By Sunday Okobi
At its inaugural meeting at the weekend in Abuja, leaders of Kogi Central Senatorial district strongly condemned what they called “wicked and ungodly” economic and political marginalisation of the zone since the creation of the state 21 years ago.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, a spokesman for the forum, Alhaji Salawu O. Mohammed, said 25 leaders from the five local government councils in the district met under the auspices of Kogi Central Peace, Unity and Progress Forum.
He said the leaders resolved that they could no longer tolerate the internal colonialism in the state and vowed to use peaceful means to enthrone equity, fairness and justice in Kogi State.
In a report inaugurated by the forum titled “The Marginalisation of district in Kogi State,” which was unveiled at the meeting, Mohammed said the leaders agreed to work closely to challenge the unjust situation in the state.
The report, according to Mohammed, reveals the following: “Although Kogi East represents only 45 per cent of the 3.3 million of state population in the 2006 national census with Kogi West and Kogi Central accounting for 55 per cent of the population, successive governments from Abubakar Audu through Ibrahim Idris to Idris Wada have always used a sharing formula that varies between 70:30 to 80:20 ratio of state resources and political offices between the East and the remaining two Senatorial districts.”
“Yet, Kogi East contributes the least internally generated revenue of seven per cent compared to 72 per cent from Kogi Central and 21 per cent from Kogi West. As much as 80 per cent of all capital projects go to Kogi East while Kogi West gets 15 per cent and Kogi Central gets a paltry 5 per cent,” he said.
“Of the 28,000-strong state civil service, Kogi East alone has 24,621 as at November 2012 while Kogi West has 6,519 and Kogi Central has 4,069.”
“The Idris Wada administration has been totally unapologetic about sustaining the internal colonialism in the state with political appointments thus far skewed against Kogi West and Central. Of his 19 commissioners, Kogi East has 10, Kogi West has five and Kogi Central has four.
“Wada has also appointed 57 Special Advisers in addition to the commissioners with Kogi East getting 33 while Kogi West has 16 and Kogi Central has eight. Of the governor’s 74 Senior Special Assistants, Kogi East has a whopping 60 while Kogi West has 10 and Kogi Central has four. There are 32 permanent secretaries out of which Kogi East has 24 while Kogi West and Kogi Central have four each. Of the 25 board chairmen recently appointed by the Wada administration, Kogi East has 14 while Kogi West has eight and Kogi Central has three. In addition, there are over 300 board directors with Kogi East getting more than 200 and Kogi West and Kogi Central having less than 100.”
The leaders condemned this gross injustice against Kogi West and Kogi Central and called for equity, fairness and justice in the allocation of resources and in the distribution of political offices in the state and within Kogi Central.
They agreed to publicise the current inhuman and pathetic plight of Kogi Central and get as many stakeholders as possible as well as regional political blocs in the country to assist the zone in its quest for a state where every group is treated fairly and equitably.
They resolved to ensure that the benefits of politics are shared equitably among the constituent groups in Kogi State and among the constituent groups in Kogi Central; the concept of winner takes all should stop.
The leaders identified disunity, greed, selfishness, political and economic marginalization and the lack of community interest as the problems confronting Kogi Central senatorial district. It, therefore, resolved to promote peace and reconciliation among the people of Kogi Central and endeavour to bring on board even those currently being used against the interest of the zone.
They resolved to support the efforts being made in the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution for the rotation of key political offices in the state among the three senatorial zones.
They pledged their support for the efforts being made to revive Ajaokuta Steel Company and National Iron Ore Mining Company in Itakpe to boost local economy and create jobs.
The meeting was attended by former senators, House of Representatives members, commissioners, community leaders and others.