Leaders of the three major tribes in Kogi State: Igala, Egbira and Okun have risen against the rising political violence as the State prepares for the November 11 governorship election.
A communique issued after a meeting in Abuja, of the leaders of the three tribes, repeatedly appealed to political gladiators to ensure peaceful campaigns.
The communique was signed by the President of Ebira People’s Association (EPA), Dr. Godwin Oyibo; the President of Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA ( Alhaji Amodu Abubakar Sadiq and the President of Okun Development Association (ODA),
Barrister Mokikan Femi.
The communique specifically appealed to the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to use his position as chief security officer of the State to ensure the maintenance of peace and peaceful electioneering campaigns.
Full text of the communique is reproduced hereunder:
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF EMERGENCY MEETING OF KOGI COALITION OF UMBRELLA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (KOCUDA) HELD ON 29TH JUNE, 2023 AT THE TOP VIEW HOTELS, ABUJA
We, the leadership of KOCUDA, the umbrella socio cultural and development organizations in Kogi State held an emergency meeting of the body on the 29th day of June, 2023 at Top View hotels Abuja. Present at the meeting are the Presidents of Ebira People’s Association (EPA), Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA) and Okun Development Association (ODA) The meeting was called to review the gradual but very disturbing resurgence of violence in Kogi state ahead of the November 11, 2023 governorship election.
In the course of its proceedings, the meeting among others things, expressed the following concerns in the recent happenings in Kogi State:
1. The disturbing wave of violence and the threat it poses to peace and harmony in Kogi State in the last two months.
2. The forum expressed worry over accusations and counter accusations of intimidations and harassments of individuals, members of political parties and innocent citizens. It was stressed that all citizens of Kogi State, irrespective of their places of residence in the state, reserves the right and should be allowed to participate in the democratic process without fear of any attack.
3. These incipient civil disturbances and infractions as being recorded in the state in recent time portends no small danger to a united Kogi state as it does not only undermines the democratic process, jeopardizes the safety and well-being of citizens, threatens the stability and progress of the state but reverses the gains which the current administration of the state has made in the areas of peace and security of lives and property.
4. Political violence is not known in human history to leave behind any good in its wake. In addition to stalling fundamental principles of democracy, it engenders cycle of fear, intimidation and socio-exclusion.
5. The ensuing chaotic atmosphere ahead of the November 11 2023 governorship election will only stifle open dialogue, free expression, and peaceful resolution of conflicts, all of which are crucial for a thriving democratic society.
In view of the foregoing, the meeting was compelled to make the following calls:
1. All political parties and their leaders in Kogi state should prioritize the cause of peace far and above their personal or political interests in their activities. We enjoin political leaders and their supporters in the state to demonstrate their avowed commitment to peaceful coexistence, respect for human right, mutual understanding, and adherence to the rule of law.
2. We call on the Governor of Kogi state, His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, the Chief Security Officer of the state, to do all within his legitimate powers to arrest the situation so that it does not degenerate further.
3. The relevant security agencies in the state are charged to live up to their responsibilities by ensuring that further infractions and violence are prevented and culprits are dealt with in accordance with the law.
4. Our revered traditional rulers, religious and community leaders are urged to rise to the occasion and assert their respected positions towards a peaceful conduct of the forthcoming November Governorship election.
5. Going forward, we enjoined all component clubs and associations in all parts of Kogi state to replicate these same calls in their various district/regions and places with a view to driving home this message of peace and peaceful co-existence that have hitherto defined life in Kogi State.
The meeting came to a close with a passionate appeal to key stakeholders in Kogi Politics and by extension all Kogites to eschew any act that could endanger the peaceful coexistence of citizens of the state, adding that no one’s political interest is worth more than the peace of our dear state.
Dr. Godwin Oyibo
President, Ebira People’s Association (EPA)
Alhaji Amodu Abubakar Sadiq
President, Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA)
Barrister Mokikan Femi
President, Okun Development Association (ODA)