Kogi needs replacement of late Ocholi — Comrade Otigba
Comrade Musa Ali Otigba is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State and the North-central National Leader of Coalition of APC Support Groups. In this interview, he speaks on the implication of the death of Prince Abubakar Audu and
It’s been more than four months since the death of Barrister James Ocholi, leaving Kogi State without a representative in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Why is it taking the government so long to appoint another person?
That is the same question we are asking. The Igala people have gone through so much political troubles and pains since the beginning of this administration. At first, it was the death of Prince Audu, as the people were waiting to celebrate the victory of the man they had come out in their large numbers to vote for in the November 21 governorship election. Few months after that, we also lost another credible son of ours, a father and the leader of the APC in Kogi State, a minister of state for labour and employment, Chief Ocholi. It has been over four months now since that time and we are yet to get a replacement. Sometime ago, in the month of April, I led Igala youth delegation to the State House to visit the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina. We made our presentation. We told him to relate our message to Mr President. We are appealing to the president to consider a replacement for Ocholi. We are going through so much pain. One of such pain is the fact that right now, the Igala man has no representative in the National Assembly, especially in the Senate. Our senatorial election has been nullified. Having a rerun has taken so long. It was recently said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) came out to announce a new date for the election which will hold on July 27, 2016. We, the Igala people, are the 7th largest ethnic group in Nigeria. We constitute over 60% of the voting population in Kogi State. The Igala man is all over the country. When I went to Kano, I saw an Igala man in the campaign team. Also, I saw them in Oyo, Osun and Lagos states. We gave our support to President Muhammadu Buhari and we are still supporting the government.
In the case of the ministerial appointment, Kogi State doesn’t have anyone representing it in the Federal Executive Council. One of the implications of this is that if you look at the massive projects coming out in the Federal Tender Journals and other national dailies, you cannot find tangible projects in Kogi State. Every other state in Nigeria is covered.
Are you saying that nobody is talking about your people in the Federal Executive Council?
This is Nigeria where you need people to speak for you. If you don’t have anyone to speak for you, nothing will come to you. We believe that if we have a minister representing us, things won’t be going on like this. Kogi State would also have been adequately covered in projects that cut across the nation.
Since the beginning of this administration, a lot of appointments have been made, such as directorsgeneral, special advisers to Mr President, managing directors, including the security chiefs, but I cannot point to one person from Kogi State who has been appointed. It is a serious concern to us, considering the overwhelming support the Igala people and Kogi State in general gave Mr President. We are at a loss with his decision not to consider Kogi people or to even think about us. We deserve to be represented. You will agree with me that most of these appointments are recommended by the ministers. You don’t expect a minister from Kano or Bauchi to nominate a Kogi man for appointment. I don’t think the governor is in the position to nominate who heads an agency of the federal government. He can appeal, just like we are appealing.
How would you assess the current government?
This is one of the best governments that this country ever had and I have my reasons. I always tell people that beyond the physical side of performance, one of the very important things that Nigerians should appreciate is the incorruptible nature and character of president Buhari and vice president Yemi Osinbanjo. This attribute of theirs would eventually take us to the Promised Land. Before now, you will know that Nigeria was heading towards a failed state, which was made worse by corruption. Mediocrity was what thrived. Competence and merit had no place in Nigeria before the coming of this government. Very soon, mediocrity will give way to competence and merit. The fight against corruption is the greatest achievement that we have recorded under this administration. I know that if we defeat corruption, we can achieve success in every other aspect of the economy.
What advice do you have for the president and the party leadership?
I can only appeal to the government and party leaders. By party leaders, I mean the national executives of the APC and state governors under the APC. We want them to see to ameliorate the plight of Kogi people, especially the Igala people. We gave and we are still giving overwhelming support to president Buhari. For the first time in the history of elections in Nigeria, 2015 was when we went the way of the APC because of the confidence and belief we had in Buhari. We had a sitting governor who was a PDP member, but we ignored him. We ignored all other leaders of the PDP in Kogi State. Particularly, I have analysed the various political platforms in Nigeria and identified the APC as the one with the content and character to deliver the desired change in Nigeria. We were able to communicate this to so many people in the state. Right now, we don’t even have anything to tell the people. So, many things have gone wrong and I am appealing to Mr President to consider a replacement for the late Ocholi.
Comrade Musa Atigba