The long awaited 2019 elections are gradually climaxing. The intrigues surrounding the entire electioneering campaigns, and the electoral process from the polling unit to collation and official declaration of results are indeed mind bugling. As a believer of democracy, rule of law and due process, I herewith made an attempt in writing an opinion article on the plight of the Nasarawa North senatorial district and the cries for producing a governor.
The battle all started with the proposal for the creation of another state from the then Plateau State in the nineties. Several influential individuals close to the former military head of state, Gen Sani Abacha struggled for the recognition of their localities, as they represented diverse interests. When it was finally settled for Nasarawa, with the proposed number of LGAs carved out of the Plateau, Akwanga was collectively believed and widely accepted as the capital of the young state.
Little did we know of the eleventh-hour schism that finally led to the pronouncement of the State with Lafia as its capital. Being in a dreaded military regime, no body dares challenge the C-in-C pronouncements. With high rolling tempers, people from Akwanga Zone (Nasarawa North) accepted their fate with the only consolation of been finally independent of the marginalization by the upper Plateau, as it was often cliché.
The deployment of Wing Commander Abdullahi Ibrahim (Kano State) as the first military administrator of the new state between August 1996 and August 1998, and then subsequently, Col. Bala Mohamed Manda (Zamfara State) from august 1998 to May 1999 ushered in the foundation of leadership acerbity in the state.
With the returned of democracy, the permutations and politicking favored the emergence of Alh. Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) as the first executive governor against Barr Solomon Ewuga (Nasarawa North). On the completion of Alh. Abdullahi Adamu’s 2nd term in 2007, there were calls and agitations for the return of power to Akwanga zone. Several stake holders, parties, religious, tribal and traditional leaders from the zone were part of such moves for the zone to produce the next governor.
Little did we know that the then ‘powers that be’ weren’t interested in relinquishing power to Akwanga zone. Though several sons of the zone including the then deputy governor, Hon Labaran Maku indicated their interest and campaigned for the governorship position. Nevertheless, they were technically and outrightly schemed and kicked out. The late Alh. Aliyu Akwe Doma (Nasarawa South) was finally handed over power in 2007.
The continuous agitations and outcries saw several political bigwigs from Akwanga zone contesting for gubernatorial elections in 2011. Although PDP primaries favored the then incumbent governor, alliance were later made that led to the unprecedented victory of Alh. Umaru Tanko Al’Makura (Nasarawa South) in 2011. He further returned to office in 2015, in spite of the struggle to produce a governor from Nasarawa North.
With 2019 elections at sight, the outcries from Nasarawa North became louder. This saw the 3 major political parties (PDP, APC and APGA) in the state zoning their gubernatorial slots to the zone. This was a very good riddance that finally brought joy and hope to the indigenous people of the zone.
Religion itself cannot be rule out from our political space. For record purpose, Nasarawa North is the Christian domineering part of Nasarawa State. But from the military era till now all the military administrators that served and executive governors voted into office were all Muslims. As such, the agitation for an indigenous governor emanating from Nasarawa North is an agitation for the emergence of a Christian governor in Nasarawa State. Of a truth, our zone is the eye of the Church in Nasarawa State. “….. if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil; thy whole body shall be full of darkness….” (Matthew 6:22-23).
As closed as we’d have gotten the gubernatorial seat in previous years, the more disjointed and disunited we became in actualizing our dream. The permutations within the zone for equal distribution of political positions (gov, senate and reps) across the 3 LGAs that constitute the zone is often an equation that never get solved in every election. That apart, there are always ‘Judases’ and ‘Esaus’ that for the sake of money and morsel of porridge will always betray their Master and willingly give out their birth right.
The position of the deputy governor has been used right from 1999 as a bid to subtly deceive, cajole and compel us into yielding as ‘useful idiots’. Furthermore, those deputy governors from the zone were never handed power to nor helped into the realization of the collective zonal inclination.
Who has bewitched us that we can’t get our acts together and collectively share the 3 electoral positions in order to achieve our collective dream? In every election, betrayal, subtility, greed, lies, deceits, and envy deprive us of our progress. Why do we always show sentiments and insincerity and acrimony in every election? We’re so disjointed along our tribes. And even within our tribes, we’re further disunited along our clans, and still within our clans we’re often in disarray along our families and lineages.
Permit me to also state that, the Church in Nasarawa State has suffered unsavory backwardness, pain, denial and agony in the past years because of our mendacity. Indeed, the gates of hell has this long seemed to have ‘prevailed’ against us because we refused to stand up and do the needful. Nasarawa North has brought unprecedented hardship on the entire Christian fold in Nasarawa State.
Who is afraid to hand over power to Nasarawa North? Who is afraid to hand over power to a Christian? Does being a Christian deprive us of justice, fair-play and social equality? If other zones and the other faith had their turn, it is now time for our zone and our faith.
Nevertheless, with the outcome of the just concluded national assembly elections, the zone has been further mesmerized and thrown into much confusion as whether to pick the APC Muslim candidate from Akwanga LGA seeing that the other 2 LGAs had their share of the senate and reps. Or to go for one of the duo Christian candidates from Nasarawa Eggon LGA which will further be acrimonious, ruling out Akwanga LGA in fair power share. If we go for the former, the Church loses, although we’d have achieved the goal of fair share of offices. Agreeing with the later means exalting the Church and bringing its yearning to pass at the detriment of fair power share in the zone.
Be it as it may, we can still sit and further deliberate on this whole unending puzzle with much love, understanding and mutual respect for our ethnicities, having the big picture in mind. For all hope is not yet lost!
Let’s arise and go in this our might!
God bless Nasarawa Sate.
God bless Nigeria.
*** Reuben Rine wrote via email@example.com