Opinion: Who Will Save Kogi?

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The endless cases of thug rampage in Kogi State should be an issue of national concern. No doubt in the saying that in any given society, security of life and property comes next to food as a basic necessity incomparable with shelter. For what could be the use of shelter where one dwells in constant fears of threats to his life?

The thug industry was once a profitable enterprise in the state during the era of the then executive Governor of the state, Alh. Ibrahim Idris. The period was intensified by the boast of the wasting energy of the youths whom the government could not empower to be productive.

Then came the battle of supremacy between Ibrahim Idris and the late Prince Abubakar Audu, both who were motivated by their inordinate ambitions and resulted politics to the proving of might is right. Hence they incorporated the youths into antagonistic groups to fight for their various conflicting interests. The state during this period witnessed endemic state of insecurity where the people lived in constant fears.

This period in history was not peculiar with Kogi State. It was so with almost all states in the country. Un-checkmated inordinate ambitions of political leaders nearly plugged the federation into internal strife.

Kogi State in particular, although as one of the means that brought him into office, the former Governor Idris Wada intensified efforts to alleviate the state almost in totalitarian democracy. His first approach was in disengaging himself from the thug industry while assuring the state under him would witness the wake of security again.

Committing himself to this pledge, he stopped paying homage to the thugs who referred to themselves as the “children” of the political leaders.

Wada’s commitment in this direction is one area of his achievements where the people gave him kudos although he failed in other aspects which led the people to vote him out of power.

But just like the late President Umaru Musa Yar’dua who admitted that the election that brought him to power was not devoid of ‘some irregularities’ and thus pledged to improve on the electoral system of the country for democratic growth, Wada also proved himself as a man who understood that democracy is sustainable only when the people enjoy peace and security.

However, on coming into office of the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello, it is no longer news how the thug industry is kicking back. The situation has grown from background to the central. The people in the state are crippled in insecurity.

As with the most recent attacks in the state attributed to unknown thugs, these attacks are targeted at those criticising the unjust policy of the state government. Thus, this has given the nation an impression that insecurity is in the blueprint of the state government.

Recall that Senator Dino Melaye was attacked in the state capital during one of his peaceful campaigns against the policy of the government. It is equally on record that Elder Sanni Makama the lawmaker representing Odolu/Igalamela was attacked by unknown thugs at the state legislative complex in Lokoja. This is a lawmaker who has been outspoken against the government, advocating for the payment of salaries to the suffering workers in the state.

On the non-payment of salaries to workers in the state, the Channels TV reporter Segun Salami interviewed the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Edward Onoja who gave answer that became most embarrassing to the government and the trend featured prominently on major News Media House in the country. The same Channels Tv presenter was beaten up by unknown thugs in the state capital while discharging his official responsibility. This has given the impression to many people that the attack on Segun might possibly be a vengeance by the government. For what could be the reason thugs for such attack on a Pressman?

This ugly act is not certainly a vengeance against the Channels Tv Presenter but an encroachment on our constitutional freedom of press and speech. Being our constitutional rights granted, if such act is permitted to go unchecked against public officials, the fate of the common men in the state would be at stake.

Kogi has lost it again almost in all aspects. It therefore calls for the stakeholders at both state and federal levels to brainstorm on how to restore to the state the hope that this growing state of insecurity will be suppressed. This act surely is one which can be investigated and bring those behind it to justice.

It obvious that the society attains the stage of tyranny when insecurity reigns extreme, especially when such attacks are targeted at those who the government considers as rivals. Measure should be taken to ensure that freedom especially those which the people cannot separate from their existence is guaranteed.

– Abdullahi Suleiman Otiwe writes from Kogi state.

Phone: 08064188686

Email: asokogi@gmail.com

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