By Okutepa Adejoh Musa
The November 16 gubernatorial election in Kogi State has elicited a lot of passion, interests, punditry, narratives, and vituperation, both within and outside the Confluence State. The two leading candidates are: Governor Yahaya Bello of the APC, and Engr Musa Wada of the opposition PDP.
It is no longer news that a majority of Kogites are already polarized, albeit along party linessome across ethnic gulfs. While democracy offers freedom of choice to citizens, history confers on us, the hindsight of introspection, on the antecedents cum intentions of self-acclaimed change agents, whose sole interest is not for economic and political growth of Kogi State, but building dynastiesand enslaving the entire state in return.
A quick check on the major contenders during the PDP primary election points to omnibus fact: that the present attempt to wrestle power from Governor Yahaya Bello, has nothing to do with the betterment of Kogi State, or righting the perceived wrongs of leadership, but an ill-conceived agenda of a family cabal to dominate Kogi politics for decades to come.
The candidate of the PDP is Engr Musa Wada, the brother-in-law to the first runner-up in the primary election, Abubakar Ibrahim Idris, who happens to be the biological son of ex-governor Ibrahim Idris- a man who installed the immediate past governor, Captain Idris Wadathe elder brother of Engr Musa Wada. Interestingly, ex-governor Wada, who lost election to the ruling APC even as incumbent in 2015, wanted to be governor again, by contesting the governorship ticket of the PDP with his younger brother, in-law and son of his erstwhile godfather. Haba!
In the spirit of objectivity, there are no constitutional impediments to a family, either by blood or marriage, recycling power amongst themselves in as much the voters allow them. But everything is wrong, when a family that has not only dominated the political atmosphere of Kogi, but whose administration mismanaged the resources of a beleaguered state, enriched selves and cronies at the gross expense of the development of the state, and, all of a sudden, turned themselves to advocates of change; coming to salvage the same state ruined by their untrammeled avarice and ineptitude. To further my narrative that these oligopolistic sets of individuals have neither moral rectitude nor sense of altruism, they could not even masquerade their heinous agenda by sponsoring someone else, but had to scramble for the PDP flageven among themselves!
That is how provincial and eccentric they are.
After emerging candidate of the PDP, Engr Musa Wadas first media outing, on an AIT flagship program, Kakaki was a disaster; undeserving of agubernatorial candidate. Instead of throwing light on his manifestoif any, he embarked on a tirade of ethnic triumphing; committing unpardonable blunders in the sojourn. He started with ethno-supremacist sentiment, by alluding that the Igalas constitute 52% of the voting strength in the state. Nauseatingly as this gaffe sounded, Musa Wada could not discern the level of injury he had inflicted on the collective psyche of other tribes in Kogi. He progressed in error, albeit unknowingly, till the end of ill-fated programme.
At the end of the interview session, he left an indelible impression on his watchers; a negative one for that matterthat he is not only representing a dynasty of feudal lords, but he is a tribal bigot cum supremacist who is not fit to govern a heterogeneous Kogi State, sitting on tripod of three major tribes, namely: Igala, Ebira and Okun. While the TV programme lasted, his body language vis–vis mannerisms, smacked of an ethnic fundamentalist on a war conquest, possibly to retrieve ancestral throne stolen from his family fiefdom. He wore the aura of entitlement to Lugard House, creating the perception that the current occupier of the position is an usurper, not qualified to be there in the first placejust for being born a minority.
This was the first red flag! Kogi, as presently configured, ethnically, does not need a tribal chauvinist with a born-to-rule mentality as governor, for peace and mutual coexistence in the state.
Even among the Igalas, these same people that have mortgaged the political destiny of the state for years could not support another Igala man or woman to vie for the governorship seat, simply because they are keen on their family dynasty producing the next governor of the state. Imagine an Ibrahim Idris who ruled the state for nine years, enthroned his successor, Idris Wada, then, after four years of being in political wilderness as a result of bad governance and deteriorated relationship between the duo, decided to make his own sonbiological for that matter, the next governor of the same state he ruined. What impunity! Though the son lost the PDP ticket to his brother-in-law, the attempt by Ibrahim Idris to get a third term through his son or son-in-law is a grave insult on the sensibilities of Kogi citizensa brazen act of feudalism.
In the foregoing context, the Musa Wada candidacy is not only a paragon of oligarchy or epitome of provincialism but exemplar of cronyism. It has more to do with entrenching political interests of self-appointed tribal lords that have placed parochial family interests above the entire state, than development. This opinionated bourgeoisie, representing a rehash of retrogressive orthodoxies, cannot be allowed to recapture the states treasury again, in whatever guise. Kogi State is bigger than tribe and religion; let alone myopic interests of few individuals who see the state as their conquered empire. In a highly diversified Kogi State, one family cannot hold everyone to ransom. A vote for Musa Wada, automatically translates to handing over the state to power-starved feudal godfathers, who need the Kogi treasury to resuscitate their suffocating businesses and flamboyant lifestyles.
A word, they say is enough for the wise!
- Okutepa writes from Odu-Anana Dekina LGA. Kogi State
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