Kogi State And The Expected Change By Aliyu Audu
If there is a state in Nigeria that needs change more than Nigeria itself, it has to be Kogi state. Kogi state, so blessed with both human and natural resources yet, never lives up to expectation. It has always competed for the bottom spot in any ranking of performing states either in governance, economy or development.
The poor governance and lack of development in Kogi state is further compounded by the uneven distribution of political appointments and limited infrastructure. The Kogi East senatorial zone enjoys an undue, overwhelming preference over the other two; Kogi Central and
Kogi West senatorial zones.
The Kogi East senatorial zone has since creation always produced the governor of the state. It has always enjoyed an unfair advantage in a manner that attempts to redefine democracy as a system of government by a certain people for a certain people.
Kogi state was created in 1991 from parts of Kwara State and Benue State with three main ethnic groups and languages in Igala, Ebira, and Okun (a Yoruba Group). Other minorities are the Bassa, Nupe, Ogugu, Gwari, Kakanda, Oworo , ogori magongo and the Eggan.
The Kogi East senatorial zone is home to the igalas while Kogi Central and Kogi West are for the igbiras and okuns respectively.
I have listened to aspirants and politicians from the Kogi East senatorial zone make unguarded declaration that it is impossible to have a governor from anywhere outside of their zone; an utterance that is not only baseless but also disrespectful to the people of the two other senatorial zones.
The introduction of Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and card reader in our electoral processes has put an end to the era of virtual votes and the result was so evident in the last presidential election in the state that saw the kogi Central and West zones record about 60 percent of the total votes cast to about 40 percent from the kogi East senatorial zone.
While Kogi East enjoys a simple numerical head to head advantage over each of the other two senatorial zones, it’s continuous retention of the governorship slot can’t be the only possible option for the people of Kogi state. Kogi East by itself can’t determine who becomes the governor. It is equally an act of hypocrisy for the same people calling for rotation of power at the national level to defend the retention of power at the state level in one senatorial zone despite
the poor performances of the governors which have plunged the state into debts.
There have been no signs of development in the state over the years despite the huge sums received from the federal allocation, internally generated revenues and borrowed funds. The state currently competes for top spot in categories of states with unpaid salaries, poor condition of infrastructure and visionless leadership.
It is pertinent for the leaders and stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress both at the national and state levels to know that Nigerians and indeed the world are watching with keen interest the degree of change they bring to Kogi state. The party that rode on the mantra of change to the center will, in a few months conducts her gubernatorial primary election to produce the party flag bearer in their first gubernatorial election as the Central governing party.
The only type of change befitting the people of Kogi state is one that includes rotation of power from the Kogi East senatorial zone to either the West or the Central in the spirit of equity, justice and fairness that the party preaches.
The level of corruption, bad economy, poor condition of living and general lack of development in the state after 16 years of governance by the Kogi East senatorial zone are more than enough reasons for the people of the other two senatorial zones in the state to be given a chance to produce a governor to strengthen unity and promote sense of belonging amongst the people of the state.
The people of Kogi state yearn for change and there is no better time than the present to go for it.
Aliyu Audu is a member of the Confluence Aliance For Leadership Movement (CALM), the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF) and the founder; Youths For Progressive Change And Development Initiatives (YPCDI).