For starters, this is the second letter in my series, which I will be writing periodically to address topical issues in the life of our dear state, in my bid to provoke intellectual discourse that will help shape the course of our history under this democratic dispensation.
Yes, the clock is ticking. 2019 general elections are around the corner. Already, the drumbeats of active politicking are roaring in the air in all nooks and crannies in our dear state.
In keeping with the guidelines released by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), politicians of all manners of characters, academic credentials, and career profiles have gone to the trenches to prepare and position themselves ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
It goes without saying that, they’ve started mobilizing their supporters and foot soldiers in readiness for the political battle ahead. If you move around major streets in all the 21 local governments, you would see ubiquitous colourful billboards and posters bearing all shades of political office seekers who have already thrown their hats into the ring.
This is the season of promises. True, they’ve started promising to build bridges along river Niger and Benue and other democracy dividends, in a bid to win the hearts of unsuspecting registered voters and the generality of the people. It has become a recurring ritual of sorts. Those aspirants, who have never been coming home to their wards and constituencies in the last one decade, have suddenly relocated from their bases in diaspora to their ancestral homes. Those who cannot locate their ancestral homes have decided to take temporary refuge in hotels, pending the time 2019 general elections would have become another political history in our national life.
Indeed, politicians are so crafty and smart. Those who have never indulged in any philanthropic activities all their lives have started launching various fake and dubious people-oriented foundations intended to hoodwink innocent and undiscerning electorate. These foundations, I can assure you are pre-determined for a short life-span. I can assure you too they will largely cease to exist after the consummations of the forthcoming 2019 general elections which would have definitely produce winners and losers.
Kogi State is a very funny and absurd political theatre of sorts. Those who have never givenN1,000 to destitute and needy members of their family and other citizens in their constituencies, have suddenly become Father Christmas, dolling out items like vehicles, motorcycles, tricycles, and other consumable items. Don’t be deceived. All these acts of benevolence are all a gimmick to buy your conscience so that you can patronise them in their spirited efforts to fulfil their inordinate political ambitions.
It is against this background, that this letter has become very imperative to interrogate the recurring dubious and corrupt process of producing leaders into various elective offices in the state and national levels.
From my experience, it goes without saying that the greatest danger to democracy and development in our dear state in the last 20 years of our political history is the unpatriotic and undemocratic activities of two set of politicians namely; the moneybag aspirants and party delegates.
I wish to submit that until well-meaning people of the State stands up and collectively checkmate the unwholesome conducts in our polity, Kogi state would probably remain stunted and underdeveloped for a long time to come.
As a former political reporter with the Graphic Newspaper and a former media aide to one of the big shots in the state, I can authoritatively aver that the principal reason why Kogi State has comfortably occupied a permanent position among the comity of less and underdeveloped states today, can be traced to the conspiracy and marriage of convenience between moneybag aspirants and party delegates. Unfortunately, this conspiracy has become a tradition in our political evolution.
Yes, because of the activities of this group of people, our state has been denied the much desired selfless services and visionary leadership of some of our brightest and credible minds.
Nobody can convince me that those who have ruled this state since 1999 to 2015 are among the First Eleven of those who had aspired to lead this state under this democratic dispensation.
In a political race that featured the likes of Razaq Isah Kutepa, Jubril Isah Echocho, Dr Phillips Salawu, Ambassador Usman Bello, Engr. A. T. Ahmed, Senator Alex Kadiri, Dr Onukaba Adinoyi Ojo, Honourable Abiodun Ojo, Bayo Ojo (SAN), Sola Akanmode, and a host of other credible and resourceful aspirants between 1999 and 2015 gubernatorial elections, how come our delegates were repeatedly swayed and persuaded by the lure of pecuniary gains that made them ignore these group of people, that are clearly among the class of bright minds and achievers that Kogi State has given to the world.
It is safe to conclude therefore, that that our delegates have done the State the greatest disservice in the history of the state.
If you ask me, I think hope is not lost. We now have another opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and tackle this cankerworm in the body of our polity. Ahead of the forthcoming general elections, all well-meaning people of the state, particularly the youth that have registered and collected their PVCs have a duty to use their PVCs to change the sad narratives in our political life.
This is the time to say NO to the antics of moneybags and their collaborators (party delegates) in the subversion of our political process. Enough should be enough. Our mumu don do.
– Otori Ozigi is a retired public servant and Journalist.