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OPINION: The Confusion Engulfing  the Confluence State

By Prof R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

We don’t think that Kogi State, in the confluence of Rivers Niger and Benue, will require any further introduction to most people who went through primary education in Nigeria.  Similarly Prince Abubakar Audu’s sudden  death on Sunday November 21, 2015, a day to when his gubernatorial election result was to be announced, was also not the beginning of the confusion, but only part of its characteristics. Kogi state is where confusion has always gripped its citizens on every turn of political events, caused not by the beautiful natural environment but more by the actions and utterances of its unschooled politicians. Even now solutions to curbing such unfortunately, unimaginable, unexpected, unprintable utterances outpouring from comedians in training, posing as representing the confused confluence state are not insight. One can only warn and remind them that over beating their leather drum has limitations and sad ending, especially on themselves and their children, as the state can’t be killed.

One thing favourably ongoing for Kogi State is that the state has a very long history of fame and popularity beyond the noisemakers in the national assembly or those occupying the Lord Lugard House. Its fame is inevitable on account of its being the  confluence state, the first Headquarters of Nigeria, the only state that is home to the merger of the two longest rivers in Nigeria, a state with the most economic minerals in Nigeria, a home for Dangote’s new empire, etc. The confluence is a product of nature rather than a product of its unqualified politicians or unorganised elites, or its self serving traditional leaders. The state is a home for many ethnic minorities in Nigeria and consists of nearly every other segments of the nation. It is a small Nigeria yearning for leadership and development.

In the past few days, the confusion in the state has got a further dimension as the state may be on record once again as the first to have a Senator Recall Card. The red card is being printed for Dino Melaye representing Kogi western Senatorial District. Enough signatures to do the recall of Senator Dino Melaye  (also formerly known as Daniel Olugbenga Melaye, or Daniel Jonah Melaye, or etc) had allegedly arrived INEC and acknowledged. This is also part of the historic events in the state; a state getting popular for the wrong reasons because of a gross leadership vacuum.

We note that Nigerian politicians deliberate put more faith in the legal structure they can easily influence rather than the electorates that are supposed to elect and could recall  them. The lawyers themselves are too often seemingly looking for ways to earn more money instead of perfecting  the Nigerian legal system for our common development. So, whilst INEC claimed to have received a mail from the electorates in Kogi western Senatorial District the electoral body is equally aware that a new legal battle has been drawn between its organisation and the upper body of the national assembly. In this unfortunate scenario I pray we allow the process to play the entire record and listeners shouldn’t fast forward; let the Senator concerned be recalled and he fights back from outside. You can’t Saraki the system everyday but to allow the law takes its course as necessary.

What exactly is happening in  the always increasing confusion engulfing Kogi State?  What is peculiar about Kogi State? Rather who are  (or is) in charge in Kogi State? Kogi State will soon have a new definition where leadership vacuum makes possible the happening of every bad thing. Kidnapping, armed robbery, yahoo yahoo boys,  cultists   becoming people representatives, all public schools perpetually on strike the year round, continuous screening of alleged ghost workers as a pretext not to pay salaries, these are prevailing common features that describe the state. Once upon a time the Igala group assumed the invisibility status but today it is an Ebira man and we doubt his widespread support. Advocating for a collective leadership that would ensure maximum  mutual development has no place in the book of self serving individuals parading selves as representing the confused confluence state. They can’t survive in a climate of merit, order and normal decorum. This is why they drag the rich state to the mud alongside.

It is true that we have a governor that emerged by supplementary axis of the constitution and  it is also true that the western Senatorial District has Dino Melaye, who for whatever reasons, has issues with the said governor in addition to  his own personal issues. These interrelated issues have not  reduced the problems of underdevelopment, large scale unemployment of the youths, unpaid salaries and pensions, broken down infrastructure, lack of potable water even in Lokoja that is surrounded by water,.and so on. Our focus and objectives shall strictly remain on “resource and human management in the state”,  for the optimal benefits of majority of the citizens through effective democratic principles and practices. In the wisdom of Nigeria constitution Senator recall is an option, as impeachment of governors and others are available quality assurance procedures. The process must be allowed to arise from the constituency as results of failures on the part of their respective representatives rather than bad blood between contending interest groups. In particular in circumstances of this nature concerned senators should not have waited until INEC notifies them that they are  unwanted by the constituencies. We expect senators to give maximum respect to electorates and the development of their constituencies rather than bragging and bluffing. As it appears, it is only in Nigeria that politicians would prefer to use assassination attempts, nonexistence of certificates and tax records, false asset declaration, raising insurgency and regional agitation as main political weapons to fan popularity in the place of policies and principles.




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