From all indications, the movement for the liberation of Kogi State and her good people from twelve years of slavery superintended by fiendish task master, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has begun and the destination is November 21, 2015. The desperation and groaning of the people of Kogi State for impact-full change in governance and socio-economic development is obvious. Of course, the change they yearn for will surely come.
They have equally acknowledged the fact that the change will not just drop from heaven like manner; they are ready to effect it themselves when they go to the poll to elect a new governor to deliver the state from the siege of maladministration and destruction of their common wealth by the current ruling party.
The actual journey began about two weeks ago when the opposition party in the state, All Progressive Congress, APC, held its governorship primaries in which, as expected, Prince Audu Abubakar, the former governor of the state, emerged winner. This means Prince Audu will contest against the incumbent governor, Capt. Ibrahim Wada, who will be recontesting in order to complete his second tenure under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
There are, however, some fundamental points that cannot be ignored by stakeholders, especially the good people of Kogi State. First is the issue of economic and social development of the state in the current dispensation. For instance, between 1999 and 2003, it was a pride for an average Kogite to openly say that he or she hailed from Kogi State. When I came to Nigeria in 2002, my friends and associates congratulated me for hailing from Kogi State. “Your governor is doing wonders. In just one term, he has attracted the country and the world to your state through reforms and creative development in education and human resource development”, one of my friends, Kola Oluwole, a young lawyer then, said.
Another told me that I was fortunate and that I would have no problem of getting a job on completing my second masters degree Programme in the UK as my state would be ready to welcome me with two arms wide open to come home and contribute my quota to the development of the state. But that lofty dream was blown away on a rather very pathetic and unfortunate reasons.
When the PDP took over the mantle of leadership in the state, it built a wall, fencing off anyone with prospects of contributing to the growth and development of the state; government and governance since 2003, was criminally hijacked by a parasitic political cabal committed to milking the state dry. Through bazaar-like political patronage system, resources that ought to be used for infrastructural development are monthly being allocated to a coterie of jobless and visionless retired military generals and other political godfathers, both at state and federal levels.
There is one big well crafted irony in Kogi politics that people are not aware of. In the successive script in Kogi democratic government orchestrated by the leering cabal, the best way to sustain their political and economic interest is to throw up and provide backing to governorship candidates whose academic, moral, intellectual and mental qualifications are questionably bleak. Once this fundamental weak point is sufficiently established beyond any doubt, the cabal will capitalize on this weak point to remote-control their pawns, place outrageous demands for monthly pocket money, weekend allowances, choice landed properties, contracts, and other irrational excesses such as women, drinking and weekend overseas leisure trips. Aware of his weak point, the governor will have no choice but to surrender the treasury of the state to them. That is why there are no good hospitals, schools, roads, power, agricultural development projects, among other important developmental projects in the state. Ibrahim Idris and Capt. Ibrahim Wada are victims of this wicked cabal. Allegations, formal or informal, are often paraded and accusing fingers point at names such as General Tunde Ogbeha, Ahmadu Ali, former PDP national chairman, General Jemibewon and others as parasitic godfathers in the state.
It is important to examine the sentiments of the people of Kogi State over the years regarding their governments, because they are the employer of the governors of the state. Let it be on record that, the twelve years of PDP’s governance experiment in the state is a colossal disaster. The calls I receive from my family members and friends from Ogorimagongo, Lokoja and Anyigba are lamentations of disillusionment.
A good friend of mine, a brilliant lecturer at the Kogi State University, Anyigba, was giving me a summary of the characters that parade themselves at the Lord Lugard Government House, Lokoja. Before he had finished, I abruptly ended the conversation because I didn’t want to loose my mind. Analytically, he was clear: Governor Wada and his PDP have no single document to show that they intend to develop the state. Daily, political jobbers invade Government House to share money while civil servants and their family members are dying of curable sicknesses because the state government cannot pay them salaries.
Out of frustration, so many civil servants have taken to drugs, alcoholics and prostitution in a messy war of social and existential survival. I learnt that authoritatively that where hospitals exist, the structures are decaying. The Confluence Beach Hotel which used to be a pride if an average Kogites has now been taken over by reptiles. The gigantic state library built to a state of the art facility to aid both students and workers are now in a deplorable state. Even the Lugard House that was tastefully built by Audu Abubarkar is now a shadow of itself. And the story is the same throughout the state.
In the 21 Century, our children still use mango trees as classrooms! Will those children ever forget that under the administrations of Idris and Wada, they were beaten by rains and sun while going to school? Do those children have any future in the present dispensation?
Since Audu left office about twelve years ago, Kogi State started dying. While successive administration could not embark on any meaningful projects, they also could not maintain the ones they inherited from Audu. It is a shame that posterity will remember these two fellows – Idris and Wada – as those who failed the state when their services were most needed. In other words, they will ever remain public enemy.
I have a word of advice for all of us, the people of Kogi State, especially for elders and youths, that is, we should tag the forthcoming governorship election as Battle of Liberation. The only way to free ourselves from the cabal and give our children a befitting future is to mobilize ourselves towards a forceful democratic change. We will remain slaves of these agents of destruction unless we stand up to enforce our freedom and that of our children and our weapon is our voter’s card. The time to stand up is now.
Kolawole is an IT consultant based in Manchester, UK