In a couple of days, precisely November 21st, the people of Kogi State would be expected to go out en mass to exercise their franchise by casting their votes for a gubernatorial candidate of their choice. No doubt, the forthcoming election in the confluence state will be a two horse race between the incumbent captain Idris Wada of the PDP and Prince Abubakar Audu of the APC. Although a lot of propaganda has be orchestrated by the APC and its media agents aimed at labeling the government of governor Idris Wada a non-performing one, the facts are there for everyone to see that the level of security, peace and progress the state has witnessed since the past three and half years is unequalled and unparalleled since the creation of the state about 24 years ago. The fact that the APC having shot itself in the feet by presenting a candidate which has been extremely difficult to “market” has rather resorted to character assassination, thuggery and name – calling as their campaign strategy.
Comparing the gubernatorial candidates of the PDP and the APC, it is on record that during the first and second terms of office of the APC’s candidate Prince Abubakar Audu, between 1992 – 1993 and 1999 – 2003, massive lopsided-retrenchment of workers in the state civil service was prominent. The selective sack which was carried out under the guise of down-sizing and trimming down the state's workforce was done in such a manner that only affected civil servants from the western and central senatorial districts of the state and to add insult upon injury an off the record employment of people of Igala origin followed almost immediately. It later became clear that the retrenchment earlier done was only a ploy to create ample space for the people of Igala dominated eastern district to be absolved into the state civil service.
It is no longer news that the administration of Prince Audu was characterized by lopsided siting of developmental projects as majority of projects were largely sited in the eastern part of the state to the detriment of the other two districts. Of the five NTA stations which the NBC approved for the state during the tenure of Prince Audu, three where sited in Kogi east while the western and central districts only got one each, even though none of these two NTA stations has taken – off, several year later. The administration of Prince Audu in 2002 got the approval of the state house of assembly for the creation of 25 additional local governments in the state, and in his characteristic manner of lopsided sharing formula, the government of Prince Audu gave 15 local government areas to his own eastern district while the west and central got only 5 local governments each.
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Several state owned institutions that was located in the west and central district of the state were either sold or moved to the eastern district. Worthy of note is the states specialist hospital, Obangede in Okehi local governments area of Kogi state which was moved to the east and the structure converted into a non-functioning and ill-equip general hospital. The lack of decorum and morality in naming several state owned edifices and institutions after himself and members of his family was still fresh in the memories of the people of Kogi state and political watchers all over the world. A brief mention is the Pa Audu Oyidi memorial College and the Prince Abubakar Audu University.
A highly tribalized Nigerian, Prince Audu succeeded in laying the foundation that other successive administrations “blindly” built upon, this made sure that no Okun or Ebira man or woman becomes a chief of staff, permanent secretary to the government house, accountant general of the state, state commissioner for works and other “juicy” state’s appointments and posts. It is a public knowledge that during the second term of office of Prince Audu, 16 commissioners where appointed, 12 of whom were from his Igala – dominated eastern district of the state. The enmity, acrimony, mutual distrust, disharmony and political tension that currently prevails in the state was a result of Prince Audu’s misrule, high-handedness and impurity with which he governed the state in 1992 – 1993 and 199 – 2003.
It is however not surprising that Prince Audu of the APC and its gubernatorial campaign team has resorted to attacking personalities in the opposition and even within their political party instead of making their campaigns issues based and people centered. All stakeholders, especially the electorates must now decide with their votes whether they wish to see the state go back to the dark days of impunity and executive recklessness or continue to consolidate on the present spate of equilibrium development of all parts of the states and the peace and mutual trust that is gradually returning to the state.
Obviously, the only thing left for the ACP to solicit the votes of the people is the promise to ensure power rotation in 2019, a promise that has been made and broken severally. The good people of Kogi state, especially the western and central districts should therefore refuse to be fooled once again with the fake and an unwritten promise of power shift. Its time for us all not to be carried away by the mantra of “change” or the need to align the state with the central government of president Muhammadu Buhari, after all Lagos state has unarguably become the best state in the federation today, despite being in the opposition for the past 16 years.
We should not vote-in an “emperor” who is well known for his arrogant style of leadership, a totally tribalized personality, a highly corrupt Nigerians, a bad manager of people and resources, and an individual who lacks morals all in the name of aligning the state with the central Federal government. All good men and women of Kogi state and beyond should rise up and mobilized all and sundry to vote against a man who has no iota of respect for due process or the rule of law to avert this calamity that is about to befall the state and its inhabitants, a word is enough for the wise.
The price good men pay for indifference to public office is to be rulled by evial men...Pluto
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