applaud your efforts and the cooperation of your team to have collectively moved the state to its present position. Your recent effort in reconciling senior citizens across the various political parties in the land is a lucid testament to your unwavering passion towards ensuring the preservation of peace and unity among the citizenry. The move will certainly shield the state against superfluous acrimony and maintaining the stead pendulum of harmony among Kogites.
History will ever remember you for your heroic effort in creating an enabling environment for the accreditation of the faculty of medicine at the state‘s own university whose teaching hospital you have performed the foundation laying ceremony. This will further boost the number of medical scientists in the state and make it trouble-free for our children to pursuing their careers within the domain of the Nulli Secondus, as the motto of medical faculty is always known. It is also hoped that, the school will be given further attention as it is presently ranked second to the bottom position among other universities in the country.
Your Excellency Sir, I found it extremely not plausible to have written two letters of the same status to you within a year. Recall that, sometimes last year, I wrote you an open letter with a title, “Look Inward Before It is Too Late.” The letter which details the need for us as a state to look inward towards exploring and exploiting the various mineral deposits in state as a panacea to over dependence on federal allocations was published in many media outfits in the country on March 11th , 2014.
As a firm believer of the prosperity and development of Kogi state and a citizen of the state that hail from Ibobo-Abocho, Dekina Local Government Area of the state, I am somehow concerned to approach your office with a view of proffering solution to the endemic problems confronting the fragile security of our state as well as the growth of our burgeoning democracy. However, I crave the indulgence of your hallowed office to ponder over some issues that will be discussed in this letter considering their import on the security and the democratic destiny of our dear state.
The recent political violence and other forms of thurggery in the state call for a sober reflection. Such political brutality, cruelty, hostility and sadism if not checked could culminate to making Kogi State which was once known as the haven of peace to become the theatre of political acrimony.
Your Excellency, Sir, It is an observable fact, that thuggery and other self induced vicious activities are part of plethora of quandaries combating Nigerian democracy. This has indeed spelled doom on the sanctity of democratic rule and conjecture colossal dent on the prospect of our democracy. Political thuggery seems to have differed in many ways from the contents of the songs of joy which our people sang when the news of the return of democracy spread across Nigerian cities, towns and villages in 1998.
According to a media report, on 20 January, 2015, decency was thrown to the thin air as supporters of two of the House of Representative Candidates both of whom are flying the flag of PDP and APC respectively engaged on street brawl. The misunderstanding which was believed to have started at a filling station in Ayangba, Dekina Local Government Area of the state, grew into burning of cars and destruction of properties. Though, the state Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), ASP Elvis Aguebor confirmed the incident but in some cases no arrest was made.
While I commend the state police command and other security agencies for their efforts in maintaining law and order in the state, it suffice to say that, political thugs should not be treated as sacred cows but should rather be arrested and charge to court when caught in the act of thurggery and allow them to be duly punished according to the contents of the law of the land.
Your Excellency Sir, recall that, you made an emphatic revelation during the 23rd anniversary of the creation of our beloved Kogi state of how your administration was able to curtail and eliminate youth restiveness and thurggery from the state. This according to you, was part of your major achievements as the state was heavily threatened by political thurggery before you enter Luggard House. Though, one will bear witness and agree with you that your administration has been able to substantially curtail youth recklessness and control the incidence of thurggery which almost became an adventurous industry in the state. However, the word elimination used in your speech, connotes total removal or obliteration of something or of a system. But one remains flabbergasted, how thurggery and youth restiveness that you said you had eliminated could still be allowed to germinate into exacerbating the already combustible socio-political climate of the state.
Your Excellency Sir, sometimes last year, an Igala media Icon, His Royal Highness, Late Isah Edime, the Amanata Ojikpadala-Aboo was brutally murdered by some assassins who abducted him from his compound and sent him to the grave without allowing him passage through the natural trajectory of death. During his burial on 13th June, 2014, you described him in your speech as a personal friend and a competent traditional ruler who had influenced Journalism in Kogi state as well as Nigeria as a whole. Though, the state police command swung into action by arresting some people whom were believed to have conspired to kill him but such untoward killing of innocent citizens if not checkmated can only dent the image and the integrity of the state and make innocent citizens mere preys to the ravenous and heinous elements that are always on monstrous missions. Assassination of human life has never been part of our culture. It is not among the historical tales that our fathers told us. It is a strange culture and an unwanted visitor whose trend should be nipped in the bud without much ado.
Mr. Governor Sir, in a situation where a Politian has one advantage from embarking on thurggery, the electorate has more than one thousand disadvantages. Political thuggery allows power to be hijacked from competent hands and allow those with less competence to rule. Political thuggery gives room to a heated polity where only those who are brave as lions dare the race. But the question is, if a politician kills, mutilates, maims, injures, and wound people just to rule, whose life will he superintend when he eventually emerges as the winner of the political contest? With political gladiators bending their minds while committing electoral malpractices and their eyes closed to its consequences on the maturity of the nation’s democracy, the need for our national and state legislative body to take a legislative step into nipping thuggery in the bud cannot be over-emphasized. Thuggery should be seen by the law of the land as a misdemeanor, a felony and a crime that should be served with weighty punishment.
Sir, youth restiveness has indeed returned back to the land and it is expedient that we give a spontaneous attention to how it could be handled before it deteriorates further. A few days ago, an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abdulazeez Sadiq Enyinavi, an Okene based Islamic scholar was murdered alongside two others in Okene while alighting from his car to go mosque for his weekly programme. Several groups and individuals have condemned such a brutal act among whom was a group known as Ebira Peace Vanguard (EPV) and as I write, the matter was still under security investigation.
Your Excellency Sir, as the 2015 general elections gather momentum with electioneering getting to the crescendo, it is germane that we map out a holistic modality on how to safeguard the lives and property of our people. This however, calls for total support and assistance for all the security agencies in the state as well as the need for them to be allowed independence in the discharge of their lawful duties.
The Peace Pact signed by the various presidential candidates in Abuja, the nation’s capital sometimes ago should be replicated in the state where all the candidates vying for elective positions in the March general elections should be made to sign an MoU. This will help in controlling and taming their supporters who may not adhere to the role of the game. Both Senatorial, House of Representative and State House of Assembly candidates should be made to take an oath that any of them whose camp is found violating law and order should be invited for security interrogation and if found guilty should be squarely punished.
The leadership of the various political parties in the state should be made to understand that, political and electoral victory does not only come through violence and killing of their fellow men. They should be able to call their supporters and followers to order. No thug recruits himself rather they are always recruited by certain politicians who see election as a do or die affair. Activities within political parties should be properly monitored without bias and whichever is found culpable of any infringement on the law of the land should be made to face the full wrath of the law. This however, is not a call to hunt after opposition parties in the state but rather a clarion call to seeing the sanctity of people’s lives above partisan politics. Political parties who control the activities of their candidates should know that we are one. We are brothers and sisters. They should bear in mind that there will not be Kogi state if there are no Kogites. We worship in the same church and mosque. We make use of the same market as there are no distinctive markets for each political party in the state. We are the glory of the state. There is Kogi state before this election and there will be Kogi state after this election. Political parties should see electoral victory as an act of God as no one has the right to enthrone himself. Whoever may not win today, might win tomorrow in another contest, therefore, there is no need to resort to fighting and untold rancor since in every contest there is always a victor and vanquished.
The traditional rulers and Royal fathers across the Local Government areas in the state should also be made to work in concert with the security outfits in the fight against political violence, thuggery and youth restiveness. They should be able to talk to their subjects on the need to maintain peace. They should be able to know when there are strange faces in the land and inform security personnel accordingly. The Immediate passed Attah Igala, His Royal Majesty, Late Dr. Alihu Obaje, played a fatherly role in the control of thuggery in Igala land by warming his subjects, saying that, the culture of killing one another was not part of the cultural heritage that his father bequeathed to him and therefore warned the youth in the land against perpetuating such a scandalous and wicked act. Royal fathers have control in the spiritual operations of the land through their royal pronouncements which can dictate the boundary of actions and inaction of their subjects. Their co-operations are highly needed in such a time as this. Besides, I have always maintained that, to restore sanity to the society, it is a collective jingoism that should be fought with an impregnable optimism. We all need to get involved in sending away this unwanted visitor from our state and become the vanguards of this sacred campaign. It is our collective responsibility.
Sir, as it is globally believed, “An idle man is always the devil’s workshop.” Youth restiveness and other political violent activities which are being perpetuated by the youth of the state are direct effect of unemployment in the land. Thuggery is one of the boomerang effects of unemployment as many youth are left to their fates even after graduating from school. It is also regrettable that some politicians who could not provide decent jobs for these young lads will in the other way round recruit them to do what they will never wish their own children in life. Though, unemployment is a global issue that seems to have bedeviled even most viable economies in the world, but be that as it may, the rate at which we leave our youth unattended to is breeding the ground for them to taking any offer at their disposal. A productive youth who is active in doing one or two things may not have time for any unholy job. Though I appreciate your wealth empowerment initiatives and Job creation programmes but more are still needed to be done to assuage the army of men and women we are graduating from school every now and then.
Mr. Governor Sir, you are the father of the state. You are the captain that is piloting the affair of the state. It seems at the moment there is a political fire on our rooftop that requires immediate attention. As a father and the chief security of the state, we are calling on you to appeal to our politicians who are aspiring to rule over us to at-least show that they have passion for the growth, development, prosperity and security of the fatherland. Indications abound that, most thugs end up metamorphosing into one or two violent and cult groups at the expiration of a given electoral period especially if abandoned by their political pay-masters thereby posing titanic threats to the already perforated security architecture of the land. As the country is presently waterlogged and submerged by insurgency and chronic terrorism which were hitherto not known in the land, it is advisable that political aspirants across the various political parties in the state should not further aggravate the security situation by arming young men into hunting after their political foes.
Oyigu OnucheOjo Elijah
Author/Creative Writer (07066492727; 08079808776)