The Dynamics of Kogi Politics (2)
It would be so interesting that even the atmosphere seems cloudy in the eastern part of the state for inexplicable reasons, maybe the unveiling political awareness or maybe not. As at when I cross checked, the PDP must have made a fortune from Kogi State alone. This is really unbelievable. But it is actually a good omen. It simply means in the worst case scenario, the best candidate or close to the best will emerge. The implication of such is common sense.
I foresee a great conspiracy, a West and Central conspiracy, and the East and West antidote. This is alien, but it is most likely to be the order of the day come 2011 or 2012 as the case maybe.
The Eastern flank (Igalas) no doubt are clearly the majority with 9 local government areas and a population figure of approximately 1,479,144(44.63%) people. This is against the total population figure of 3,314,043 people.
The Ebiras are the spoilers like I mentioned earlier, but they are mostly likely to emerge as the beautiful bride as far as 2011 gubernatorial election in Kogi state is concerned. With 5 local government areas, they have a population of approximately 928,655 inhabitants (28.03%) . Okene and Okehi in Kogi Central are the spots. Like Ankpa and Dekina in Kogi East and Kabba/BÃ¹nÃº and Lokoja in Kogi West. These spots deliver block votes, but not easy to come by.
The West (Okuns) is a child of necessity. Not on the strength of number or tide, but on the strength of ' evolution or revolution' brought about by 19 years of clueless and debased leadership stride. The West is structured along 7 local government areas, also accommodating minor tribes of Nupe, Egbura-Koto and Kakanda. With 906,244 people they represent 27.34% of the total population of the state.
The conspiracy will originate from Kogi Central through West. 28.03% + 27.34% = 55.37%. But that is not it. History has it that the Ebiras and the Okuns were originally part of the old Kabba province, before the Igalas were brought from Onitsha province. As a fact they were excised from Kwara State to form the present day Kogi State, as such, regardless of what some political analyst might think, there exist a bond, though not pronounced, that will translate into a vibrant working relationship between these two groups.
An Ebira man on the strength of perception will not aspire to be Governor. Even if he does, he might just be testing the waters. This is the case of Philip Salawu. The Okuns might ride on this attitude to archive result, but not without stiff resistance from Igala Youths burning with a passion to bring about meaningful development to the land. But the Igala leaders have refused to allow for their inputs, very typical of them.
The supposed Igala leaders, as it were are exhausted and consequently not in tune with present realities. They are solely responsible for the level of decadence in the state. I refuse to zero it down to Prince Abubakar Audu and Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, because Ahmadu Ali, former PDP National Chairman is Igala. Under his headship of the PDP the present Governor got re-elected. The rest is history as we now have an International Market in the state, at least our mothers and grand mothers can afford to go through the horrifying experience of travelling from Idah the home of the paramount ruler of Igala Kingdom to Lokoja, the International market place to sell Oje Abacha (cassava food) and Oro Egbe (grass soup), Culture across borders.
Culture across borders will ultimately usher in the long awaited conspiracy. This is where the vantage Okuns will succeed and this is where they might fail. The Okuns are not united, possibly overwhelmed by the unfolding political drama that they have refused to come to a consensus. Bello Fadile, Olushola Akamonde, Bayo Ojo, Abiodun Ojo and Clarence Olafemi are some of the contenders from the West. The East parades Nicholas Ugbane, Yakubu Mohammed, Jibrin Isah Alex Kadiri and Ubolo Okpanachi. Philip Salawu, Abubakar Amuda and Yakubu Akaba are from the central.
From the above list, four aspirants should be watched out for. They are Bello Fadile, Jibrin Isah, Olushola Akamonde and Abdulrazak Isah Kutepa. Isah Kutepa represents the East and West antidote. This is my thinking.
Why the above listed you might want to ask. Factors such as age, experience and blueprint for development were adequately taken into consideration.
Jibrin Isah is Igala (East); he is an Investment banker, a very intelligent and resourceful individual with a heart of Gold. He is a first class graduate of Economics from Bayero University Kano and a recipient of numerous awards for exceptional display of ingenuity and a former Executive Director of Afribank Plc. He left indelible marks in the lives of Igala Youths; he empowered lots of them, an uncommon attribute of a typical Igala man with the means. He has in his kitty post graduate degrees and a host of other professional qualifications.
His campaign focus is centred on Empowerment, Ajaokuta Steel Complex buy back, small scale industries and Public Private Partnership initiatives in other sector of the economy. What might work against him is the fact that he is different from the fold, considering his private sector experience and urbane nature.
Bello Fadile has a PhD in law. He is Okun (West) and a formidable voice in that region. He served for 29 years as an officer in the Nigerian army before he was compulsorily retired in 1999 for his pro-democracy stance. He is a man who epitomises Due Process and Rule of Law . He has a brilliant mind and his campaign focuses on sound leadership, knowledge, and empowerment, problem solving and being proactive respectively.
He was at a time the Director of Legal services of the Nigerian army. He is an advocate for democracy.
Olushola Akamonde is also Okun (West) he was former Deputy Chief of Staff in the presidency in the last dispensation. He is no doubt an asset to any political party. He has an intimidating CV, which many have to struggle to equal. He is very experienced and conversant with the workings of government. His campaign focuses on transformation using statutory resources for development of ICT driven education, industrialisation, modernised agriculture, tourism and customer driven civil service.
Abdulrazak Isah Kutepa is an international business man. He is from Lokoja/Koton Karfe axis of the western senatorial district of the state, a minority tribe in the state. He is also from the private sector like Jibrin Isah. His campaign focuses on rapid industrialisation, boosting tourism development and attracting new businesses. He is a philanthropist.
These are the four wise men. Other than tribal representation, Jibrin Isah and Abdulrazak Kutepa are from the private sector and represent the new age. Bello Fadile and Olushola Akamonde are hugely experienced in the workings of governance. They are both enlightened and experienced. They can be very dependable when the chips are down using their wide network of contacts.
This is where the race begins. As mentioned earlier, A Central and West conspiracy and an East and West antidote. The Okuns (West) and the Ebiras (Central) are allies regardless of what people might think. The Ebiras (Central) are tired of the current political arrangement and they want a change. This is on the strength of the age long rivalry and show of supremacy between the Igalas and the Ebiras. This is an unwritten rule and hence the average Igala man will always watch his back when an Ebira man is around the corner.
The Ebiras want more, but they can't get it under the tight fisted rule of the Igalas. Mutual suspicion is the order of the day. So the political calculation is that given the emergence of an Okun Governor, they can have more and they can capitalize on that leverage to have a shot at governance in the future, because they are more conversant to government intricacies than the Okuns. This is the Central and West conspiracy.
The Igalas (East) are not sleeping either. Reality is setting in and the unexpected might happen. Power might shift. But to where it can easily be brought back. This is the East and West antidote. This is where Abdulrazak Kutepa comes in handy.
Kutepa is from the minority West of Lokoja/Koton Karfe. He is a close associate of Governor Ibrahim Idris. Governor Idris wants power shift but, he wants a soft landing. The Okuns might be an unsecured option for him, though he has publicly praised them for helping him to power. Politics is a game of the mind. He seems not too comfortable with the Okuns, like the average Igala man on the street loathes at the mention of power shift. This is how Abdulrazak Kutepa might get the nomination of the PDP. The implication is that 311,743 (Kogi and Lokoja local government) will be yanked off from 906,244 (Kogi West)
That leaves the West with 17.94% and 9.4% goes to the East as a result of the conspiracy. 9.4% added to 49.71% (East) gives you 59.11%. This however can be made possible in two ways, Minority west governor and majority east deputy or the other way round. But I do not see Abdulrazak Kutepa settling for the role of a deputy governor and I equally do not see Jibrin Isah settling for the role of a deputy governor. This is where the antidote might experience a hitch and the central and west conspiracy will further gather momentum.
The Central with 28.03% added up with 17.94 % ( West) outside Lokoja and Kogi, gives you 45.97%. They can contract some votes from the east to make up . This is however is subject to the non availability of candidates of Central extraction running on the platform of another party. If that is the case, you can be sure that votes from the central will be divided and this further jeopardises the grand conspiracy.
Two factors might decide. One way is that, people might vote along party lines or for individuals. Either way, it is a 50-50 chance. But the conspiracy will likely see the light of the day given the determination exhibited by the westerners (Okuns) this time around. They know that this is one opportunity of a life time and I strongly believe that they will eventually close their ranks and settle for a consensus candidate.
The other way is that the central ( Ebiras) might decide to go the full length for the west ( Okuns), with an understanding that will pave way for them in the future, because it will be easier for them to wrestle power from the west than from the east.
Interesting times sure lies ahead for us. As for other candidates, this piece is evolving.
By Joshua Ocheja (