As political activities in Kogi State continues to gather storms following the preparations by the gladiators in the game ahead of the slated November 21 governorship election in the state, more issues surrounding the battle for the number one seat are coming into the public domain. Topmost on the issues it was gather in Lokoja is the age long agitation for power shift from Igala Ethnic Nationality in the eastern senatorial district of the state to other tribes.
According to the advocates of the power shift project, the power should rotate among the three senatorial districts of the state, comprising of east, west and central made up of the Igala, Ebira and Okun majority tribes as well as other minority tribes. The quarrel of the agitators of power shift harps on why is it that it is only Igala speaking people dominating the governorship of the state since its creation on August, 27 1991.
However, some citizens of the state cutting across the tribal line who spoke on the development, maintained that whoever that becomes the governor of the state does not matter to them; where he or she comes from is of little importance to ability to deliver and ensure justice and fair play in governance as well as equity distribution of the state resources and positions in the system irrespective of ethnic, political and religious differences.
And so all the aspirants in the coming election have joined in the mantra for power shift. An APC Governorship Aspirant, Yahaya Bello from Ebira speaking people in the Central Senatorial District of the state while declaring his intention to run for the governorship race at the NUJ Press Centre last week expressed his believe in shifting power to achieve excellence in governance and not just rotating power for rotating sake. Bello said leadership quality should be seen on merit perspective and not whether you come from east, west or central zones, stressing that ability to perform creditably and carry every body along should be the main focus.
“The people of the state should de-emphasise looking at issues on tribal line but strive to see each other as members of the same family who will ever remain united and not experience division because united we stand but divided we fall” the governorship aspirant admonished. He noted that the do or die agitators of power rotation in Kogi may be on the struggle to achieve their political interest.
The former Deputy Governor of Kogi State but now the Labour Party Governorship Aspirant (LP) for the November governorship election in the state, Chief Philip Salawu who is also an illustrious son of Ebira land from the central axis of the state has at different political fora maintained that Kogi will not move to the next level if power does not rotate among all segments that make up the state in order to give a sense of belonging in partaking in running the affairs of the state. The former Governor of Kogi State and tenacious APC Governorship Aspirant in the state, Prince Abubakar Audu at an endorsement rally by the APC Youths across the state held in Lokoja, the state capital recently, promised that he will carry all tribes in the state even the non-indigenes in the scheme of things with a vow that he will not marginalise any section on ground of ethnic, political and religious inclinations if given another opportunity to rule the state.
Audu has vowed to actualize the much agitated “power shift” by the people of central and western part of the state, if given the opportunity to the serve the state Audu who is the leading aspirant in the forthcoming governorship primary election on the platform of the All Progressive Party (APC) gave the assurance in Lokoja over the weekend during his formal declaration of intent to contest for the governorship position of the state . According to him, the glamour for power shift by the people of central and west has been on for long saying such demand required an input from the three senatorial districts of the state through a dialogue and negotiation. The former governor added that “ I have been a proponent of power shift to other senatorial districts of the state, if given the opportunity to serve again I will call for dialogue and negotiation so that the governorship position of the state is being rotated among the districts. “ We are all brothers and sisters, the only way to foster unity and true love among ourselves in the state is when the power goes round the state.
The Igalas, Ebiras and Okuns by history belongs to old Kabba province and as such whatever we have in the state should be shared down to the minorities, that is the only way we can live peacefully and harmonious in Kogi state”. Also speaking on the development, the Kogi State Governor, Capt. Idris Wada said that the clamour for power shift in the state by other ethnic groups will be realised at God’s appointed time.
The governor gave the assurance that the domination of power by the Igala speaking people since the creation of Kogi State in 1991 will certainly be over at the appropriate time. Governor Wada who spoke through his Deputy, Yomi Awoniyi during the weekend forty day fidau prayers for late Hajia Fulani Nana Salihu, mother of Hon A. K. Salihu, Special Adviser to the state Governor on Special Projects, hinted that the realisation of power shift agitation would be easily actualised through dialogue and understanding among all the stakeholders of the state.
The Governor appealed to the people of the state to continue to embrace the idea of oneness would impact positively and bring about the needed unity of all sections of the state. While noting that change is inevitable, the Governor urged the people to be convinced by the sincerity of purpose employed by the present administration in administering the state and solicited the people’s support in the administration’s policies designed to develop the state evenly. Capt Wada said the present administration has made project execution and human capital development a priority since its inception.
It would be noted that the Igalas have been riding on the advantage of the strength of their population. They have used it to continue to capture the governorship seat but some watchers of the game are of the view that the Igalas ought to be considerate in sharing the exalted position with other sections of the state in the spirit of understanding to foster the needed love, peace and unity in the confluence state. According to some observers of the political intrigues involved in the continued emergence of the governorship in one locale; “God the Almighty Father also believed in sharing amongst his creatures for peaceful co-existence which the Igalas must endeavour to emulate.” The coming party congresses would validate or invalidate this wisecrack, particularly if the political parties which are still parrying the issue, make a pronouncement.
-As governorship aspirants in the November governorship elections in Kogi prepare to test their popularity at the coming party congresses, the call for power shift to zones that are yet to taste the office rents the air in the confluence state, reports Joseph Amedu in Lokoja