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Kogi’s Igala politics: Picking the pieces and the tatatata… onomatopoeia

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By Samson Atekojo Usman

When Igala and Bassa people converged under the aegis of Igala/Bassa Relief Development Initiative at Grand Ibro Hotel, Abuja, penultimate week to distil political issues bothering the Eastern Senatorial zone, one could fathom frustration; could see lamentation, despondency and pain akin to self affliction of a people who have lost their 22 years legacies within 6 years.

The event was well attended as two former governors whom report has been making the round that they are sworn enemies were present. The ex-state governors who saw the past glory, but now seeing the present gloom lavishly discussed the political perils being faced by the people in Igala/Bassa land, while proferring solution of unity ahead of 2023 governorship election in Kogi State.

If you were an adult in the 70s, 80s and 90s in Igala land, you would have been able to decipher between the “brand of politicians” and the “brood of vipers”, doing bizarre things. You can’t talk of Kogi State without the Eastern Senatorial flank and its people and it remains to be seen where the people themselves constitute a clog in the wheel of their own progress. Something has gone haywire in the land. Suddenly, the peoples political babel crumbled and they began to speak in ‘different tongues’, not understanding each other anymore.

Governorship election in November, 2019 which was won through the force of gun, tatatata… and blood has shown that Igala land, once a kingdom now, a fiefdom. The election was a sad memory of political killings, though under reported in the media, the land is ‘blood soaked’, political leaders’ hands are blood stained. The template for political killing is constructed and executed in Igala land. Abduction, hostage taking and harassment by thugs was the order of the day. These thugs, I mean, turned themselves into attack dogs, while children of their sponsors are schooling abroad with some in good schools across the country. These thugs were all over the nine local governments in Igala land doing abominable things. Their political masters are the beneficiaries of political offices, yet, there is lamentation ocassioned by the lack of basic infrastructure. A people blessed with leadership qualities were vociferously resistant to themselves because of egocentrism, greed and lunatious pursuit of fame.

It is in Igala land, politicians couldn’t provide social amenities, but could provide AK47 for people of low character to go wreck havoc. Unarguably, 2023 governorship election poses further challenges as more weapons would flow into the state.

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I don’t want to sound ethnocentric, as one shouldn’t really care where comes a governor of Kogi State, if he would govern the state well. In Kogi East, things have fallen apart. Recalling political assasinations in Igala land by the Igala people themselves since 2015, was not only traumatic, but a dastardly act that tended to cast slur on the entire tribe as if they are the most ungodly.

The very sad ‘exempli gratia’ of the late former Chairman of Dekina Local Government, Hon. Adejoh Akowe who escaped assasination by the whiskers on Wednesday, 1st November, 2017 got killed three years after when he was shot on 9th October, 2020 at a restaurant in Anyigba, after he returned from APC political activities. He finally died at the National Hospital, Abuja on 17th October, 2020, due to gun shot wounds.

Politics naturally is a game of contest, its weird and windy way of practising it is a function of one’s character. Anyone aspiring for any political office, but became so brutal to the extent of killing political opponents can’t be a good leader. They are the category of politicians who got offices through crook or hook, but fritter away resources and fizzle out of relevance within a short while. Of all the myriads of political assasinations in Kogi East, nobody crossed from the Central and Western Senatorial district to kill, to steal and to destroy, but the inhabitants themselves.

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The ‘tatatata’, which in my own definition, generic and etymology, is the art and science of the use of gun (AK47) against electorate and forcefully win election that a candidate would ordinarily have failed. This electoral aberration was not aided and abetted, but was deepened in Igala land, and today the land and her people are in tatters.

The list of those killed is inexhaustible here, but may I at this juncture posed a germane question regarding the killing of Salome Acheju Abuh that, are those clowns who sent arsonists to go burning the woman alive now doing well in political offices? The manner of killing was the most loathing phenomena which ever took place in Igalaland. The killing even got approval of certain political element to the extent that it was described as ‘retaliatory.’ In all these oddities, nobody emerged from the blues to perpetuate these heinous crimes, but Igala people.

What looks like elusive justice, the Court sentencing of the accused became a subject of public debate as whether it was punitive enough. Without prejudice, if the judgement of burning a woman alive and the property could be this ridiculous, then justice is a scarce commodity in the temple of justice; this is so, even as the convicts may in no distant time be pardoned under the prerogative of mercy.

Where is Igala unity we used to hear about? As at now, the umbrella body, Igala Cultural and Development Association (ICDA) is crisis ridden and polarised. The body which was a harbinger of unity in times past has been hijacked for discordant tunes. It has been pocketed by elements who the gods have rejected, and may I predict here that in 2023, all the factors militating against Igala people are to the advantage of Kogi West in the Governorship election. They don’t need any soothsayer to tell the direction of pendulum, but let the killing of each other stop in Igala land even as the advocates of ‘Ene omune me’ will soon begin their activities for their political masters.

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The ‘Ene omune me’ interpreted here for non Igala audience reading this piece means, ‘another person is better than your own brother.’ It was a concept forced down the throat of electorate in Igala land by the present politicians. This is without recourse to political destiny of the land and its people that is in jeopardy. The ‘Ene omune me’ advocates haven’t told the world, reasons the faculty of Medical Sciences in Kogi State University (KSU) which was fully running with Teaching Hospital was abruptly stopped for a new Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH).

There has been conspiracy of silence within the ‘Ene omune me’ advocates when Kogi State governor, Yahaya took late Attah Igala, His Royal Majesty Dr. Ameh Oboni II to flag off the 5.6km Idah-Aganabode bridge on 26th October, 2019, but nothing was heard since that time. Kogi East would have to wait for another electioneering year for another flag-off to deceive itself. As political stakeholders pick pieces, they should insist on unity even if ‘Ene omune me’ will market a candidate from another zone, let there be no killing in Kogi East!

Samson Atekojo Usman, a journalist can be reached on ateko2017@gmail.com

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