Kogi At 30: The Journey So Far
By Arogbonlo Israel
Kogi, one of the most endowed in terms of natural resources is debatably a catalyst as well as instrumental to the growth and development of modern Nigeria.
The Confluence State as popularly called is one of the 36 States of Nigeria, located in the Northern part of the country.
Kogi, created in 1991 from parts of Kwara and Benue, is the most centrally located state in Nigeria and shares boundaries with nine states! To the north, it shares boundaries with Plateau, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory. Benue and Anambra States to the East and to the West, it is bordered by Ondo, Kwara, Edo and Enugu states.
The state is heterogeneous in nature with the Ebira, Igala and Okun (Yoruba) forming the major group. The smaller ethnic groupings include Bassa Kwomu, Bassa Nge, Oworo, Nupe, Ogori/Magongo, Egbura Koto, and Kakanda.
It is in short, the gateway state with very rich cultural values, great natural endowments and infinite stretches of arable land.
The state capital, Lokoja, is an ancient historical town that once served as the colonial administrative headquarters of Nigeria. The town is situated on the slope of a range of hills, Mount Patti. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Niger and Benue.
Kogi consists of three senatorial districts namely Western Senatorial District, Central Senatorial District and Eastern Senatorial District. It also consists of nine federal constituencies viz Okene/Ogori-Magongo; Ajaokuta; Okehi/Adavi; Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu; Yagba; Lokoja/Koton-karfi; Idah/Igala-Mela/Ofu; Dekina/Bassa and Ankpa/Omala/Olamaboro.
It also has 21 Council Areas: Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Ibaji, Idah, Igalamela/Odolu, Ijumu, Kabba-Bunu, Kogi, Lokoja, Mopamuro, Ofu, Ogori-Magongo, Okene, Okehi, Olamaboro, Omala, Yagba-East, and Yagba-West.
Among the prominent sons of Kogi State was a former Governor of Old Kwara State in the Second Republic, Alhaji Adamu Attah, former governor Late Prince Abubakar Audu is said to be the father of modern Kogi due to the many infrastructures he was able to establish in the state such as the state university, hotel and roads. Others are former Minister of Health, Prof. Eyitayo Lambo, as well as pioneer Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission, Prof. Tom Adaba.
Among the institutions of higher learning in the state are the Kogi State University at Ayingba, Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja and Federal College of Education, Okene. There are several private universities in the state as well.
Today, Kogi is celebrating its 30 years of uninterrupted democracy amid bad leadership and mismanagement that have since bedeviled its polity over the years.
Following the emergence of the Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration in 2015, the aspirations and desires of many Kogites is to enjoy the dividends of a better governance as well as livelihood devoid of agony and pains.
Prior to his assumption of office as governor, the state was confronted with several security challenges bordering on kidnapping, cultism, among other internal security hitches.
According to Yahaya Bello, his administration has proven beyond doubt its capacity in tackling the aforementioned security issues in the state by enhancing citizens’ involvement in the fight against insecurity.
“Some of the measures taken by the government to tackle insecurity include clearing of highway bushes, equipping security agencies, engagement of youths in vigilance groups and incorporation of hunters into anti-kidnapping squad,” Bello made this observation at the Annual Lecture/Fellow’s Night 2021 of the Institute of Security and Strategic Studies in Abuja.
Contrary to the above, some are of the opinion that the youth governor is playing politics with the lives of the citizens, claiming Kogites are suffering in silence as a result of some of the under-reported cases of hunger, starvation and neglect confronting the State.
Undoubtedly, Kogi has all it takes to be the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria considering what nature has blessed it with, especially boasting as one of the States with numerous resources (human and non-human). Thus, there is a need for the New Direction government to buckle up its seat belt by putting measures in place to meet the yearnings of the masses.
At 30, Kogi should be best known for its giant strides in terms of infrastructure and human capital development as against what is obtained today. Though the government is doing all it can to make life meaningful for the electorates the best is not enough. Kogites deserve the best.
It’s time for progressive and purposeful leadership. Before then, let’s keep working towards a greater State as Kogi celebrates its three decades of existence.
– Arogbonlo Israel, a Journalist and Good Governance Advocate wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org