“Awa Lo Kan” in Kogi: Journalist Analyses How 3 Major Tribes are Fighting for Governorship Seat

“Awa Lo Kan” in Kogi: Journalist Analyses How 3 Major Tribes are Fighting for Governorship Seat

  • Journalist Arogbonlo Israel analyses the tribal dynamics in the lead-up to the Kogi State governorship election on November 11
  • Three major tribes - Okun, Ebira, and Igala - vie for leadership, emphasising ethnic sentiments
  • Israel urges voters to prioritise merit for inclusive governance, highlighting the need for a leader transcending tribal biases in resource-rich Kogi, historically challenged by leadership issues

Legit.ng journalist Adekunle Dada has over 5-year-experience covering metro and government policy

Kogi state, Lokoja - Ahead of the Saturday, November 11 governorship election in Kogi state, Arogbonlo Israel, a journalist and peace advocate, has analysed the political dynamics even as he emphasised the urgency for citizens to choose a leader based on merit, heralding a new era of inclusive governance.

Israel noted that in the run-up to the highly anticipated Kogi guber election, the spotlight is on the 'awa lo kan' syndrome - a tribal sentiment shaping the political landscape. Despite being rich in resources, Kogi grapples with persistent challenges, primarily attributed to leadership issues.

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3 major tribes fighting for Kogi governorship seat
Kogi election: 3 major tribes fighting for governorship seat Photo Credit: Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo/Murtala Yakubu Ajaka/Dino Melaye
Source: Facebook

Read his analysis below:

Kogi 2023 and the 'awa lo kan' syndrome

Kogi, well known for its consciousness-raising, is a state that prides itself as the centre of attraction as far as Nigeria's politics is concerned today. Bordered by 10 states, Kogi boasts as the heartbeat of the nation in terms of its regional interconnectedness to the nook and cranny of the federation.

But the question remains, why is Kogi still struggling today despite the resources nature blessed it with? The answer is simple - leadership.

Since its creation in 1991, Kogi has weathered the storm and debated among the league of most corrupt states in Nigeria with a 48% ranking, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) - this the APC-led government in the state blamed on previous administrations.

The blame game is not alien to Nigeria's political space as oftentimes politicians see it as the easiest route out of accountability, thereby sheering away from its responsibility.

Read also

APC, PDP, SDP: Analyst reveals how winner will emerge in Kogi on Saturday

With a few hours remaining to another landmark election in the state, the Kogites will be all out on Saturday, November 11, to decide who becomes their leader for the next four years - a decision that can either make or mar the destiny of the state.

Going by the recent developments, the election is a three-horse race between political giants from the three geopolitical zones in the state. The three leading candidates include:

  • Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - Okun
  • Usman Ododo of All Progressives Congress (APC) - Ebira
  • Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) - Igala

These three candidates by mathematical arrangement have divided the electorates along ethnic sentiments, which will also determine how the pendulum may swing on D-day.

Kogi 2023 governorship election: Okun Agenda

Just like the 'Yoruba lo kan' mantra that shaped the conversation during the buildup to the 2023 presidential election, the people of Okun (Kogi West) strongly believe it is the turn of the region to produce a governor going by the zoning formula in the state.

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Since 1999, the Okuns have been marginalised in terms of leadership in the state no thanks to the 'pull-me-down' syndrome by some of the political elites in the region who allow party interest to override the call for Okun to be in power. This, of course, will shape the decision of electorates on Saturday.

Kogi 2023 governorship election: Ebira agenda

Like their Okun counterparts, the Ebiras are also not exempted from exhibiting tribal sentiment with many hiding under "continuity and consolidation" to sell a candidate that some political critics consider as "unpopular" going by his antecedents.

Ododo (the flower boy) as fondly called is riding on the popularity of the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello who has been campaigning for him rigorously amid a series of banters from the opposition.

Will the Ebira Agenda play a key role in determining how the Ebiras vote? This question remains unanswered until after the poll.

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Kogi 2023 governorship election: Igala Agenda

Igala Agenda is another mantra that has crept its way into Kogi politics in recent times following the emergence of Muri as SDP standard-bearer. It is not a mismatch to see the overwhelming support the candidate has garnered over time in the region.

Despite ruling the state for 16 years, Igalas believed power should return to the region after eight years of Yahaya Bello's New Direction administration.

The November 11 poll will decide if this comes true or remains an illusion.

Kogi 2023 governorship election: Who should win?

What Kogi needs right now is not a tribal bigot but a leader who represents all irrespective of ethnic leanings or religious affiliation.

The ball lies in the court of the electorate and as a matter of necessity should do the needful by voting wisely come Saturday. It is worth noting that the lives of the electorate are also protected before, during and after the poll. Violence is not an option and should not be given credence.

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Kogi guber election 2023: List of 18 parties and candidates

Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cleared 18 candidates for the November 11 gubernatorial election in Kogi state.

The candidates are jostling to take over from the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello in January 2024.

The top contenders are the APC candidate, Usman Ahmed Ododo, SDP's Yakubu Muritala and Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP.

Kogi Guber election: Facts about SDP candidate, Murtala Ajaka

SDP governorship candidate, Ajaka is a household name in the political sphere in Kogi state.

The 45-year-old has held various political positions in the past and has shown the capacity to lead not only in politics but also in business.

Source: Legit.ng

Adekunle Dada avatar

Adekunle Dada (Politics and Current Affairs Editor) Adekunle Dada is a journalist with over 5 years of working experience in the media. He has worked with PM News, The Sun and Within Nigeria before joining Legit.ng as a Politics/Current Affairs Editor. He holds a B.Sc. in Mass Communication from Lagos State University (LASU). He can be reached via adekunle.dada@corp.legit.ng.

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