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, the PDP. It is no longer news that a majority of Kogites are already polarized, albeit along party lines—some 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 dynasties—and 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 Wada—the elder brother of Engr Musa Wada. Interestingly, ex-governor Wada, who lost the election to the ruling APC even as an incumbent in 2015, wanted to be governor again, by contesting the governorship ticket of the PDP with his younger brother, inlaw 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, and allegedly enriched themselves 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.
After emerging candidate of the PDP, Engr Musa Wada’s first media outing, on an AIT flagship program, Kakakai, was a disaster; undeserving of a gubernatorial candidate. Instead of throwing light on his manifesto—if any, he embarked on a tirade of ethnic triumphing; committing unpardonable blunders in the sojourn. He started with the ethnic-supremacist sentiment, by alluding that the Igalas constitute 52% voting strength in the state. Nauseatingly as this gaffe sounded, Engr 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 the ill-fated program.
At the end of the interview session, he left an indelible impression on his watchers; a negative one for that matter—that he is not only representing a dynasty of feudal lords, sitting on a tripod of three major tribes, namely: Igala, Ebira and Okun. While the TV program lasted, his body language vis-a-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 a usurper, not qualified to be there in the first place—just 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 son—biological for that matter, the next governor of the same state. What an 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 citizens—a brazen act of feudalism.
In the foregoing context, the Engr Musa Wada candidacy is not only a paragon of oligarchy or epitome of provincialism but an exemplar of cronyism. It has more to do with entrenching political interests of self-appointed tribal lords, that have placed interests above the entire state, than development. This opinionated bourgeoisie, representing a rehash, cannot be allowed to recapture the state’s 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 word, they say is enough for the wise!
*Okutepa, writes from Odu-Anana in Dekina LGA of Kogi State.