The Need to Create Inikpi State Out of Present Kogi State

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Nigeria, with its rich diversity and complex socio-political landscape, has long grappled with the challenge of equitable development and representation for its many ethnic groups. Kogi State, located in the North-Central region of Nigeria, embodies this diversity, encompassing a mosaic of cultures, languages, and historical backgrounds. However, this diversity also brings to light significant challenges, especially in terms of political representation, resource allocation, and developmental parity. Against this backdrop, there has been a burgeoning call for the creation of Inikpi State out of the current Kogi State. Named after the legendary Princess Inikpi of the Igala Kingdom, the proposed Inikpi State aims to address historical inequities and foster balanced development across the region.

The history of Kogi State is deeply intertwined with the histories of its major ethnic groups: the Igalas, Ebiras, and Okuns. Created in 1991 from parts of Kwara and Benue States, Kogi State was envisioned as a melting pot where these diverse groups could coexist harmoniously. However, over the years, disparities in development and political representation have become evident, leading to growing discontent among the populace.

The Igala people, predominantly located in the eastern part of Kogi State, have a rich cultural heritage and a storied history, with Idah serving as a historical capital. Despite their significant population and contributions to the state’s economy, many Igalas feel marginalized in the state’s political and developmental affairs. The creation of Inikpi State, therefore, is seen as a means to rectify these imbalances and give the Igala people a more direct control over their destiny.

Kogi State is blessed with abundant natural resources, including minerals like limestone, coal, crude oil and iron ore, as well as agricultural potential. The eastern region, proposed to become Inikpi State, is particularly rich in these resources. The exploitation and development of these resources have often been hindered by bureaucratic inefficiencies and political wrangling at the state level. By creating Inikpi State, it is believed that a more localized and focused governance structure could effectively harness these resources, spurring economic growth and development in the region.

Moreover, Inikpi State could become a hub for agricultural production, given the fertile lands and favorable climatic conditions in the region. With a state government dedicated to developing this sector, the region could see improvements in agricultural productivity, food security, and job creation, thus uplifting the standard of living for its inhabitants.

One of the core arguments for the creation of Inikpi State revolves around the need for improved political representation. In the current configuration of Kogi State, political power has often been perceived as skewed towards certain groups, leading to feelings of disenfranchisement among others. The Igala people, despite being one of the largest ethnic group in Kogi State, often feel that their political influence is diluted in the broader state politics.

By creating Inikpi State, there would be a more equitable distribution of political power, allowing the Igala people to have a stronger voice in the governance of their region. This, in turn, could foster a sense of ownership and accountability, leading to more responsive and effective governance. Furthermore, with a state government that understands and prioritizes the unique needs and aspirations of its people, policies and projects could be better tailored to drive local development.

The creation of Inikpi State would also serve as a means of preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of the Igala people. Named after Princess Inikpi, a revered figure in Igala history, the state would be a symbol of pride and identity for the Igala people. It would provide a platform for the promotion of Igala language, traditions, and cultural practices, ensuring that these are not lost in the face of modernization and globalization.

Additionally, a state dedicated to the Igala people would have the mandate to invest in cultural tourism, preserving historical sites, and promoting festivals and cultural events. This could not only serve as a means of cultural preservation but also boost tourism and generate revenue for the state.

One of the critical issues in Kogi State has been the uneven development across its regions. The eastern part of the state, where the Igala people predominantly reside, has often lagged behind in terms of infrastructure development, healthcare, education, and other social services. The creation of Inikpi State is seen as a way to directly address these disparities.

With a dedicated state government, there could be more targeted investments in infrastructure, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and social services. This would not only improve the quality of life for the people in the region but also create an enabling environment for economic activities and investments.

While the case for creating Inikpi State is compelling, it is not without challenges. The process of state creation in Nigeria is complex, requiring both constitutional amendments and broad political support. There is also the risk of exacerbating ethnic tensions and setting a precedent for other groups to demand their own states, which could lead to further fragmentation.

Moreover, the new state would need to establish its administrative structures and systems, which requires substantial financial and human resources. Ensuring that the creation of Inikpi State leads to sustainable development and not just a redistribution of existing challenges is crucial.

The call for the creation of Inikpi State out of the present Kogi State is rooted in the quest for equitable development, political representation, and cultural preservation. While there are significant challenges to be addressed, the potential benefits of creating a state that is more attuned to the needs and aspirations of the Igala people are substantial. As Nigeria continues to evolve and seek ways to harness its diversity for national development, the creation of Inikpi State presents a viable solution to the specific challenges faced by the Igala people in Kogi State.

– Eneojo Herbert writes from Abuja.

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