Sustaining Ethnic Balancing Arrangement in Ajaokuta LGA; Open Letter to Gov Bello

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Alh. Yahaya Adoza Bello,
The Exective Governor of Kogi State,
Lokoja.

Your Excellency Sir,

SUSTAINING THE ETHNIC BALANCING ARRANGEMENT IN AJAOKUTA LGA

I write to bring to your attention the urgent need to sustain the existing ethnic balancing arrangement in political representation in Ajaokuta Local Government Area.

However, before I dig deep into this, I want to express my deepest gratitude on behalf of Ajaokuta sons and daughters for finding our sons and daughters worthy of appointment into various positions in this government. Never in the history of Kogi State has Ajaokuta LGA ever been this represented at the state level. Though, we still look forward to these representatives translating this gesture into meaningful development at the local level.

Your excellency sir, the need for this letter was my belated observation that the positions of Chairman and Vice Chairman (VC)  and secretary to the local government are all from the Ebira speaking axis of the local government, though, different districts. While the fear of a likely backlash from my kinsmen has delayed it till now.

Sir, Ajaokuta LGA is the most diverse local government in Kogi State probably rivalled only by Lokoja LGA. For this reason, there has been an informal ethnic balancing arrangement in the local government to preserve the unity and diversity of the local government.

Ajaokuta LGA is divided into three districts: Ajaokuta district (made up of Ebiras, Igalas, Bassas, Nukpe, Igbira Koto,Hausa and yoruba), the Eganyi District (made up of the Ebiras and few Igalas mostly in Adogo) and the Ebiya District (completely Ebira speaking area). Political positions and “dividend of democracy” are rotated and shared between these three districts and ethnic groups that made up the local government as we shall see below since 1991.

This has help to firmly establish the “Ubuntu” spirit between these group which is the foundation of the peace we enjoy today despite our diversity.

From the table below, your excellency Sir, only the last column completely deviates from the others. All the positions are filled from the Ebira speaking axis of the three districts except for the Federal House of reps.

To add salt to the injury, I learnt, the two SSA which the non-Ebira speaking axis produced in your first tenure have been denied them this time around. From my inquiry, I learnt this could probably be the consequence of taking side with the opposition candidates in the last election.

Probing further on the decision to vote the candidate of the opposition party, leaders from the axis, made me to understand that people of this axis felt aggrieved by the following; their outright exclusion from the bulk employment that took place in Kogi Revenue House and Ministry of Health, failure to upgrade the Onuh of Ajaokuta village during the upgrade of Chiefs and the creation of the Ohiete Stool in Ajaokuta Village and elevating the new stool above the Onuh who happened to be one of the seven paramount traditional rulers in Ebira district during the colonial regime (others being the Adogu of Eganyi, the Ohindasi of Okengwe, the Obobanyi of Ihima, the Asema of upuvete in Adavi, the Adaika of Aika and the Olu of Ogori).

However, traditional leaders from the Ebira axis saw this as the pay back for the preferential treatment the Onuh enjoyed during Igala regimes the most annoying being the bad antecedent Wada set in place when he promoted only the Onuh in the entirety of Ebiraland during his upgrade of traditional chiefs in the state ( it is really surprising that Wada didn’t promote any Ebira speaking traditional ruler during his tenure and non of his Igala kinsmen called him to order).

This is not a good precedent to set going into the future. In as much as I am opposed to marginalisation at any level, this particular one is a dangerous one for young men and women from the Ebira speaking axis. The reason for this is not far-fetch.

According to the 2006 census, the Igala ethnic group constitute over 45% of the demographic makeup of Kogi State. There is no way you can rule out the possibility of an Igala man returning back to Lugard House in the near or far future. If this anomaly is allowed to held sway today, the minority Igala speaking axis of the local government will gang up with any future Igala government to send the majority Ebira speaking axis into political oblivion. And if it takes another divine miracle to produce another governor from the non Igala axis of Kogi State, I fear my brethren from this LGA will only exist at the behest of nature.

It is against this background I call on Your Excellency to immediately address this imbalance by compensating them with other appointments or reviewing the present occupants of the VC and Sectary positions. This will help avert the situations where the Igala axis would have the final laughter which I am near certain they will have when they are done paying us back in our own coin in the future.

In addition, as a Presidential material and candidate, whose arguably greatest achievement as governor is the close knitting of the formerly loose and divided nationalities that make up the state, this might seriously dent your credential as the unifier Nigeria aneeds as this point in her history.

Finally, I want to plead you let go of the ill feelings generated by the last guber polls (if any), God is the ultimate kingmaker, he gives the crown to whomever he wishes and today has crown you over all in Kogi state, so, why dwell on irrelevances like who contributed to your victory or who did not.

Your Excellency Sir, while you remain focused toward consolidating the achievements recorded in your first tenure, and pursuing with figure and enthusiasm the PYB project come 2023, you must not allow sycophants and agents of destabilisation who are out for their personal interest to mislead you into laying landmines that would explode in the future.

While I await your prompt action on the issues raised, please accept the assurances of my esteem regards.

Sincerely,

Inda Nurudeen Bello
Concerned Indigene.

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