By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
As the All Progressives Congress, APC, primaries is around the corner, a group, the Lokoja 2 Patriots, has appealed to the leadership of the party to allow Lokoja 2 State Constituency produce the next House of Representatives member.
Lokoja 2 State Constituency, it was learnt has not held any federal legislative position since inception of democracy 24 years ago, hence there is this clarion call by the Lokoja 2 Patriots to give Lokoja 2 the opportunity to produce the next House of Representatives member for Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency.
The Chairman of the group, Hon. David Ilujunka at a well attended press conference, held at the NUJ press centre in Lokoja on Thursday, called on the party to ensure credible primaries and avoid imposition of candidates, saying APC leadership will be unfair to the state constituency if they fail to give it ample chance by zoning the position to the Federal Constituency.
Text of speech delivered at the press conference reads in part:
2023 HOUSE OF REPS SEAT: OUR DEMANDS IN LOKOJA 2 STATE CONSTITUENCY
Our current democratic experience started in 1999 with regards to the above title. We are moved to begin this quest for peaceful agitation and bridge building so that a sense of belonging can prevail in Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency.
We therefore wish to say that our request for the House of Representatives seat is hinged on the need for equality and justice having supported other zones wholeheartedly when it mattered most.
We are constrained by the fact that our people in Lokoja 2 have suffered political neglect, an action that has made us to be onlookers, even when it is obvious that we lay the golden egg, with our rich Natural endowment and voting population.
We therefore make bold to say that the Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency seat have over the years tilted in favour of Lokoja 1 and Kogi [KKF] State constituencies in terms of represention, vis-à-vis Justice and equity which has been thrown over board.
Permit me to State that in 1999 Distinguished, Sen. Tunde Ogbeha, Late Hon. Adamu Osuku represented the Senatorial District and the Federal constituencies respectively at both the Red and Green Chambers
It is also important to say that while the senate involved State constituencies from the seven (7) Local Governments of the Kogi West Senatorial Districts, the House of representative seat only involved the two Local Government of Lokoja and Kogi LGA’s.
For record purposes and to justify our demand for the House of Representatives position in 2003, recall that Sen. Ogbeha did a second term after which the Senate has since returned to take care of the five (5) Okun LGA’s till date.
But unfortunately, the House of representatives seat for Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency when viewed from past represention would show that it has been largely dominated by Lokoja 1.
Late Hon. Musa Osuku took the first shot between 1999 and 2003 followed by the representation of Hon. Musa Ahmadu Kogi KKF (2003 – 2007). Late Hon Arch. Buba Jibril Lokoja 1 (2007 – 2016). Since then it returned to Hon. Barr. Shaba Ibrahim of Kogi KKF state constituency till date.
A cursory look at the statistics above therefore shows that Lokoja 1 and KKF state constituencies have always enjoyed National elective positions. But the people of Lokoja 2 State Constituency, made up of Oworo, Kakanda, Eggan, Kupa North and Kupa South, in the build up to 2023 are however earnestly yearning for an opportunity to have their choice at the House of Representatives in the coming dispensation.
It is important to put on record that the vote of our people constitute fundamentally about 40 – 45% of the total votes during elections that have always come from these two local government since 1999.
It is not an exaggeration to therefore say that the votes so referred to above, constitute strategically the secret of winning any election that relates to the Federal Constituency.
It is also important to emphasise here that the people of the five (5) Ward’s of Lokoja 2 have suffered untold neglect and total lack of any index of development when compared to the entire Federal Constituency.
It is therefore expedient for the people of Lokoja 2 State Constituency to in 2023 be supported and allowed to take a shot at the House of Representative seat as we are very sure of having competent hands who can effectively represent our people.
Furthermore, for any reason, the opportunity for Lokoja 2 to serve would provide the needed hope for the people of our area to address their fundamental infrastructural and developmental needs of the area that is in worst deficit.
Let it be stated categorically, that our people in Lokoja 2 State Constituency no longer have trust or believe in the promises of any aspirant that does not come from the State constituency.
All that the people here have gotten since 1999 are promises upon promises making it a resolve now in Lokoja 2 State constituency to vehemently desire to have the House of Representative seat. It is important to state that our people are counting down days and weeks till 2023 to actualize this laudable desire borne out of the need for equity, justice and fairness.
We the collective people of Lokoja 2 State Constituency are therefore looking up to the good leadership and stakeholders of Lokoja 1 and Kogi (KKF) Federal Constituencies to give their support for the agitation of Lokoja 2 state constituency to represent Lokoja Kogi Federal Constituency.
This is in the interest of justice, equity, and fair spread of representation across our constituencies come 2023 as we say Enough is Enough to the marginalization of Lokoja 2 in the elective Political scheme of Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency.
While appealing to the party leadership and the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello to consider their appeal and give Lokoja 2 State Constituency the privilege, Ilujunka commended party faithful for their support of the APC administration in the state.