By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The people of Okunland in the Western Senatorial district of Kogi, have expressed strong desire to produce the next governor of the state in the November 2023 governorship election.
The people under the aegis of Okun4Governor Strategy Committee, disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja, read by Prof. Mike Ikupolati.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the statement read at the conference was jointly signed by Committee Chairman, Clarence Olafemi; Co- Chairman, Amb. Sola Enikanolaiye; and Secretary, Barr. Tunde Bello.
Ikupolati said the group’s agitation was based on spirit of equity and fairness which were virtues to be promoted to deepen democracy and promote inclusiveness.
According to Ikupolati, the right to rule is a combination of attitudes and abilities that lead people to set goals for themselves and to take the initiative to reach these goals.
”The quest for an Okun person to become governor has become the strongest wish of Okun people in recent times.
”It is, therefore, pertinent to inform the good people of Kogi that we are designing and putting in place effective strategies to actualise this goal.
”We shall remain resolute on this agitation until our quest receives the attention it richly deserves, especially by leaders of the state from all persuasions – political, religious, community and opinion leaders.
”It is imperative to put into perspective, that the Igalas of the Eastern flank of Kogi has held on to power for about 16 years with Late Prince Abubakar Audi, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris (Ibro) and Capt. Idris Wada as governors of the state while Alhaji Yahaya Bello is presently occupying Lugard House in his second term.
‘According to him, this implies that the East has had 16 years of rule and the Central, eight years with Kogi West having no appearances at the Lugard House in Lokoja.
”We hereby bring to the attention of all and sundry that Late Alhaji Adamu Attah from Kogi Central, was also governor from 1979 to 1983, making it 12 years of rule by the Central zone of Kogi.
”If equity and fairness are virtues to be promoted to deepen our democracy and promote inclusiveness, it will be natural for an Okun person to be the next governor of Kogi.
”Unfortunately, politics and political reasoning are encapsulated in the saying that; ‘power is not given but taken’
”We, are therefore, determined as good people of Okunland to demand power. We will take whatever steps that are necessary to ensure the realisation of this objective.
”With God and Providence on our side, we shall take it,” Ikupolati said.
He said that their desire to demand for power shift from the Central to Okunland, Kogi West in 2023 was not borne out of a parochialism of selfish motive but considered as a right.
He described it as a genuine demand borne out of their divine right to rule and the need for governance in the state to be more inclusive, participatory, fair and just to all senatorial districts.
”It is on record that Kogi West had supported Kogi East for 16 years during which they provided a governance structure that sought to serve the interests of the people of the state.
”We have, therefore, ruminated on it as a people that, it will only be fair and just for an Okun person to secure the governorship ticket under all political parties in the state for the 2023 governorship election.
”We must re-emphasise it that we are truly taking an apolotical stance here as we will like to see all parties in the state such as APC, PDP, Labour Party, SDP, ADC etc select their governorship candidates from Okunland.
”We have heard it mooted at some wrong quarters ‘the 16-16-16’ rule proposed for the state instead of in ‘the 8-8-8’ rational and logical rule.”
Ikupolati added that “it is quite inordinate ambition at this time, to be promoting irregularities, unfairness and injustice in the state.
He expressed the group’s belief that every rational leader from Kogi would see reason with them that fairness demanded that the governorship ticket be left to an Okun person.
He said that was not mindful of the political party that would provide the platform for the actualisation of our dream.
”We are however, not unaware of the political sensitivity of our demand but we do not intend to hurt the sensibility of groups or persons in the process. This is why we have come to the People’s court for the way forward.
”We are hopeful and optimistic that our humble demand will find favour in the sight of God and right thinking people of the state.”
He said the group was not proposing anything in connection with their right to be given power.
He said that beyond the presentation, the group’s strategy was to engage and negotiate with all stakeholders across the other two senatorial districts after forging a consensus within our own home front.
”We are not proposing anything in connection with our right against the two other senatorial districts. No!
“For we are very much aware of the right of every Kogi person to aspire for any political position in the state at any time.
”However, we are standing tall on the grounds of history, equity and justice that we collectively fought for the creation of the state in the first instance.
”Consequently, we are here on behalf of our people to request that an Okun person gets the full support of the East and Central senatorial districts to be the next governor of our dear state.”
Ikupolati emphasised their resolution to demonstrate a strong commitment to intensify their genuine demand for their right and to achieve sufficient equality with other ethnic groups in the state. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chioma Ugboma