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Kogi At 30: Time For Sober Reflections

Kogi At 30: Time For Sober Reflections

By Dr Safiya Musa


Exactly 30 years ago today, the Military Government of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd) created Kogi State along with seven other states of the country as a policy decision aimed at bringing government closer to the people at the grassroots. The central focus of the policy was the need to address the yearnings of the people who continued to demand administrative structure that could not only address the challenges of development facing them but that of fear of oppression and marginalisation of the minorities.

To this end, the vision of the founding fathers who thought of bringing Igala speaking people from Benue State and merge them with their Ebira and Okun speaking people from the old Kwara state could not be faulted, but be said to be a strategic calculation aimed at returning the three ethnic groups who had earlier lived together under Kabba province for enhanced understanding, cooperation and development.

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But alas, as it’s in Nigeria where ethnicity and religion continue to define our national loyalty, the three culturally homogeneous ethnic groups could not hide their primordial differences to build a cohesively unique state defined by the spirits of oneness, cooperation and development. What we have rather seen quite, unfortunately, are sustained bitterness, ethnic rivalry and internal squabbles that have stunted the development focus of the young state.

Thus, instead of the people burying their differences and pursuing goals that could unite the people, the differences became much more pronounced by those that hold the levers of power in the state with undue interference from outside. Consequently, rather than the citizenry coming together to set development agenda for those holding political positions at the various levels on behalf of the people, they recourse to ethnic consciousness that has beclouded their senses of reasoning

It would be recalled that the old Kabba province under which the three ethnic groups had operated during the colonial and post-independent administration, was known for its massive embrace of Western education with every family showcasing its heights in educational attainment. But with recourse to primordial sentiment fuelled by competition for ethnic supremacy, the use to which the education could have been put for the benefits of the people was reduced to a secondary place, while the majority of the people continue to wallow in abject poverty, underdevelopment and misery.

All these negativities have no place in a state like Kogi with its enormous human and material resources and blessed with all sorts of mineral resources. We must, therefore, put a halt to the drift and face the task of reviving ourselves and pushing more development.

Humanity is one, and despite the artificial creations by some political actors to promote their political interests at the expense of the desired unity and development, the people must be wise enough to recognise that hunger and disease don’t discriminate against one’s ethnicity and religion. It’s either one who has enough food and water at his disposal to eat and drink with the family or remain in abject poverty, disease and want.

As Kogites, we must, all in the spirit of the 30th anniversary of the creation of the state come together to recognise the challenges of development facing the state and for us to rediscover the principles that bind us together instead of engaging in petty practices that deny us of the desired unity and sense of oneness. That’s the only way we can weather the storms and tackle the huge burden of poverty, underdevelopment and want to hang on all of us.

I do not doubt that with the lessons that the last 30 years have taught us, all citizens of the state would come together to demand what is best for us and play down on the ethnic and religious differences that have conspired to create the artificial differences that continuously divide and undermine our march towards true development.

Congratulations to all kogites on this occasion of the 30th-anniversary celebration of the creation of the state. May this celebration mark a new beginning in our desire for positive change in our lands. Ameen.

– Dr Safiya Stephanie Musa (Gimbiyan Talban Bauchi) is the Founder & Chief Executive of EduShine Educational Support Foundation and an indigene of Kogi state.

Kogi At 30: Time For Sober Reflections


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