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Published On: Mon, Jun 2nd, 2014

Politics without bitterness: The Kogi example

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By Abdullahi Yunusa

After a very long while, for very obvious reasons, that sweet and fulfilling feeling of being an indigene of Kogi state, which usually attracts envy from friends and colleagues came alive in my bosom. That feeling of satisfaction, pride, contentment and joy that things are indeed taking shape and those incharge of the state have realized this dire need to race against time, with particular reference to delivering on their campaign promises.

The Confluence state which the Captain Idris Wada led government has re-christened the ‘Confluence of Opportunities’ appears determined to jump out of the murky waters of underdevelopment, unimpressive performance and crude politics for serious business. If all the interesting and mind-blowing stories we read about the state in the mainstream media in recent times are true reflection of things on ground in the state and not a clinically packaged media stuff to score political point, then the Wada led government earns my commendation and support.

Political bickering, especially among the fragmented elite which was hitherto a norm in the state is gradually giving way to mature, responsible and idea-based politics. The politics of malicious criticisms, unhealthy rivalry, name-calling, buck passing and vendetta is becoming old fashioned. A time was in the state where both the ruling party and the opposition veered off the path of honour, decorum and commonsense in actions, words and disposition in their desperate bids to announce their presence. Sound reasoning, productive thinking, professionalism and competence suffered neglect, as illiterate political thugs, with the strong backing of politicians in both the PDP and APC operated almost freely in different parts of the state. They were untouchable.

Well, even though one cannot completely say these guys have been flushed out of the state, it is

instructive to note that the Wada government has made Kogi inhabitable for them.

Interestingly, politicians in the state have not only realized that power belongs to God and He bestows on who He so wishes, not minding the person’s screaming limitations, but have also embraced the fact that once elections are over both the ruling and opposition parties must unite in the interest of the masses. The fresh wind of change blowing across Kogi is indicative of the fact that democracy is indeed taking roots in the state and leading politicians in the state are learning well.

Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city truly lived up to its appellation as the Centre of Unity when it recently re-united and demolished the long-standing political wall that pitched politicians in Kogi state against each other. On this day, prominent politicians from both the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress put aside party differences and sat under one roof all for the overall interest of the state. The event was the groundbreaking ceremony of an eight storey building project code named “Kogi House” to be located in Abuja. For the first time in several years, the man referred to as the ‘father of opposition politics’ and pioneer governor of Kogi state, Prince Abubakar Audu showed up and took active part in a PDP organised event. This singular act of political

maturity displayed by the self-styled Adoja further speaks of his in-depth understanding of politics as a tool for cohesion and development and for the pursuit of personal goals.

It really takes an individual with an uncommon spirit to eat and dine with those whom many believed truncated his re-election bid in the 2003 gubernatorial election in the state. Not disturbed by the treatment meted to him in 2003, he threw his hat into the ring again in 2007 and 2011 and got same treatment. Expectedly, Adoja and his men blamed his electoral misfortune on the PDP and the then Maurice Iwu led INEC. In search of justice, he headed for the Election Petitions Tribunal (EPT) and later pursued the case to the Supreme Court where it was finally decided in favour of PDP’s Captain Idris Wada.

Also sighted at the event was Jibrin Isah Echocho, the banker turned politician. I was shocked to the bone marrow seeing Alhaji Echcho beaming with smile at the event. Echocho had first emerged as PDP’s flagbearer before the primary election that brought him in was controversially cancelled, an action that attracted wide condemnation from within and outside the state. Expectedly, Echocho employed everything to ensure he gets justice, but everything ended in Wada’s favour. Like Abubakar Audu, Isah Echocho has since put the past behind him. He has perished his earlier thought of fighting the Wada led government from the sidelines. Instead of teaming up with the opposition to fire ballistic missiles from left, right and centre and make governance difficult for the Wada government, Echocho has resolved to contribute his quota towards putting Kogi state on the path of progress in all spheres. Interesting developments are cropping up in my dear state. A state that was at some point topping the unenviable list of states known for crude politics is now championing the crusade for responsible and people-based politics.

It is indeed gratifying to know that those elements perceived to be anti-government have resolved to shield their swords and promised to support the Wada led government to actualise its aspirations. With this healthy development, Wada and his team have been given a blank cheque to take the state to El-dorado. With this they can’t afford to fail the people again. Time, energy and resources that would have be spent responding to accusations and counter accusations from the opposition party can now be channeled into something substantial and beneficial to the state. Captain Wada can now sail the ship of state unaided. Sir, you now have in your hands the proverbial yam and knife, do well to slice several pieces for Kogi people.

Abdullahi Yunusa, a public affairs commentator wrote in from Imane, Kogi State.


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