A group under the aegis of Kogi Coalition of Umbrella Development Association (KOCUDA) has called on political gladiators in the state to desist from using the ethnic slogan for electioneering campaign, saying such act is capable of creating sentiments that would tear the state apart.
The group at a press conference in Lokoja on Monday which was jointly organised by the National Presidents of Ebira People’s Association (EPA) Dr Adeiza Abdulrahman, Igala Cultural and Development Associations (ICDA) Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq and Okun Development Association (ODA) Barrister Femi Mokikan, the group lamented that politics that ought to have united the people and pave room for development has succeeded in dividing them as a result of primordial ethnic sentiment.
The National President of ODA Barrister Femi Mokikan who address newsmen on behalf of others , said one of the objectives of the coalition was to build bridges across the geographical divides of the state using the instrumentality of the development association to address the existing ethnic polarisation and animosities that have always bedevilled the state at every turn of elections.
“It is instructive for all leaders of thought to start thinking of the future of Kogi state. Ethnic nationalism and mediocrity have become the Siamese blind to our development and peace. Coming together, therefore, is an attempt to redirect our focus on development” he noted.
“To achieve KOCUDA objective, we will explore opportunities in several areas that will continuously keep the various peoples of the state engaged with each other. One of such that we have identified is to organised an annual peace and unity summit, drawing participants from across the state to dialogue on issues that will promote peace and unity in the state.
“Other areas we will also look at are inter-school competition in academics and sport including debates, quiz and cultural exchange” Barrister Mokikan noted.
While expressing optimism that with cooperation, understanding and support of all, the objectives of the coalition would be realised, the ODA President declared that KOCUDA would complement the efforts of the state government and other bodies in the state is consolidating on the gains so far recorded in promoting peace, unity and understanding across the state.
“This becomes more imperative if we bear in mind that these association; EPA, ICDA and ODA truly represent the aggregate interests and aspirations of their people” he concluded.