As Kogi state approaches the next big political battle, the gubernatorial election, the people expect the maturity of our political space to become glaring. The real stage that will complete the political maturity of our state is the exhibition of the possibility of human connections, even in divided times.
Our state and country is a democracy and its political dynasties should be a blessing rather than a curse to it. After a few noisy shout-downs recently by two prominent political sons ofKogi state, it now seems as if the gubernatorial election to be held on November 2, this year seems to be a contest between the Bello and the Ibro political dynasties.
These dynasties represent our immediate past and the present of our state fighting for the future political hold of Kogi state. These are our dynasties, our politics as well as our economy.Perhaps the appeal of other non-dynastic candidates in the next election is because of these two dynasties.
Measured by the successes of past elections, the Ibro political dynasty seems to be the most successful political family of our state. So, the recent outburst and vituperation by the present Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello, Chief Edward Onoja, on the former governor of Kogi state, Ibrahim Idris, because of the candidacy of his son in the next gubernatorial election, is uncalled for and condemnable.
Ultimate sovereignty lies with the people, much less to a democracy, in which the people are involved directly in the political process. An election in Kogi state should not only be seen as a popularity contest between two individuals but an idea to help build our state. A candidate can only succeed not by vituperations but by appealing to other professional politicians as well as ordinary citizens. And the appeal remains oblique to the point of coyness.
We know and acknowledge that political parties and candidates have friends and campaign managers who always plants articles in newspapers advancing their man and undermining their rivals, but our chief of staff went too far in making it personal and vitriolic on Ibro.
The next gubernatorial election in Kogi state will thus be a strange hybrid, structurally and organisationally, it will bear the mark of an old-fashioned contest among political elite but our traditional habits are now subject to influences from new men and new places.
The collapse of the party structures in our state has created a new vacuum that will need to be filled by men of valour and decorum which we expect and to be part of. We should all acknowledge that the next election in Kogi state is about the future of our state and not about Bello or Ibro’s family. For these reasons, the next election in Kogi state will be the most confused and open state wide political contest our state will ever witness.
The son of Ibro has all the right to contest for elections in Kogi state and be voted for. Abubakar Ibro is said by all as one of the top candidates gunning for the office of the governor of this state. He has a platform, and has given long speeches in most parts of our state without insults. He knows very well that speeches on policy do not necessarily carry the day in Kogi state. But he has exhibited maturity so far because he knows that abuse has never been a substitute for logic among politicians except among political jobbers. He has said on several fronts that he does not need anybody to neutralise his rivals or prominent men because he knows the other candidates are not running but at least unmistakablystanding.
Abubakar Ibro believes he is the best candidate in the state. He believes his front door is spinning with friends, would-be-friends and friends of his rivals, ready to embrace his message of change. Abubakar Ibro increasingly finds out that what he now needs to win the next election is to offer reassurances about his views to the people, which is his second nature; and about his willingness to find a place for men whose support he needed. Abuse violates his deeply held principles and he shall never engage in it.
Today, it is not a new story that Edward Onoja has been accused of making provocative statements on two former governors of Kogi state, Capt. Idris Wada and Ibrahim Idris in a campaign of calumny. He is accused of whipping up sentiments against the former governors and their offsprings and of forcing them into the governorship race and other leadership positions. He in the statements vent his anger, particularly on Ibro, for being among the strong contenders for the governorship elections in the state and called for an uprising against the family. It is necessary to call on Onoja to recant and withdraw this vituperation and call to insurrections against the Ibro family.
Comrade Yusuf writes from Abuja