EBIRA AGENDA, THE FACT, THE MYTH, AND THE CLARION CALL FOR A MORE UNITED KOGI STATE.
BY DR TOM OHIKERE, FORMER COMMISSIONER OF INFORMATION, KOGI STATE.
Recent developments in the political scenario of the state that is heavily dominated by tribalism and sentiment has forced me to reflect and make bare my opinion to avoid being misconstrued by those who might have concluded ignorantly that I am not working for the sustenance of power rotation.
To be perfectly honest, Kogi state which can be regarded as a microscopic representation of Nigeria society has given me a deeper insight to issues relating to power and politics amidst the innate tendencies for fear of domination by an ethnic group. This notion has always been the reasons for my actions which at times might be unique. I have always tried to think nationally and avoid situations that will narrow down my thought to ethnic bigotries. After all, tribalism is always in the mind of the unexposed and politics that is based on tribes and sentiment is the politics that will tear the country apart.
I am from the central senatorial district and am proud of my ancestral home, my people, the culture as well as our vision and cravings for development. Sadly however, the numerous threat on the social platform and physical and spiritual attacks on me and the wide condemnation of my perception is unacceptable in modern politics.
Power rotation is nothing but a parochial dimension of politics. If societal situations are normal, individual security guaranteed, our roads motorable and our economy buoyant, and our people can put food on their table no body will care about who is in or out of power.
Years back in this same country, graduates usually get their employment letter shortly before the completion of their academic session at the universities. There were industries but few educated people do fill the vacant position. As at then no one really care about your language or creed so long as you can deliver. But now, the situation has changed due to the poor management of the economy and ethnic identity is more prominent in our politics.
As a commissioner under Ibro’s administration, when there was a gang up against king Ado Ibrahim,his majesty the ohinoyi of ebira land, for his removal i fought tenaciously on his part. I was the only cabinet member who negated the idea because I knew it will result into crisis that will consume lives and property in Ebira land.I was given all names because of my position and respect for the highly esteemed king.
I was instrumental to the restoration of peace in the central senatorial district in the year 2011. During the period, hell was let loose and many people died , houses were burnt in Obehira, idoma, and Okenwen due to avoidable errors by our politicians.
In the heat of the trouble, I and Honourable Abdullahi Bello moved to the crises Zone to broker peace between the warring parties. At the end of it, i even had to challenge the governor on his stand on the situation and it is on record that the challenge led the issuance of a ( white paper) on the crises and some political leaders in the land were indicted for having a stockpile of weapons and arms trading, while some were accused of grooming militants in barracks at inike, ahache,idoma etc.
On assumption of office as the commissioner of information in Kogi state, I met Ebira land as the only senatorial district without any functional media outlet. For example I met the NTA Okene as an uncompleted building’s in a valley behind Ogembe’s house along obehira road ,while Otite radio was in total shambles. My findings later revealed some anti people elements vandalised and took away some of equipment needed and under ground cables needed for it to function. As for the NTA it was officially revealed that the project contractors absconded with the project fund. Worthy to note is the fact that the contractors are indigenes of Ebiraland.
Flowing from this scenario and considering the volatile situation then, there was an urgent need for public sensitisation and orientation of the people to ensure peaceful co existence. So decided to re- work the NTA and the radio station. On the NTA, I discovered that its location was ill motivated because tv stations world over are to be cited on hilly and mountanious locations. So I relocated the NTA to Okene- ba. And I initiated a tripatite arrangement to build the NTA with the assistance and goodwill of the government in power Okene local government under the leadership of Alhaji YAHAYA Karaku contributed by building the structure demands, the state government contributed the transformer, Maikano generator to be specific, and the transformer and other equipments were supplied by the federal government, the NTA Head quarter supported me with the transmitter and it was at the verge of 75% completion when i left as the commissioner.
I was also able to employ few people into the state civil service when in power.
With this information about my expedition, have I not done well?
As far as am concerned, no greater agitation can be greater than the improvement of the socio economic conditions of my people. Power is transient, Ebiras would certainly not rule the state till eternity if the present the situation is favourable, human evolution has proven otherwise. That is why we have the likes of George Bush,Clinton, Mandela, Gadaffi,Hosni Mubbarack,Audu and so many people who have tasted power and would be remembered for either good or evil.
To me Ebira agenda includes the revamping of Ajaokuta and Itakpe. With the restoration of both companies unemployment and youth restiveness will be a thing of the past .
Ebira agenda to me is to ensure the availability of infrastructural facilities as against the prevailing infrastrutural deficit and as well commercialise our cultural festivals,that is the echane and ekwechi which has been adjudged to be of international tourism standards.
Furthermore,i was a foundation member of the All Progressives Congress and was actually in charge of the initial membership drive in Kogi central, I remain with the Party because I believe in its ideals and principles to create the much desired change.
I worked with Alhaji Yahaya Bello before and at the primary level, through Gods help, he garnered 700 vote.
I am very sure that we all remember how fair plus was frustrated at the primary election by a pocket of ebira leaders who did not see anything good about him. I did my best to help the situation but was denied with the introduction of 2 other very strong contenders by our cabals.
When we lost out, i had no choice than to work with our APC and late Abubakat Audu whose electoral records Bello is leveraging on right now.
In the cause of walking with Audu ,his plans for Ebira has been a source of hope a worthy cause to pursue.he severally assured us of his commitment to the actualisation of the Ebira agenda of my dream.I became fervently involve in Audu-Faleke mandate because of this.
At this juncture,I find it very germane to say I have a moral obligation to Ebira land and as such will not work against their interest but with my constitutional right to freedom of association ,I am satisfied with Audu’s interest.
It is worthy to point out that the ohikeres before me are remembered for integrity as they were forthright,dogged, tenacious with fidelity. I am therefore having a great burden on me as I cannot go below the standard and benchmark set over years.
And I want to belief strongly that ebira people will soon openly identify their enemies and it is then I will become the testimony.
I hereby promise that I will not work against the interest of ebiraland and must also be free to choose my company.
I remain myself and will not betray my conscience.
May God continues to help us.