Yoruba in Kogi protest marginalisation, insists on 2023 Governorship ticket
By Femi Agbana
Yoruba in Kogi have expressed their bitterness over what they considered as the ceaseless and historical marginalisation of the ethnic group in Kogi State.
The Yoruba are a major ethnic group in Kogi apart from Igala and Ebira ethnic groups.
The Yoruba comprise of Okun, Oworro (the indigenous people in Lokoja), Ogohi and Ijumu communities.
Since 1999, Igala has consistently produced the state governor but it came to an end by an irony of fate in 2011 when Governor Yahaya Bello emerged as the Governor following the sudden death of Prince Abubakar Audu, a day the results of the gubernatorial election was being expected. Audu is of Igala extraction.
At a press conference held in Kogi and addressed by Okun Develipment Association, (ODA) the group said the Okun were included during the Creation of Kogi in 1991 from Kwara State alongside Ebira people while the Igalas came from Benue State.
The group said although, history has made it imperically clear that Okun people migrated from Ile Ife, but were carved into Kogi State in North Central of Nigeria which made them to be called northerners.
The group in the conference addressed by ODA President General, Barr Femi Mokikan said more than 30 years now, the Okun people are the most marginalized major ethnic group in Kogi State in the area of employment, appointment, project execution until recently when there was paradigm shift in the present administration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the Executive Governor of Kogi State.
“On assumption of office, the Governor introduced a policy known as “EBIGO AGENDA” meaning Ebira, Igala and Okun Agenda. This primary purpose of introducing EBIGO was to promote unity and oneness of the Government and people of Kogi State with the sole aim of portraying the interest of Kogi first above individual or selfish interest.
ODA said without an iota of doubt, the EBIGO agenda is commendable and one of the best moves of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as it has confirmed that Kogi State belongs to all, Igalas, Ebiras and Okuns as against the claims of some quarters in the past.
The group said “Worthy of note and encomiums is the institutionalization of this agenda in the Area of appointments (both civil service and political), allocation and execution of projects. This is why Okun people will continue to be grateful to Kogi Governor, for the establishment of one of largest Rice Mill in Ejiba, Yagba West Local Government Area.”
ODA said in the health sector, Okun are glad with the ongoing construction work at Isanlu General Hospital, Yagba East LGA, while the rehabilitation of the Kabba township road staging it is no doubt a step in the right direction.
“As Kogi State Celebrates its 30 years of creation, it important to state that Okun is lacking behind as it is the only Area in the State without a University as the East has the Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba while the Central has the New Confluence University of Science and Technology, Osara.”
ODA said this is why Okun people are appealing to the State Government to as a matter of fact establish a University in Okun land to justify the equity, fairness and justice that form the mantras of the present Administration.
“We also appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently sign into law the bill establishing Federal University of Agriculture, Kabba as done for some states in Nigeria recently.
At this Juncture, we imploy our people in Kabba-Bunu, Ijumu, Mopa/Amuro, Yagba East and West Local Government Areas as well as Oworo land to come out enmasse and participate in the Voters registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
It urged Okun people to come out and register as voters adding that If the people want to continue to maintain the current political participation, it won’t speak well for them and their children in future to abstain from voters registration.
“We call on our people in Diaspora to motivate their children of 18 years and above to register for their PVCs at their respective LGAs. This is because we need to increase our voting strength.”
ODA said on the 2023 Governorship election, for the purpose of equity, fairness and justice the time has come for Okun land and Kogi West to present the next Governor of Kogi State. As a matter of fact, adding that the Igalas have produced three different Governors namely, Late Prince Abubakar Audu, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris and Captain Idris Ichala Wada while Ebiras are presently occupying the Lugard House for the second term.
“For the EBIGO Agenda of this Administration to be institutionalized for even posterity sake, the next Gubernatorial Candidate should be zoned to Kogi West. By so doing, Governor Yahaya Bello will be leaving a Legacy of Unity that informed the introduction of the Ebira, Igala and Okun Agenda.”
The group congratulates the Governor on the 30th Anniversary of the State and prayed that God grant him the wisdom and good health to do more for the State.