Aside buying a political primary ticket, one of the greatest factor for winning acceptability for elections in Kogi State before now would be that you’d have to be a Muslim. It is similar to how some Kogi girls don’t care about the grammar you speak. You just have to wear your mallam shirt, keep a long beard and pray five times a day. It was the currency for marriages. A currency for political marriages in Kogi State.
This was how the elites used religion to divide our polity to disenfranchise some people who belong to diverse religious beliefs from having psychological freedom to participate in Governance. From the House of Assembly to Governorship and all the “core and sensitive” political spaces were reserved for a particular faith. The gimmick was for the election card. At some point in the state, it was regaled that Muslims outnumbered Christians, naturally, politicians would use this card even though it isn’t true. The social filament of our state was also divided across religious lines. Christians couldn’t marry Muslims because of the religious acrimony backed by the social litmus of political-behavioural constitution.
We had a vacuum in peace. Political peace. We also had a vacuum in security.
Enters Governor Yahaya Bello. Divinely. Breaking bottom line.
He comes in his right hand bearing reforms. In his cabinet, you can smell it widely that elements of religion is non-existent. Religious hegemonists were ALL retired. Check his appointment, a balanced mix of Christians, Muslims, African traditional religious adherents and free minded individuals. It was an all encompassing breakthrough that Kogi State has never witnessed before. Their philosophy is matching in actions. Anybody can even begin to have ambitions of aspiring for elective offices without considering their religious affiliations as a draw back. As it stands now, nobody even cares if you’re a Muslim or Christian. Nigerians and Kogites now understand that religion is a personal affair that guarantee nothing. Politicians as we know belong to different religious groups but are United in corruption- raping of the collective patrimony of the masses.
The security we are recording in the state is linked to the bottom line reforms that are ongoing. Without religious peace, we cannot achieve social cohabitation amongst our people. There’s a structural governance instrument that has been set in motion to make this happen. It is happening. We don’t care if you’re a Muslim or Christian, they’ve all belonged to offices and left with our hopes- broken.
Let me tell you something. The current folks in Lugard House aren’t the sweetest things after KSU’s Ocheja Hostel Okpa, but they’re something Kogi State has never had. Arrest your thoughts of “he doesn’t pay salaries yet”. Listen to other things you’re missing.
Their reforms cuts across social and psychological bottom lines. Truth sayers and knowers in Kogi State know that religion has always divided us at the political front before now.
The Chief of Staff to Kogi State Government, Mr. Edward Onoja is a Christian. He would mobilise his friends and other philanthropists to build a “central” Mosque is one of the elite settlements of of Olamaboro Local Government area, Okpo. It was finished in an infrastructural masterpiece of Cosmopolitan scent. The Mosque isn’t like one of those mushrooms politicians build to plant their “names” in communities they don’t plant their “legacies”. It is fully rugged. On the side, there’s a Mikano commercial size power Generating Set to power the Mosque. On the launching, which is likely 24th of November, he is bringing both Christians and Muslims, including Former Governorship aspirant, Dr. Jibrin Echocho to open it to use.
Two things achieved:
1. Philosophical War against religious bigotism in Government appointments and operationalisation
2. Walking the talk to entrench the sublime message
Conclusively, everything crumbled in 2015. Kogi crashed and we are emerging. I know we are quick to remember our challenges which has always been with us, but we are having a new Kogi State. We have a state which is coming out of the chains of the old currency of doing things.
Peace and security is sacrosanct to a unified Kogi State. We have it now.
Open your mind. Close your hate. You’ll see it.