That the word “marginalisation” has continued to be prominent in the political lexicon of Kogi State before the 2015 general elections remains an incontrovertible statement of the fact. To also say that the impact of the menace has continued to be felt mostly by the Okun people despite the claim of a new direction in state governance by the present Bello-led administration where there has been absence of equitable distribution of political appointments so far rolled out by his government is also obvious. A close scrutiny of the political appointments so far made at Kogi State level and at the federal level under the present political dispensation will make political pundits to wonder if Okun people are part of the state and Nigeria, going by the glaring lopsided appointments skewed to shut them out of relevance in the scheme of things at the two levels of governance.
Under the change mantra and the existence of the Federal Character Commission it is expected that the marginalisation of Okun people at the federal level should have become a thing of the past but this is not to be. Rather, the marginalisation has continued to be tightened around the neck of the people in the Kogi West Senatorial District. Going down memory lane, it remains glaring that all political appointments so far made by the federal government as far as Kogi State is concerned, came from two out of three senatorial states in Kogi State namely, Kogi Central and Kogi East, leaving out West Senatorial District, where the Okun people with five out of the seven local government areas reside. Such appointments include both career and non-career ambassadors, chairmen of boards of federal government parastatals, ministerial, just to mention a few.
The recently announced appointments of executives of some government agencies and parastatals by the Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Mr. Femi Adeshina and published in almost all the dailies on Saturday, April 1, 2017 has no doubt led credence to the cry of marginalisation of the Okun people at the federal level. It is hoped that the Kogi State governor and our God-fearing President Muhammadu Buhari will, in the spirit of equity and justice under the change mantra and federal character, consider Okun people for political appointments both at state and at the federal levels as is presently being done for the other two main ethnic groups in the state – Ebiras and Igallas.
It is no gainsaying the fact that Okun people who once stood out as the engine room of the defunct Northern region under the regional system of government in Nigeria are now being sidelined in spite of the their past contributions to the development of the defunct Northern region and the country as a whole in various fields of human endeavours.