Evolving Dynamics Of Kogi Politics


The atmosphere is calm with lots of underground scheming and nocturnal meetings at odd  hours. The dateline is drawing closer and closer that a visitor can smell palpable tension  in the air.

Power shift is a very sensitive issue in Kogi State. Its origin can be traced back to when  meaningful development eluded us. When those saddled with leadership positions milked our  coffers dry, and when ethnic abhorrence was institutionalised by political big wigs to  achieve selfish motives.

Power shift to me is an expression of present realities in a triangular format that places  the Igalas at the top (the haves) and the Okuns at the bottom ( the have-nots), but hear  Karl Marx “The History of all hitherto existing society is the history of class and power  struggles”.

This piece was conceived after an encounter with the 1995 Draft Constitution. I was amazed  as to the content and how it would have saved us many troubles in Kogi State and Nigeria at  large. Section 229 (2) of the 1995 draft constitution states that, “The Office of Governor,  Deputy Governor and Speaker of the House of Assembly shall rotate among the three Senatorial  districts in the state.”

This is explicit and common sense. The Draft recognised the salient complexity of the  Nigerian nation. It envisaged that somewhere along the line ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ will  flex muscles over the issue of governance and subsequently it made provision by advocating  power rotation amongst the three senatorial districts in Kogi State.

It was calculated to foster a stable polity within which all ‘Kogities” could truly feel a  sense of belonging and which would elicit the collaborative efforts of Kogities to move the  state forward.

The referral to Kogi State centres on our ambivalent brand of politics and its relevance in  the contemporary Nigerian society. The Eastern flank (Igala) plays politics by number. The  Central (Ebira) play politics by proxy and the West (Okun) plays politics by tide. Number,  Proxy and Tide are intertwined as far as politicking is concerned in the state.

Related News

They all need one another, i.e., an Igala candidate needs the support and vote of his  closest ally the Okuns, going by political history. The Okun man prefers to cast his vote  for an Igala man on the strength of their ‘numbers’. Either way the Okuns are sure of  victory. This is tide.

The Ebira man hides under the shadow of the Igalas to remain relevant (Deputy). It is a fact  that during elections, Ebiras do not vote for Igalas. They rather cast their votes for a  shadowy candidate of their extraction, regardless of the fact that the Igala candidate  always has an Ebira as his deputy. This is proxy.

The Igala man (east) does play the number game perfectly. He reveres the votes from the west  (Okun) and he has judiciously used it to his benefit. The Okuns have been a part of their  political success and it is naturally expected that the Igalas should reciprocate by  supporting their quest this time around. The Igala candidate will always pick an Ebira  deputy to cut a share from their cake and indirectly pacify them due to their restive  nature.

Opinion polls suggest that there will be a slight change in the political structure barring  all unforeseen circumstances.

Politics will always remain politics. They suggested two possible scenarios: An Okun  Governor and Igala Deputy or an Okun Governor and Ebira Deputy. This is contentious and  relative to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) arrangement. Either way it will be dicey for  the Igalas. The Igalas will lose the votes of the Okuns if they are denied the ticket of the  PDP. If the Okuns clinch the PDP ticket, there is a tendency for the Igalas to shift base to  another party and expect to win. This is also contentious.

Ebiras will not give 100% votes to the Igalas. From antecedent, they are the spoilers, and  the Igalas need 100% votes in the event of the Okuns clinching the PDP ticket. In the event  of the Okuns losing the PDP ticket, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, is a ready home for  them. The ACN has a stronghold in the central and to some extent in the west. This is where  the Igalas have to tread carefully and the Okuns have to act smart. Either way I know there  will be a change. A solution is reverting to section 229 (2) of the 1995 draft constitution;  another solution is coming to a consensus. I foresee an interesting scenario.

•Joshua Ocheja could be reached at [email protected]

Load more