Your Excellency Governor,
Your Excellency Speaker of Kogi Assembly,
Honourable Members of Kogi Assembly.
I wish to start this letter by quickly sliding back the memory lane. In 2015, leaders of Kogi West and Central Coalition for Justice, Equity and Fair Play, took the agitation for power rotation to the Presidency and the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
A nine-man delegation from the West and Central senatorial zones of the state paid a visit to the national headquarters of the party to press for the actualization of power shift aspiration on the platform of the APC.
The delegation, led by former Commander, Brigade of Guards, Aso Rock Villa, General Julius Oshanupin and a former don at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Professor Yusuf Aliu, was armed with a four-page document titled:
“Request for APC to Recognise the Right of the People of Central and West of Kogi State to Produce the Candidate in the 2015 Gubernatorial Election”. The letter, was addressed to President Mohammadu Buhari and the then party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
In the letter, the delegation advocated the immediate redress of the continuing marginalisation of both zones in the socio-politics of the state by ensuring that power shifts from Kogi East to either West or Central.
I remember vividly also, that the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu was visited by same strong elements of Okun and Ebira extraction to make a case for a soft landing for a candidate from either West or Central in the then APC primary.
Your Excellency/ Honourable Members, none in political office in this state today will pretend not to remember that one of the basis for the massive support, for APC during the 2015 gubernatorial election was the promise by Late Prince Audu Abubakar to institutionalise rotation of political offices in the state.
People like us, for that reason, played anti-party for the first time, jilting our traditional party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to support Prince Audu in APC.
At the same time, the then sitting governor, Capt Idris Wada equally penned down a promise that, his PDP government will, in its second term, establish a pattern of rotation. But we chose not to look at his side because of a feeling that APC, with its radical posture in the Western States, would carry deeper passion for our agitation.
Meanwhile, while we were waiting and hoping that either of the two candidates will at least make good the vow made, God appeared to be in a greater hurry to get this done.
He threw his divine spanner into Kogi State, for political re-engineering, leaving an Okun man, Honourable Abiodun Faleke and an Ebira, Alhaji Yahaya Bello in the circus.
What this naturally means was that, God gave us an open cheque towards fulfilling our heart desires.
Your Excellency sir, today, the knife is in your hands to do the needful. This great opportunity to set a new political order for Kogi State is in your hand. If you blow it, posterity will record it as the greatest minus of your administration.
Truly, as I have heard His Excellency say, times without number, ‘power belongs to God, and he gives it to whoever he wishes’; I preach same to the congregation in our church. This same God, is a God of order who is interested in a new political order that will engender political peace and reduce acrimony to the barest minimum in Kogi State.
Your Excellency, lots of lives were lost during last election.These colossal losses was avoidable if a rotational pattern was in place. I remember writing an open letter like this to you, in the first few months of the first term of your administration, stressing the need for a round-table conference of stakeholders, to jaw-jaw on the all-important issue of a formidable pattern of rotation.
Sir, I am unrepentant in the belief that, God put you in that exalted office to work things out. If nothing is done during your time, your administration may have failed God who has been so gracious to you.
In my open letter to you about four years ago, I stressed that, getting a second term will almost be automatic if you can approve the convocation of a congress of stakeholders in the state, to successfully work out a rotation pattern. Today the state is licking its wounds for the innunerable loss of lives, that would have been avoided during last election if the state had acted fast.
Your Excellency, let me conclude by confirming to you that, you can still brace yourself up to this great challenge of hanging your name on a golden rack. Remember, you are the Chief Accounting Officer of the state. (Not any other person).
What To Do:
1) His Excellency should send a bill to the State’s Assembly to approve the convocation of a conference of stake holders to deliberate and come out with an agreed pattern of rotation which shall become a convention in our political context across parties.
2) Delegates should include but not limited to the following:
i) Chairmen and Secretaries of all political parties in the state.
ii) Major traditional rulers, evenly drawn from the three senatorial districts of the state. three per Local Government
iii) All members of the State’s Assembly.
iv) Major religious leaders evenly drawn across the senatorial districts and across religions.
v) Representatives of notable unions and associations
vi) Selected government appointee
vii) Media representatives.
viii) Any other as the governor and the State’s Assembly may consider necessary.
I sincerely hope and pray that the content of this open letter, will be favourably considered.
– Stanley Ajileye , a Journalist based in Kogi State, is a Pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God.