Ad­dress in­jus­tice on our people, Okun elders ap­peal to Wada

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - From Us­man Bello, Lokoja

Elders from the West se­na­to­rial district of Kogi State, un­der the aus­pices of the Okun De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, have ap­pealed to the state gover­nor, Idris Wada, to ad­dress the cases of in­jus­tice against their people to save the state from cri­sis.

The elders who paid a cour­tesy call on the gover­nor in Lokoja, drew his at­ten­tion to the plight of its people in the state say­ing the state is “ail­ing and the ship of state is be­ing as­sailed by a po­ten­tially dis­rup­tive storm” which has to be ad­dressed as quickly as pos­si­ble.

For­mer min­is­ter of health, Prof. Ey­i­tayo Lambo who spoke on be­half of the elders, said since the state is built on three pil­lars of East, Cen­tral and West se­na­to­rial districts, it be­hoves on all ad­min­is­tra­tions in the state to treat all parts equally rather than the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion where only one part is be­ing favoured.

He said, “Based on re­peated vi­cious cir­cle of mis­treat­ment, the aver­age Okun cit­i­zen has be­come cyn­i­cal, to the ex­tent that he/she be­lieves that there are po­si­tions in this State that he/she can­not and, in­deed dare not, as­pire to oc­cupy sim­ply by virtue of the place of his/her birth, cu­ri­ously in a demo­cratic/ civil­ian govern­ment.”

The group which listed some of the cases of bias against its people, said no Okun per­son has ever been the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, sub­stan­tive Ac­coun­tan­tGen­eral or the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Govern­ment House Ad­min­is­tra­tion in the state.

The elders said though some of the prob­lems pre­cede the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion, it has per­sisted as it said of a weighted to­tal of 293 po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments by the Govern­ment of Kogi State, Kogi East car­ries the lion’s share of 166, Kogi Cen­tral, 51 and Kogi West 71 which amounts to 56.6 per cent for the East Se­na­to­rial District.

The group said it is alarmed by the dwin­dling pres­ence of its people in the state civil ser­vice and un­less ur­gent steps are taken to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion the prospects are grim for the people.

“At the cre­ation of the state in Au­gust 1991, the size of the civil ser­vice stood at 19,806. Of this, Kogi East had 9,769 (about 49 per cent); Kogi West, 8,244 (about 41 per cent) while Kogi Cen­tral had 1,995 (about 10 per cent) mem­bers of staff. How­ever, by 2013, the work force had bal­looned to 35,209 (an in­crease of al­most 78 per cent). Out of this, Kogi East has 24,621 (about 70 per cent); Kogi West, 6,519 (al­most 19 per cent) while Kogi Cen­tral has 4,069 (al­most 11 per cent). These fig­ures show that while the rel­a­tive share of the Igala/Bassa group has shot up con­sis­tently, that of the Okun/Lokoja/Ko­tonkarfe group stag­nated for a while be­fore it be­gan to dwin­dle dan­ger­ously.”

It said also thatt cur­rently, of the 18 com­mis­sion­ers in the state, nine are from Kogi East, five from the West and four from Cen­tral Districts re­spec­tively with Kogi East tak­ing 50 per­cent of the al­lo­ca­tion.

They called on the gover­nor to take bold and ur­gent steps to cor­rect the “patent lop­sid­ed­ness in the dis­tri­bu­tion of po­lit­i­cal of­fices such that all parts of the state are made to have a sense of be­long­ing.

“The ad­min­is­tra­tion should take steps to halt the con­tin­ued dec­i­ma­tion of Okun and Oworo people in the civil ser­vice and that qual­i­fied and com­pe­tent Okun and Oworo in­di­genes in the ser­vice are ap­pointed into po­si­tions com­men­su­rate with their train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence.

It sug­gested that rather than the present ap­proach of al­lo­cat­ing po­lit­i­cal of­fices, “we would like to rec­om­mend that all avail­able po­si­tions be put in a bas­ket and shared based on the prin­ci­ples of eq­uity and fair­ness. In this re­gard, for in­stance, it should be pos­si­ble to cor­rect the mis­nomer in hav­ing both the Com­mis­sion­ers of Works and Fi­nance come from the same district.”

Gov Idris Wada

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