Kogi’s po­lit­i­cal tran­scen­dan­talism

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Sen­a­tor Joe Fun­sho Obasaju

Fif­teen years ago, I wrote my last fea­tures ar­ti­cle on the im­peach­ment plot against Pres­i­dent Oluse­gun Obasanjo. Since then, I had taken a bow from writ­ing un­til the Novem­ber 21 gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion in Kogi State forced me out of retirement.

I have read in­tensely most of the thought-pro­vok­ing ar­ti­cles, es­pe­cially the in­trigu­ing but in­cor­rect anal­y­sis of Idowu Akin­lotan “Pal­la­dium” in the Na­tion news­pa­per. I now wish to cor­rect the equiv­o­ca­tion and in­nu­en­does in most of th­ese ar­ti­cles as a ma­jor ac­tor and player in the pol­i­tics of Kwara and Kogi State, and even Nige­ria dur­ing my spell as a Hon mem­ber Kwara State House of As­sem­bly; UPN Sen­a­tor in the sec­ond Re­pub­lic and Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man, Sports Coun­cil in both Kwara and Kogi State. In­ter­est­ingly, Sen­a­tor Ah­madu Ali, Com­mis­sioner Alice Fo­layan, Al­haji Kokori Ab­dul, Chief P.W B. Bako, Chief Julius Elupko and my hum­ble self au­thored the only of­fi­cial re­quest for the cre­ation of Kogi State in 1982.

The forth-com­ing Novem­ber 21 elec­tion in Kogi State be­tween Igala sons and broth­ers, Capt Idris Ichalla Wada, the in­cum­bent Gover­nor and his bois­ter­ous chal­lenger, former two-term Gover­nor and po­lit­i­cal em­peror of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu, calls for care­ful scru­tiny and painstak­ing anal­y­sis in or­der to as­cer­tain the sin­cer­ity and suit­abil­ity of the two con­tenders Po­lit­i­cal tran­scen­dan­talism? Yes, Kogi State is fac­ing po­lit­i­cal tsunami, re-align­ment and tran­scen­den­tal­ism right now. It is crys­tal clear that Idowu Akin­lotan’s “Pal­la­dium” has been given the her­culean task of in­form­ing and even in­doc­tri­nat­ing undis­cern­ing Nige­ri­ans about the forth-com­ing elec­tion in Kogi State. I am not obliv­i­ous of the won­der­ful and valiant ef­forts of Nige­ria’s most cere­bral and loyal Deputy Gover­nor, Ach Yomi Awoniyi as well as his ver­sa­tile Press Sec­re­tary, Michael Abu in set­ting the records straight al­most on daily ba­sis. Nonethe­less, there are acres of wilderness to be dis­cussed.

Twenty two years ago, on Jan­uary 2, 1993, Gover­nor Abubakar Audu, or­dered the re­duc­tion, re­ver­sal and down-siz­ing of two Spe­cial­ist Hos­pi­tals in Kabba and

Obangede to or­di­nary Gen­eral Hos­pi­tals. The two won­der­ful world­class Spe­cial­ist Hos­pi­tals, built with the as­sis­tance of the Dan­ish Gov­ern­ment were re­verted in 1993 to or­di­nary hos­pi­tals be­cause they were con­sid­ered too “so­phis­ti­cated” for the newly cre­ated one year old Kogi State.

Gover­nor Audu did not stop at that. He or­dered that all the so­phis­ti­cated equip­ments in the field of health, den­tistry, psy­chi­atric and theatre be dis­man­tled and trans­ferred to Og­bonicha Spe­cial­ist Hospi­tal. Just six weeks ago, the in­cum­bent Gover­nor of Kogi State, Capt Wada, or­dered the restoration of the Spe­cial­ist sta­tus of the two hos­pi­tals in Kabba and Obangede. Not only this, he di­rected that all nec­es­sary con­sul­tants, doc­tors and health per­son­nel and other para­pher­na­lia that will make the two hos­pi­tals func­tion op­ti­mally be im­me­di­ately re­stored.

This po­lit­i­cal master stroke and re­dress­ing of deep po­lit­i­cal wound the West and Cen­tral Sen­a­to­rial Dis­tricts is po­lit­i­cal tran­scen­den­tal­ism. By the time Gover­nor Wada’s direc­tive are car­ried out to the let­ter, the Novem­ber elec­tion must have been won con­vinc­ingly in Kogi West and Cen­tral by the PDP Wada/Awoniyi ticket. Power ro­ta­tion Both main con­tenders promised power ro­ta­tion to Kogi West and Cen­tral Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict in 2019. There is, how­ever, a great dif­fer­ence be­tween the two prom­ises.

Gover­nor Wada’s prom­ise is cred­i­ble, while Prince Audu’s prom­ise is highly incredible. The fact to be con­sid­ered is that Kogi East Sen­a­to­rial Dis­trict com­pris­ing Idah, Ankpa and Dek­ina Di­vi­sions have pro­duced two-time Gov­er­nors in Prince Abubakar Audu (Idah) and Ibrahim Idris (Ankpa). The in­cum­bent Gover­nor, Capt Wada, is do­ing the first term for Dek­ina, and is run­ning for the sec­ond term to com­plete two-term Gov­er­nor­ship for the three di­vi­sions in Igala land. Power can then ro­tate to Kogi Cen­tral or Kogi West in 2019. Abubakar Audu knows full well that his vic­tory in the Gov­er­nor­ship will give Idah divi­sion, 3 terms as against 2 terms for Ankpa and one for Dek­ina, caus­ing an in­equi­li­brum in the power ro­ta­tion for­mula, as Ankpa would need one more term and Dek­ina two more terms.

This ex­plains why there is a gale of de­fec­tions in Kogi East by politi­cians who do not be­lieve that power should ro­tate to either West or Cen­tral. The de­fec­tion of Hon.Isa Echo­cho, Sen­a­tor Dan­gana Ocheja, Hon Mo­hammed Idris, Hon Si­mon Achuba, Hon. David Apeh, etc can be en­cap­su­lated in the de­sire of the de­fec­tors to con­tinue hang­ing on to power for Kogi East af­ter 2019.

It is per­ti­nent to gloss over the gale of re­trench­ments by the Abubakar Audu regime in 1992-1993. Four thou­sand, nine hun­dred and ten civil ser­vants from Kogi West and Kogi Cen­tral were re­trenched in or­der to “down size” the work force.

Af­ter pleas, per­sua­sions and pros­tra­tions from Obas, chiefs, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and as­so­ci­ates, 1800 of the re­trenched staff were re­called, leav­ing a bal­ance of 3110 to wal­low and die in penury poverty and wan­ton servi­tude. In some cases, an en­tire fam­ily of fa­ther, mother and their chil­dren were bru­tally re­trenched. It is de­bat­able if the civil ser­vants in both Kogi West and Cen­tre can ever re­cover from the de­hu­man­is­ing re­trench­ment.

The other great and un­par­don­able sins of Audu in­volve say­ing things he does not mean to the elec­torates. Thus he promised Kogi West the State Univer­sity, ab initio, only to site the same univer­sity in Anyigba. Af­ter this, he fer­vently promised that the med­i­cal fac­ulty and Health Sciences will be sited in Kogi West, while En­gi­neer­ing and Ar­chi­tec­ture will be sited in Kogi Cen­tral “be­cause the Univer­sity is funded by the three sen­a­to­rial Dis­tricts and the 21 Lo­cal Gov­ern­ments.” Th­ese prom­ises have proved to be cruel jokes as the Fac­ulty of Medicine and Health Sciences as well as the Teach­ing Hospi­tal have been ir­re­vo­ca­bly en­trenched in Anyigba. In­ter­est­ingly, no Vice Chan­cel­lor of Kogi West or Cen­tral ex­trac­tion has been ap­pointed since the 16 years ex­is­tence of the in­sti­tu­tion.

Sen­a­tor Joe Funso Obasaju, a sen­a­tor of the Sec­ond Re­pub­lic, wrote from Kabba, Kogi State

As a Kog­ite, I know the state is at the mo­ment in a very crit­i­cal stage and un­less the cit­i­zens evolve a cred­i­ble in­dex for lead­er­ship as­sess­ment they risk the chance of choos­ing the right can­di­date. The ma­jor is­sue con­fronting the state to­day is de­vel­op­ment. And if the truth be told, the gov­ern­ments of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party, un­der the present gover­nor, Capt Idris Wada has ren­dered the roads in Lokoja to be a big shame and a pro­found em­bar­rass­ment to our col­lec­tive sen­si­bil­i­ties. That gov­ern­ment does not ex­em­plify, per­son­ify or sym­bol­ize ex­cel­lence and good gov­er­nance and vot­ing such gov­ern­ment back to power will amount to en­dors­ing medi­ocrity. I have asked my­self whether his non-per­fo­mance was a func­tion of un­will­ingmess or in­abil­ity?

In fair­ness to Wada, I think those who are close to him are not fair to him by con­ceal­ing the truth from him. He seems to have been pro­foundly over­whelmed by the same prob­lems he was elected to solve.

When I saw the list of the gov­er­nor­ship can­di­dates for the forth­com­ing elec­tion, I was quick to con­clude that some­thing was ter­ri­bly wrong with our lead­er­ship re­cruit­ment process. But if we are to

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.