The Kogi Debacle By Mustapha Ismail Alhassan
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
The just recently gubernatorial primary elections in kogi state gives me cause to worry like many, however my cause for worry is far different from the humongous commentaries that has since abashed social media by this rather unfortunate development. What amazes me is simple; as a people we claim to have aversion toward poverty, underdevelopment and lack of progress in our public space yet on the other hand we seem to be forerunners in celebrating mediocrity.
Abubakar Audu polled 1,109 in the primaries defeating his closest rival Yahaya Bello, is it not rather disturbing that a man arraigned on a 36-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of over eleven billion naira of tax payers money clinched the ticket of a party whose cardinal objective is to fight corruption? On the other hand incumbent Governor Idris Wada’s incompetence as an administrator is of course not debatable and the party he represents did not seem to care to find a worthy replacement. In all of this the people are yet in the middle of this shameful fiasco. This is a perfect scenario of what is popularly referred to as one chance and kogites are to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea: alas the battle to Lugard house is sheared not only in dilemma but an undiscerning anomalous.
Considering Kogi state has extensive arable land for cultivation, with good grazing grounds for livestock breeding and large water bodies for fishing. Agricultural products such as grains provide the needed raw materials for cereals, flour beverages and other food processing industry Livestock and fisheries could provide raw materials for meat and fish canning industries; the state can borrow a leaf from India as the seventh-largest in the world, India’s agriculture and allied sectors accounts for 17% of the GDP and employed 51% of the total workforce in 2012. It is still the largest employment source and a significant piece of the overall socioeconomic development. Imagine what would happen if this success is replicated in our sphere.
Kogi state is also rich in mineral resources, Most of these minerals are available in commercial quantities and these remain unharnessed potential sources of input for industrialization, if properly developed.
In 1992 the state could boast of about sixteen industrial establishments operating in the state some of which included the The Itakpe Iron Ore Mining Company and the Ajaokuta Steel Company, both of which could generate subsidiary industries such as iron and steel,
foundries, cement plant, tar installation plant, carbon black and carbon graphic electrodes industry light forging, metal fabrication and many more are not in existence. Alas nobody is thinking about these possibilities.
Today how many of such initiatives are in existence and who amongst these contenders has demonstrated the will to recreate such? As a reactive population as against been proactive elected officials have failed to utilize these gifts of nature; little wonder why we struggle to pay salaries.
Similarly, the water resources of Rivers Niger and Benue and their several tributaries
could provide ample water supply for people, animals and various industries when fully harnessed. The confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue could be an important tourist attraction but not in this case as the political elite would rather go holidays abroad, contributing to the economies of other nations.
How we continue choose mediocrity above everything else is mind boggling. And there is a serious need for us to redefine progress for it seems like there’s a lacuna in the search of bright minds, it is more like there is a deliberate death of intellectualism, and dissolution of ideas, are we to conclude that there are no bright minds from Kogi? Absolutely not!
Whoever emerges governor amongst both men, the next four years would not a biblical tale, and no miracles should be expected we all have seen Wada’s gross inapt ability to administer and his challenger’s presumptuous and corrupt antecedence.
Our collective inability to see beyond the ethnic lines that divide us is not only pitiable but also obtuse and generations yet unborn shall marvel at this conjunctive stupidity.
In the end, every politics is local; as we sit at the comfort of our cushions in Kaduna, Lagos, Brussels and Abuja and continue to let this evil prevail, one thing is but certain if we don’t fix our mess, nobody would do it for us.
Alas history would judge us and posterity would never forgive us.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
William Butler Yeats
Mustapha Ismail Alhassan is a trained archaeologist and a freelance writer.
@The_mustyhassan on Twitter