By Stanley Onyekwere
There appears to be no ending to the seemingly implacable and intractable agitation for the creation of new states in the country, as prominent leaders of the Igala/ Bassa ethnic group, under the aegis of Okura state Movement and Ukomu Igala Organisation, are insisting on their demand for creation of an additional state out of the present Kogi state.
Specifically, the group expressed utmost dissatisfaction with decision of the just-concluded National Conference Committee, which failed to recommend the creation of Okura state, while recommending the creation of 18 additional states to jack up the number of states in the country from 36 to 54.
This is coming after a week-plus the report of the National Conference was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan, after painstaking deliberations by delegates at the conference.
However, the group described the recommendation for creation of Kainji state from the North-West geo-graphical zone as a substitute for the recommendation of the proposed Okura state, as unacceptable to the Igala ethnic nationality in Kogi state, which is part of the North central geo-political zone.
According to a communiqué issued at the end of a special meeting of the leaders of the ethnic group, recently held in Abuja, alleged that events leading to the non-inclusion of the proposed Okura state by the National Conference were pre-determined to emasculate the desire of the Igala people.
It maintained that the proposed Okura state has potentials to be amongst the leading states in the country if created now, judging from its endowment in mineral, human and material resources.
The communiqué, read by the General Secretary of the Okura state Movement, Dr. Yakubu Ugwolawo, maintained that the meeting accordingly resolved to pursue the issue of self-determination by the Igala nationality through the creation of the proposed state as the basis for their prosperity, growth and development amongst the community of ethnic nationalities in the country.
“Since 1999, Igala people have not been accorded their rightful position in the affairs of the country. And at the moment, Igala have no minister, no federal permanent secretary, no Ambassador or High Commissioner. The Igala cannot continue to be treated as second class citizens in our own country.
“The meeting therefore, called on the political leaders of the Igala nation to refrain from being anti-gala development by folding their arms to watch the downward trend in our development, which is descending into the abyss of decadence and abject poverty,” Ugwolawo added.