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Only negotiation, not agitation can bring power shift in Kogi

27 July 2015, 18:28 Hussain Obaro

Being one of the states where gubernatorial election will be held within a couple of months, precisely 21st of November 2015, major political players and stakeholders are in high spirit and frantically strategizing, maneuvering and putting measures in place to ensure that they or their preferred candidate come out victorious, ahead of the primary elections of the participating political parties. The race for Kogi State Government House (Luggard’s House) which has created a sharp division across the state has two “groups” coming head-on across the political party divide. The Kogi East Senatorial District dominated by the Igala speaking ethnic tribe, which has been ruling the state since its creation in 1991, has resolved to stick to their usual mantra of “power retain” while the Okun dominated Kogi West Senatorial District has finally seen the reason to form a synergy and team up with their Ebira dominated Kogi Central Senatorial District counterpart to agitate and insist on “power shift”.

The fact remains that the Igalas have the numerical advantage, having accounted for almost 50percent of the entire population of the state, which they have continuously used to aid the electoral fortune of their own. This has made it almost impossible for them to be wrestled down or out of power by other ethnic tribes in the state. More so, the activities of “traitors” within the Okuns and Ebiras, who would rather support the Igalas at the expense of one of their own, for financial enrichment and political relevance has been another factor that has helped the Kogi East Senatorial District to continue to perpetuate themselves in power and has given them an edge in the political equation of the state.

Although notable politicians and respected men and women, have been at the fore front of the agitation and struggle to liberate the Okuns and Ebiras from political slavery at some point or the other, with some of them paying the ultimate sacrifice, the agitation for “power shift” had always, being an effort in futility since the gentleman agreement which brought in the first democratically elected governor, prince Abubakar Audu, in 1992. Contrary to what many political leaders of Okun and Ebira wants their people to believe, that an Igala man has a born-to-rule instinct and that they have vehemently defiled all logical reason and consideration to allow a governor emerge from other parts of the state, the factor militating and impeding against “power shift” in the state has being the combative approach of the Western and Central brethren. The selfishness, arrogance and lack of political maturity of Okun and Ebira politicians have made it difficult for them to see reasons to opt for the option of peaceful and brotherly dialogue instead of a combative struggle. Every politician feels and thinks he/she is better than the rest and best qualified to rule the state, none is ready to sacrifice his/her ambition and negotiate for the benefit of posterity.

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Obviously, the Okuns and Ebiras lack what it takes to match the Igalas’ political sagacity and electoral sophistication. It would be tantamount to another futile exercise to continue in the line of agitation and struggle in a desperate attempt is wrestle power from the self acclaimed Igala-Race, as this approach has failed to yield any meaningful result since creation of the state. The time is ripe for political leaders of Okun and Ebira to finally swallow their pride and put-on their thinking cap and invite the Igalas to a round table to dialogue and negotiate “power shift” in the state. Posterity demands leaders of Okun and Ebira to negotiate their way to Luggard’s House and break loose from their present political slavery and status of a second class citizen in their own state.

Rather than continue to agitate and carrying on with the “power shift” agitation which has not only failed in the past but has created political tension and disharmony across the state, this is the right time for leaders to initiate a round table brotherly discussion with Igalas with the aim of negotiating the prevailing political lopsidedness. It would be wise for aspirants of Okun and Ebira to sacrifice their ambition and concede the gubernatorial tickets of both APC and PDP to the incumbent governor Idris Wada and former governor Abubakar Audu, both of whom wouldn’t rule for more than a single term of four years in office, as a bargaining “chip” for negotiation. Kogi West and Central should effectively take advantage of this to get the two governorship hopefuls to put-pen-to-paper and sign a commitment agreement to ensure and champion the actualization of “power shift” at the end of their tenure of office, whoever emerge governor out of the two. Failure to do this at this crucial period of time would mean that the “power shift” clamor may take many more years to be actualized. Those who fails to learn from past mistakes stands the risk of repeating them over again…the time for negotiation is now.                   

- MyNews24

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