From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Igala Speaking People of Kogi state have cried out that Buhari led administration has neglected the zone in terms of provision of democracy dividends and having share of the national appointments since its inception.
According to a communiqué, the people of Kogi East, being the ninth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria, which makes it the swing bloc in the state, have become second-class citizens in Nigeria because of their peace-loving and non-violent posture.
They therefore feel neglected and marginalized in the scheme of things in the country.
The group accused President Muhammadu Buhari of outright neglect and discrimination against the Igala race of Kogi East since he became president on May 29, 2015.
Claiming that Kogi East voted massively for Buhari in 2015, it lamented that the president did not deem the area qualified for a major ministerial slot except the junior minister portfolio the late James Ocholi occupied despite his enormous contribution.
The communiqué read in part: “It was observed that there is apparent discrimination and near absence of Kogi easterners in national political appointment in this dispensation.
It also alleged that, in many instances, Kogi East slots were traded off on the altar of politics of marginalisation.
The people want the anomaly addressed ahead of the general election, as they observed that people must not take up arms before their plights are addressed.
Arising from its annual meeting at Anyigba, the Uk’Omu Igala, a Social Cultural Organization of the Igala Nation, which issued the communiqué, also condemned the alleged use of money to buy votes by politicians in Kogi state, citing the last by-election that took place in Lokoja/Kotonkarfe as a case in point where vote buying became very glaring.
Signed by the group’s national leader, Maj.-Gen. Patrick Akpa (rtd.), in Lokoja yesterday, the communiqué added: “In poverty-stricken Kogi State, politicians are using worthless cash to buy the people’s votes, as was seen in the by-elections that took place in Lokoja/Koton Karfe.”
According to the council, vote-buying and money politics have turned Nigerians into the biblical Esau who sold his birthright for a plate of porridge.
“It is very dangerous for the people to mortgage their future by accepting money from politicians. Uk’Omu Igala enjoins the political class to campaign on issues and promise only those things they can deliver,” it added.