The Igala Cultural and Development Association, on Sunday, accused the Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, of marginalisation and discrimination against the Igala extraction in the state.
The association alleged that the state government had been discriminating against the Igalas in the civil service.
The national president of the group, Josiah Idechu, who disclosed this to newsmen in Lokoja, the state capital, said despite the optimism with which the people welcomed the Bello-led administration, events of the last few months, showed that the government had not been fair and just to the Eastern part of the state.
He said the people received with caution, the decision of government to send the Head of Service( HoS), permanent secretaries and many top government officials on compulsory leave, despite the controversies generated by the decision.
“The bitter angle to this is that those who eventually fill these vacancies, especially, those hitherto occupied by the Igalas, are incidentally, non Igalas and in most cases, his own Ebira ethnic stock, for a government that lay claim to supernatural influence in his emergence, it amounts to sacrilege to lead unjustly.
“Apart from appointing his tribesmen and women into key, perceived juicy positions, there are abundant of evidence that Igalas are being victimised in the civil service, even when they have done nothing to warrant such”.
But Bello has described the allegations as figment of the imagination of the group, saying he had always delt with the people of the state on equal basis with consideration for ethnicity and other parochial sentiments.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Kingsley Fanwo, he said, “Facts don’t lie. What the governor has done in bridging ethnic mistrust is unprecedented.
“His first three appointments speak to his detribalised nature as a leader and change the perception of many to leadership.
“For the first time in the political history of the state, a Chief of Staff (CoS), was appointed from outside the governor’s ethnic group. This is not only historic, but a clear definition of government direction.
“Out of 15 commissioners, only four came from the governor’s ethnic group, the lowest of the three ethnic groups. What Governor Bello has done is a clear departure from the past.”
“It is, therefore, unthinkable for anyone to accuse him of ethnic bias. He has done what no leader had done before his advent. He had walked the talk of unity and should be applauded by all.