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The Dynamics of Kogi Politics (3)

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I am excited for the single reason that our consciousness is awake to the dynamics inherent in Kogi politics. The number of aspirants is unimaginable that I am tempted to mention names again. But I will hold back my enthusiasm for obvious reasons. I foresee a scenario where Kogi state will be the centre of attention in the forthcoming elections. Igalas and 'number', Okuns and 'tide' and Ebiras and 'proxy' will try to outwit each other for the crown. 'Number' is the numerical strength of a political zone during elections, while 'Tide' is the act of identifying with the advantaged (number) during elections. 'Proxy' is contentment for deputizing.

Will power remain with the Igalas? Can power shift to the Okuns? Or will the Ebiras pull a pleasant surprise? But my question is: why are over 30 aspirants interested in becoming governor of Kogi state? I reason with the Marxist school of thought that posits that human beings are naturally driven by the basic necessities of life.   Whenever these needs are met, the individual, driven by initiatives, knowledge and a desire to contribute positively to the society, aspires to achieve greater heights. In all, I see only 5 aspirants with this trait, 2 from the east (Igala) 2 from the west (Okun) and 1 from central (Ebira). But like I said earlier, I will not mention names.

Kogi West (Okuns) parades the highest number of aspirants. This is phenomenal, considering the political pecking order that places the Igalas on top with 9 local governments and 44.63% of the total population of the state. In contrast, the Okuns have 7 local government and represents 27.34% of the state population. The difference between the Igalas and the Okuns in population size is (44.63%-27.34%) 17.29% and the difference between the Igalas and Okuns added up to the Ebiras (28.03%) is (17.29%+28.03%) =45.32%. 44.63% (Igalas) deducted from 45.32% is 0.69%. whoever garners 0.69% will carry the day. The logic is in the difference in the number of local governments in Kogi East and Kogi West. Now the difference is 2, and 2 divided by the 3 senatorial districts is 0.67. This can be approximated to the same 0.69%. This is the number game.

Okehi and Okene local governments deliver block votes. Ankpa and Dekina also deliver block votes. What needs to be done is winning 2 local governments outside your domain convincingly. For example, if an aspirant from Kogi East is able to win 2 local governments in either Kogi West or Kogi Central, he is done. He does not need to worry about local governments in his domain, as tribal politics is rife. This same principle is applicable to the aspirant from Kogi West. The calculation is that given the number of local governments in Kogi East and West, which is 9 and 7, a differential of 2, makes a sort of psychological equilibrium.

The Okuns play politics of tide and the Igalas play politics of numbers. But any reasonable political strategist will decipher that the game has changed the other way round. Prevailing realities have placed the number game with the Okuns and the tide game with the Igalas, because the Ebiras will likely go with the Okuns when the race begins for obvious reasons (chiefly to demystify the Igalas). In time past, the Igalas relied on the Okuns during elections, regardless of the fact that the Igala candidate always and ensures an Ebira man is his running mate. But there is a change now.

The change occurred when it was realized that Governor Ibrahim Idris sidelined many leaders who worked for his victory in 2003. This fact revolutionized the power shift rhythm. This is what Igala aspirants should think about. They sure need some serious political strategizing to be able to contain the power shift tempo and the Okuns have to come to one accord in their domain to be able to actualize their aspiration. The Ebiras are the beautiful bride and are watching closely. Times are changing but the Igalas have not realized that the Okuns play the number game now with the active connivance of the Ebiras. Remember the bone of contention is 0.69%. The Okuns will likely capitalize on the 'weakness of the stronger sex' to become the 'stronger sex'. This expression can also be termed 'consciousness' game.

Anything that we are aware of at a given moment can be termed consciousness. The Igalas are aware of the raging power shift tempo, but are resting on their oars, basking in the euphoria of 'numbers' that has since been replaced by 'tide'. The Okuns are equally aware of this weakness and are strategizing to ensure that it becomes their strength come 2011.

Anyway, the way and manner the Okuns are going will likely see them carry the day. In as much as the Igalas are dogged, the Okuns are a meticulous people. I like the tenacity of the Okuns in the quest. We should not be deceived by the array of aspirants; it might be a political strategy called 'break the ranks'. In all, we keep our fingers crossed at the evolving political drama.  

By Joshua Ocheja ( )      

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