Come Saturday, November 11, 2023, 1.6 million registered voters will file out to elect a new governor that will take over the state’s mantle of leadership from the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello whose tenure will lapse on January 27, 2024.
The registered voters will file out to vote at 2,548 polling units spread across 239 wards in 21 local government areas of the state.
They will vote to decide the man that will preside over the affairs of the state with projected population of 4, 486, 800 people scattered over 29, 833km2 land mass called Kogi State.
Kogi State, a strategically located state in the North Central Nigeria is the 13 largest state in Nigeria in term of land mass and the 20th most populous state in the country.
The state created from the old Kwara and Benue State on August 27, 1991 by the military administration of President Ibrahim Babangida is at the very centre of the entity called Nigeria and serve as a link between the Southern Nigeria and Nigeria.
Its capital, Lokoja narrowly lost to Abuja as Nigeria new Federal Capital Territory due lack of enough land and many hills dotting its landscape according former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.
It is a very strategic state to Nigeria in terms of economy, security, unity , agriculture, industry, commerce, mining etc .
Indeed, Kogi State is the future of Nigeria , it holds the ace for the economic and food security, prosperity and unity of Nigeria.
It is in the light of the above that the coming governorship election in Kogi State should be of interest to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religion.
We premised this submissions on EIGHT (8) Major Reasons ;
6. Solid Minerals/Oil
1. History : A major reason why the coming governorship election matters to Nigeria is the historical importance of the state , especially the state capital, Lokoja to emergence of the country called Nigeria.
Nigeria derived its name from confluence of River Niger and River Benue in Lokoja.
Floral Shaw, wife of Lord Fredrick Luggard, Nigeria’s first colonial Governor General was the one that named this country Niger Area which was later modified to become Nigeria.
Floral Shaw was said to have peeped out of the window of the Luggard’s Apartment on Mount Patti , saw the beauty of the meandering River Niger and said ” This Niger Area.’
It was from her statement “This Niger Area” that the name Nigeria was adopted as the official name of Nigeria.
Aside this Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State was the capital of Northern Protectorate for so many years.
With this status , the first primary school, the first hospital, first post office, first bank, first church in Northern Nigeria etc are all located in Lokoja, Kogi State.
Infact, when the Northern and Southern Protectorates were merged in 1914 to form the present entity called Nigeria , Lord Fredrick Luggard was resident in Lokoja.
He later left Lokoja few days later to resume in Lagos , the capital of the newly formed Nigeria to preside over its affairs.
2. Security – Another major reason why coming governorship election matters to Nigeria is security.
As said earlier, Kogi State is right at the centre of Nigeria.
It is the main bridge and link between Northern Nigeria.
The South South, South East and South West connect to the North through Kogi and the North vice versa.
It shares boundary with NINE (9) states ; Benue, Edo, Anambra, Enugu, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Kwara, Ekiti and the Federal Capital Territory.
It is being occupied by no fewer than 14 distinct ethnic tribes.
Any security concern in Kogi will most likely spill over to the nation’s federal capital Territory of Abuja and nine others states in North Central, South South, South East and South West.
The security implication of this for the country is that four out of the six geographical zones in Nigeria wil be affected .
Any security breach in Kogi State will also negatively impacted on the movement of goods and services between the North and South.
In fact any natural disaster like the floods that happens in Kogi State always impacted negatively on Nigeria’s security and economy.
It always become global issue, the 2012 and 2022 flood disaster in the state are clear examples.
3. Agriculture – Another major reason why the coming governorship election in Kogi State should be a matter if concern to Nigerians is the agricultural resources of the state.
As at today, Kogi State is the leading producer of Cashew and cassava , two of the major cash crops attracting forex to Nigeria through exportation to other countries.
The state is also the source of major food crops like rice, yam, beniseed, beans, groundnut, watermelon among others.
Any security breach in the state before, during and after the election will affect food production, food supply, food shortage which will further compound the woes of Nigerians.
4. Economy – Another major reason why coming governorship election should be a matter of concern us that the economic prosperity of Nigeria is tied down here.
Nigeria’s quest for alternative to oil and gas revenues depend largely on Kogi State.
The state is home to 28 out of the 32 solid minerals found to be in large commercial deposits in Nigeria.
Limestone, gold, precious stones like marble, tin among others are all available in commercial deposits in the state.
5 – Power : Power is another major critical reason why the coming election should be a matter of concern to Nigerians.
Kogi State is home to Geregu Power Generating plant supply about 300 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.
The thermal station is the source of power supply to the FCT, five states in the North central.
The state is also hosting one of the three biggest power injection sub-station in the country.
The injection sub-station located in Zango Daji area of Lokoja is a critical electricity infrastructural supply in Nigeria.
Aside this is the availability of the largest coal deposits in the Eastern part of Kogi State.
In fact, the state has the largest coal mines in Nigeria.
Apart from the coal to power plants in the country, coal is also a major forex earner for Nigeria.
The state is also blessed with availability of crude oil deposits.
This has made the state to be one of the oil producing states enjoying 13 per cent derivation since November, 2022.
6. One other important reason why the coming governorship election should be a matter of concern is the critical role of the state to the country’s Build Sector.
This is so because the state is home to the biggest cement plant in Africa , Obajana Cement Plc.
The cement company produces and supplies a greater percent of the cement need of the country’s Build Sector.
It was the cement company that was used to implement the backward integration policy of the Federal Government which eventually made Nigeria to stop importation of cement into the country and make Nigeria to become a net exporter of cement in the world.
The yearning of Nigerians to own houses and government desire to bridge the housing deficit through provision of mass housing schemes also substantially depend on Obajana Cement Plc.
The Obajana Cement Plc is also critical to the job creation efforts of Nigeria as it provides direct and indirect jobs to thousands of Nigeria.
Therefore, any attempt to disrupt the operation of the company will lead to socio-economic crises for the country.