Kogi West Senatorial District, Most Marginalised In Nigeria

dp_seal_trans_16x16962

If there is anything that is giving the Okun speaking Yoruba people of the West  Senatorial District in Kogi State a nightmare under the present political  dispensation in our country, there is none other than continued marginalization of  Okun land by the state government and the recent decision of the Federal Government  in locating the slot of the Federal university meant for the North Central  geographical political zone in Nassarawa State as against its location in the  well-deserved West Senatorial District of Kogi State.

It is rather unfortunate that out of the 108 Senatorial Districts in Nigeria, the  West Senatorial District, populated largely by Okun people  is sadly the only  Senatorial District that wears the toga of open marginalization both at a state  level on one hand and at the Federal level where is nothing to write home about as  far as federal presence in the senatorial district is concerned.

The marginalization and the deliberate drawing backward of the Okun people by the  past administration in the state since the creation of Kogi State in 1991 government  lopsided distribution of both state and Federal- owned tertiary institutions in the  state has undoubtedly been brought to the attention of not only the present state  administration of Governor Idris Ibrahim but the country and the world at large  through newspaper publications in the P.M. News of Thursday,11th March, 2010 (page  4); Daily Champion of Friday, 19th March, 2010(page 10); P.M. News of Thursday, 1st  July, 2010 (page 4); Compass Newspaper of Wednesday, 7th July, 2010 (page 11);  Sunday Punch of 11th July, 2010 (page 11) and The Crusader of 30th September, 2010  (page15).

It would be recalled that since the establishment of the Kogi State University by  the Abubakar Audu administration in 2000 i.e 10 years ago, it is unimaginable that  neither that administration nor the present one led by Idris Ibrahim ever considered  it to site a campus of the university in any part of Okun land which predominant  occupation is education. It would also be recalled that the recent obnoxious demand  by Governor Idris Ibrahim for the siting of the proposed Federal university for the  North-Central geo-political zone in the East Senatorial District which already had  in its kitty the state university and Federal high institutions further goes to  buttress the harboured hatred and oppression of the Okun people by his  administration.

As for the absence of Federal presence in the entire Okun land of the West  Senatorial District of Kogi State, the attention of the Federal Government has been  brought to this development by one of the illustrious sons and a true representative  of the Okun people, Senator Smart Adeyemi, the Chairman of Senate Committee on  Federal Character and Inter-Government Affairs.  He has been at the forefront in the  clamour for the citing of a Federal University in Okun land where education more  than anything else has continued to remain the main occupation of Okun people from  time immemorial.  It is no gainsaying that all Okun people both at home and in  diaspora will continue to identify with Senator Adeyemi in his quest for advancement  of education in Okun land.

When the news of the establishment of a Federal university in the six geographical  zones in the country went on air, the joy of Okun people both at home and in  diaspora, as expected, knew no bound as they saw the pronouncement as not only a  turning point for their aspiration but also as an imminent end to their  marginalization and sidelining as far as establishment of Federal-owned higher  institution in Okun land is concerned but unfortunately, the joy of the people was  aborted by the siting of the university in Nassarawa State and not in the West  Senatorial of Kogi State. It is also rather unfortunate that the action of the state  governor in asking that the proposed Federal university be sited in the East  Senatorial District, where he hails from and where the Kogi state university is  already sited at Anyingba , rather than the marginalised West Senatorial District  where Senator Smart Adeyemi hails from tantamounts to a Yoruba saying  “kaka ki eku  je sese, ki a kuku fise awadanu” meaning ‘rather than you have what is at stake, I  rather spoil everthing so that neither of us will have it”.

It is pertinent to let Mr President and the Federal Executive Council that approved  the establishment of additional Federal university for each of the six geographical  political zones in the country to know that as now, all the Federal-owned tertiary  institutions in Kogi State are sited only in the East and Central Senatorial  Districts in Kogi State, thus leaving the West Senatorial District with no federal  presence as far as federal-owned tertiary institutions is concerned.

Infact, there is more than meet the eyes on the swift manner by which the Federal  university slot for the North Cental geo-political zone was sited in Nassarawa  SWtate as was the painful case on the Kogi state federal-backed refinery which was  hurriedly located in the East Senatorial District by Governor Idris Ibrahim (the  Senatorial District where he hails from) while debate on the appropriate location of  the refinery was still being hotly contested between the East Senatorial District on  one hand, and the West and Central Senatorial Districts on the other hand.  It is  rather unfortunate that the dust of disagreement over the action of Governor Idris  Ibrahim was yet to settle when a similar scenario on the siting of the Federal  university played out on the West Senatorial District of Kogi State.  It would be  recalled that debate and sharing of public opinions on where to site the proposed  Federal university in the North Central geo-political zone had hardly begun when, in  a jiffy, the news of the choice of Nassarawa State was read in newspapers.  If the  adage “once bitten, twice shy” is anything to go by, then the President and the  Federal Executive Council should take an in-depth look into how Nassarawa State was  hurriedly given an edge over other states on the siting of the Federal university  slot for the North Central geo-political zone.

It is therefore hoped that the God-fearing President Goodluck Jonathan and the  Federal Executive Council, for sake of justice, fairness and equity, will redress  the continued denial of federal presence in Okun land that is further exemplified by  siting the proposed Federal university in Nassarawa State rather than somewhere in  the old Kabba province which is not only older than Nassarawa State, carved out of  the old Adamawa province, but which has remained the only province that is yet to  boast of a Federal university through conversion of the existing College of  Agriculture, Kabba that has remained a campus of the Ahmadu Bello University for  donkey’s years into a full-fledged university.

•Oduayo Joseph writes from Kogi State

  Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2010 P.M.News