By Achile M Umameh
Once in every decade, someone of princely bearing comes along among the Igala to light the way for the people, challenging the falsehoods, misrepresentations, tired and faulty narratives of our leaders in recent past as pre-condition for changing the present and the future.
In spite of the dent in the armour of late Prince Abubakar Audu’s personality, he was a goal getter, a pace-setter, an achiever and passionately focused on the Igala cause. With his death the last chapter of that resilient class of Igala nation builders is finally closed.
Who will not be filled with nostalgia remembering the likes of Chief Stephen Achema, Chief Ura Ajibili, Chief Andrew Abogede to mention a few. These were patriots whose legacies and passion are unmatched. Their death send us anew some celestial cues to go back to the drawing board as a people and re-invent a system of Igala political leadership that can deliver.
The ongoing needless dance of discontents and whining among the Igala is misplaced, misdirected and misspent. Whatever are the political calculations and legal permutations one of these eventualities await us: Bello/Faleke, Faleke/Audu Jnr., Wada/Awoniyi and perhaps a fresh election.
This is our moment as a people, for an honest self-assessment and examination. Has the Igala political leadership of Kogi state failed? Have we woken up to the consequences of accepting for too long a mediocre leadership at all levels? Or have we assessed the harm of the sickly sentimental and political schism among the Ankpa, Dekina and Idah cults of politicians?
We cannot win with burning tyres on Itobe/Ajaokuta road and needless whining what we failed to win in holding our Igala leaders accountable for.
The Igala are not alien to great, decisive and productive leadership. In constituting the Igala nation, Ayegba Idoko showed decisive leadership; during the Mahionu wars Amanabo Ogili displayed sagacious leadership; in Ameh Oboni leadership became selfless and sacrificial. We are the privileged heirs of the legacies of these enviable leaders.
We must latch onto these sacred histories of our inherited destinies and lead.
Let not our most optimistic impulse underestimate the size of the legal and political challenges before us as a people. We should not be at war with the Ebira, Okene or Bassa candidature, we should be at war with ourselves, our Igala leaders and our romance with mediocrity.
We should be at war with our intentional and collective amnesia in returning again and again leaders that are failing us. We should be at war with the grand illusion of an Igala state: It is Kogi State!
The Igala political elites are fast becoming spent forces, coughing up a tender-footed and inexperienced Mohammed Audu was a classic example of naivety and impotency of that elite class.
This is the time to free ourselves from the vicious circle of self-defeating alternatives. This is the time to go back to the drawing board and re-invent a trustworthy Igala leadership. This is the time to pass on the baton to the next generation of leaders. This is no time for needless agonising over squandered opportunities.
This is the time to be magnanimous and let whoever emerges from the APC block govern,- maybe fulfil late Audu’s prophecy of rotating power- perhaps we may have one or two things to learn from this interregnum.
The Igala political leadership maybe broke, but we are not broken as a people. Let us wield more intelligently the weapon of our numbers; the defiance of our history and become a force for good in Kogi state.