The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Kogi State governorship election, Abubakar Audu, has pledged his commitment to a power rotation deal among the major ethnic groups of Igala, Ebira and Okun in the state.
Mr. Audu made the pledge, Monday, in a statement through his Media Office.
The issues of power rotation and infrastructural development have dominated the narrative of Kogi State governorship election, scheduled for November 21.
Kogi East, dominated by the Igala tribe, produced former Governors Abubakar Audu, Idris Ibrahim and the incumbent, Idris Wada, since the creation of Kogi State in 1991.
“While it is an impeccable fact that the enduring infrastructures in Kogi State were products of Prince Abubakar’s stewardship, confirming the hope of sustainable development in Kogi State hangs on his return as the governor of the state.
“It is also sacred truth that Abubakar is the only Igala man that can boldly and explicitly ensure the position of governor of Kogi State go to the remaining groups, that is, Okun and Ebira,” said the statement.
Mr. Audu explained how the leaders of Igala, Okun and Ebira reached power rotation deal in 1991.
According to him, the challenges of political domination and marginalisation of the Igalas in former Benue State and Okuns and Ebiras in former Kwara State led to intense agitation for the creation of Kogi State for the three groups who had lived together peacefully under Kabba province for more than 70 years.
“So I have told all Kogites that when we mutually met at one Engineer Sule’s house in Okene, in 1991, the three groups –Igalas, Ebiras and Okuns – said to themselves that they believe in power rotation,” the statement quoted Mr. Audu as saying.
“When God in his infinite mercy spoke to the former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, to create Kogi State, it was only fair to allow Igala to have the first shot. The reason adduced by late Chief Awoniyi was that the component that came from Benue State, that is, Igala, had never had the opportunity to produce the governor but the second component from Kwara State comprising Ebira and Okun had the opportunity in the late Adamu Attah who was a Second Republic governor of Kwara State.
“On that premise, it was agreed it should be given to Igala. Further, after Igalas, it was agreed that the governorship seat should return to the second component – Okun and Ebira – which should meet to determine the first to have the seat after Igala.
“I am the first beneficiary of the agreement and thank God I am still living hale and hearty because most of us who reached the deal in good faith on behalf of our people are now late. When we returned to democracy in 1999, I was uncompromising and firm in my intention to implement the 1991 agreement but I was blatantly rigged out. And that, of course, stultified development of the state in all facets.
“I have stood in the middle of Idah and Anyigba to tell Igalas that since we are brothers who had lived under the Kabba province, we must make sure we make our gentleman agreement reality so that we can have lasting peace and confidence in one another. I don’t lie or deceive people. I am the only person with moral compass and masses’ confidence that can do that,” it said.
He, however, maintained that violence should not be a means of power shift in state.
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