What have been the dominant issues as we approach the primary election to pick the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi state? Much as this question would sound abstract, it is trite to note the extrapolation of dominant issues in a domain helps to locate the thinking, perception, and the working of governments of the day.
The main issue that is constantly at the front burner of discussions in the Kogi political arena nowadays is the need for continuity in government because of its advantages to the development of the state.
It is, therefore, unfortunate to note that even before the coming of the current administration in Kogi state, the state has not moved any issue that inspired confidence but has been stuck to mundane and most times negative issues that have cast the state in bad light as a people that are genuinely not ready to change their development narrative and embark on a journey to development in all i’s ramifications.
This is vexatious because our peers all over the country have left us far behind because of our penchant for not doing the needful. While other states are changing their narrative by embarking on smooth transitions from one successful administration by allowing the deputy governor of a successful administration for the sake of continuity in government policies and direction, in Kogi state the issue of zoning and other sentimental considerations in leadership succession are the order of the day.
The collective efforts of our amiable state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, and his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, which for the past eight years have seen Kogi state projected as one of the youth-friendly and developmentally oriented administrations in the country would be gradually eroded if the state deputy governor is not given the right of first refusal by the ruling APC in the state in its choice of candidate for the governorship election in the state later this year.
It is imperative for the leadership of the party in the state to give the state deputy governor, Edward Onoja, the right of first refusal on behalf of the party for the seat of the governor of the state as it is the convention everywhere in the world that the administration of the incumbents are adjudged by the citizens as successful. For example, in Kano state most of the outgoing administrations in that state normally look inward for succession by supporting or giving the right of first refusal to the deputy simply for reasons of continuity in the administration’s programmes, policies and projects and Kogi state must this time around not be an exception.
The state is in need of a push in three major areas which the present Yahaya Bello administration has laid its foundation. Areas such as youth employments, security and enterprise going forward. The large army of Kogi youths are tired of the rhethoric and would want to see their lives continually transformed from their pitiable state before the advent of the Yahaya Bello administration who entrenched a system where the youths are equipped with skills and opportunities that enable them to fend for themselves and become employers of labour, thereby contributing to the economic development of the state through a deliberate policy regime of the present administration.
Going forward, Kogi state will need a man who has been there from the beginning and understands this policy to continue on that path. Make no mistake about this, the man that would signal that continuity is Edward Onoja, the present deputy governor of the state.
This becomes more true because the inability of the various past governments to achieve, realise or work towards this has led to despair and frustrations which have found expressions in so many fronts that are largely youths engaging in political violence, thuggery, armed robbery, cultism and even prostitution.
The state was also in need of a political direction to steer it away from the false narrative of victim hood where leaders do not take responsibility for their failures but shift the blame to the federal government even though there was no basis for this till the Yahaya Bello/Edward Onoja administration came and gave the state a new direction.
The inability of past administrations in the state to pay workers salaries despite the billions of naira they got from the federation account on a monthly basis to make the state work owing to poor implementation of status comes as a point in case in favour of the Yahaya Bello/Edward Onoja administration who changed the narrative by getting workers paid and regularly too.
And again when the state needed to reignite the sparkle that saw many business coming into Kogi state due to the serene and secure environment, the Yahaya Bello/Edward Onoja administration provided the starting points. This is a fact because in the past the state was not home to all and it was difficult seeing people from all parts of the country trooping into Kogi state to do business. This had added to the economic backwardness and enhanced productivity of the teeming youths and patronages for the products coming in from our rural areas.
But the Yahaya Bello/Edward Onoja administration when they came in found a way out and changed the narrative The state should not make the mistake of changing its winning team and as the governor of the state is expected to complete his constitutionally allowed tenure of eight years m maximum, for the sake of continuity, we need to allow the state deputy governor to succeed his boss because as a part and parcel of this successful administration we do not need to allow this chance to be frittered away by the sentiments of the political class who are now whipping up the sentiments of power rotation and zoning of political offices instead of competence and continuity to better the lots of the state and its people.
The reasons for the successes recorded by this present administration of Yahaya Bello/Edward Onoja must not be lost on us. As the duo are cosmopolitan in outlook and have rich backgrounds and experiences in humanity and this should readily come to mind. Our people are very aware that a whole lot has been achieved and there was the need for continuity to get it going.
Little wonder that within a week of the deputy governor’s declaration to contest the next governorship election to succeed his boss, the political climate in Kogi state changed because hitherto the people were standing delicately on unsure foot till it became clear that the deputy governor, Edward Onoja, was indeed in the race for the sake of continuity. This made our people jubilant because the needed successor has been discovered and erected and prayed the governor supports him for this singular reason; competence and continuity.
The people of Kogi state need to forget about our ethnic, religious, zonal and tribal differences by supporting the deputy governor who now has a wide range of experience in the politics and administration of the state under our amiable governor Yahaya Bello’s school of politics and administration of Kogi state by allowing him to succeed his boss.
Their nearness in age, their equilibrium in values and subscription to modern ideas make the pair the most formidable in the history of leadership pairings in the state since the return to democracy in 1999 and we must allow Edward Onoja to continue with the development strides of Yahaya Bello to take the state greater heights.
Adamu writes from Abuja via 08038809806