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

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Muideen Olaniyi & Ifah Ele Sun­day

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

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