Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy—- Martins Luther King. 1929–1968.
These words on the marble by one of the greatest legends that the world has had is apt in the present situation, of the people from the Eastern Zone of Kogi state. It is not the best of socio political and economic lives for Kogi state either. The state is undergoing heamorhage. The state is bleeding . It is crying for revival. The centre has failed to hold and anarchy has overtaken the entire fabrics of the state. Those who are supposed to intervene have taken a flight out of the state.The Igala nation, with overwhelming majority in Kogi, in the state they supposed to be major players has been maligned.
They have been reduced to hewer of woods and fetcher of water. Igala with over two millions people and with a geographical land mass of almost the half of the state has been reduced to a second class citizens of the state.Both in civil service and in the public appointments, they have been, and are being relegated and demonised. Considerate portfolios are off their sleeves. Key political appointments are only meant for the new masters in the state. Positions hitherto occupied by the Igala sons and daughters are being taken away from them and given to others. They have become the biblical hated Jews. The new occupants of the Lord Lugard House have ensured that they are reduced to rubbles in the state socio political equations.In the three arms of government in the state, namely, executive, legislature and judiciary, the Igala are passengers. The executive, where Chief David Onojah is assumed to be the number two, he only exist in name and not in substance. The commissioners from Igala stock are glorified personal assistants (PAs) to their counterparts from the other zones.
In the legislature, the speaker, clerk of the House and chairman, Assembly Service Commission are all from the other districts, leaving Igala to lick her wound in the open. When issues that concern the state that require legislative backing before it could be decided, Kogi East is left in limbo. As it is with the executive and legislature, so it is with the judiciary.The office of the chief judge of the state is being alternated between the Central and Western zones. The late chief judge, Justice Nasiru Ajana, was succeeded by Justice Henry Adebola Olusiyi from Kogi west and when his turn expired, Justice Sunday Otu from Central took over, who in less than three months will hand over back to another judge from the West and the chain will continue throughout the tenure of the present government.The Igala have cried over the unhealthy marginalisation and nobody seems to hear them. Those who should speak truth to power have washed their hands off Igala affairs.The Igala nation had produced in successions three former governors, national party chairman and great players of political and economic lives of the nation. They have returned to their cocoon. The embarrassing situation of their brothers and sisters in the state is none of their business.
The Igala Nàtion is in disarray. No known leader that will galvernise and spur the people to action. They have refused to organise the people to prepare for the next election that will reshape the political and economic destiny of the zone.Their lethargy has made the masses to ask God to send back the Late Stephen Omakoji Achema to redeem the people. Although it is impossible for him to return from the other world, the people have searched, and they were convinced that although his match may be hard to find, one person who in the conviction of the generality of the people to take over the mantle is Alhaji Aminu Suleiman Abubakar.Abubakar, a quantity durveyor of international repute and a politician is inarguably the man with the capacity, compassion, competency, credibility and charisma that can salvage the Igala from its present predicament.
Although, he contested the last gubernatorial election, the everybody must contest syndrome could not bring the best out of him and in the end, the Igala nation lost with their multitude of aspirants.Aminu, a public private partnership guru, has initiated, managed countless projects that have immense value to the nation. He has all that is required to bail the zone out of its quagmire. He has the connections, he has the resources and political network that cut across the length and breadth of the Igala kingdom and some zones that have goodwill for our cause.What we need at this time of our political crossroads is to take stock of why we are where we are and what should be done to return power to the zone. We must forge common front in choosing who has the pedigree to wrestle power for us. We should discourage multitude of aspirants. We should come out with our only best, which today lies squarely on the shoulders of Alhaji Aminu Abubakar. No where in the world is power gotten on a platter of gold but through systematic planning and execution of programmes. We lost the last election to negligence and docility. Nobody wanted to step down for the other.
Everybody believed he will win. No leadership to give direction. The zone became a ship without a rudder and so we capsized.Without mincing words, let’s in earnest begin to have conversations with Aminu Abubakar Suleiman to throw himself up for project Igala. Let all the youth groups, Igala professionals, politicians of all shades, leadership of thoughts and captains of industry come out and identify with Aminu Abubakar with the sole aim to motivate him to take up the challenge.We should forget ego and rivalry and chart a way forward for a zone that was once the determinant of Kogi state. We have done it before, when the late Dr. Steven Omakoji Achema gave instructions to all Igala sons and daughters, irrespective of party affiliations, to queue behind late Prince Abubakar Audu; his proactive action gave Igala advantage in winning the 1999 governorship.Although, Achema is no longer with us, it is our plea for those of goodwill to come out to give direction to our people to stand with Aminu Suleiman in our quest to return power to the zone. It is possible, we can do it and we call on everyone to consider the “project return power to base” as his or her own, using Aminu Abubakar Suleiman as the arrow-head.
Augustine is a journalist based in Abuja