Kola Ologbondiyan, the Special adviser on media to former Senate President David Mark, has revealed how the peace reconciliation committee headed by Oladele Nihi mediated and brought the long anticipated peace between the warring members of Kogi House of Assembly.
It is no news that the crisis had started since February 2016, dividing members of the state legislature by breaking into G5 and G10, an funny development which the small number led by factional speaker Umar Ahmed Imam sacking their more populated rivals then serving speaker, Momoh Jimoh Lawal.
But latest turn of events witnessed seem to be bringing an end to the long standing imbroglio with both factions reconciled.
“Since the news of reconciliation among the members of the Kogi State House of Assembly (KGHA) and Governor Yahaya Bello (GYB) was broken, there had been a flurry of reactions,” Ologbondiyan began.
Some of the reactions were genuine and others very derisive. I also observed that some chose their stand out of genuine love for the state, others are not happy that their names were not listed among those that facilitated the return of peace to Kogi state.
“I will attempt a synopsis of how we took Kogi to the land of peace without fuss. Oladele Nihi, the ebullient young man with a body, had called to inform me that he was setting up a new group and would need my participation. I obliged him. Later that day, a group by name Kogi Parliamentarian popped up on my fone.
“My immediate response was if this was about KGHA, we do not need a new platform. I contended that there was nothing left to be said on the KGHA imbroglio.
“I however discovered that members of KGHA were being added to the platform and I saw that GYB had been added. I felt since I had consistently argued that GYB held the key to solving the KGHA jigsaw, I needed to be patient with the group to hear him.
“Expectedly, GYB was not forthcoming with information on the several debates held on Kogi Parliamentarian.
Nihi latter constituted a Peace and Reconciliation Committee and I found my name on the list. He then called me to apologise for not seeking my opinion before putting my name on the list. This list was published on Kogi Parliamentarian for a general reaction. There was no objection.
“Last Sunday, Nihi called to inform me that we need to meet in Lokoja on Monday. He had created a platform for the subcommittee as KSHA Peace Committee designed only for the participation of members.
“The members, many of whom I met for the very first time in Lokoja, were Nihi (social media activist, critic and anti-Imam leadership) Kola Ologbondiyan (Online journalist and anti-Imam leadership) Lekan Aiyenigba (social critic and journalist, anti-Imam leadership) Pastor Obadunmi ( A marketer, politician and GYB sympathiser), Incurable Optimist (public servant and anti-Imam leadership), AA Okene (P. A. Hon Lawi, GYB&Imam supporter), Ali Zaki, (CPS to Imam and supporter of Imam leadership) MAS Suleiman (Social Media activist and sympathiser of MJ Lawal) DR Temidayo (scholar and sympathiser of MJ Lawal), Galacticus Zidane (Social Media activist and friend of Mr Edward Onoja) as well as Hon Haruna (SA to GYB on Assembly Matters. We exempted him from every meeting where MJ Group was involved. He was however reunited with MJ by this Peace Committee).
“I must state that my description of every individual was based on my working knowledge of them during this period.
However we all agreed to drop our nuances and to approach the self-imposed assignment with open mind, transparency of purpose and sincerity.
“Before I arrived Lokoja on Monday afternoon, Nihi led the team to meet with MJ. Those who missed the meeting were Incurable, Pastor, DR Temidayo and myself. MJ was frank and sincere. He expressed the readiness of his group for peace if GYB was ready. At the end, he gave 50k to the group for “logistics”.
“I joined in the meeting with Imam. He expressed the readiness of his team for peace. He gave 60k for “logistics.”
We met throughout the night to review our agenda on handling the two groups and the governor particularly in the areas of extracting commitments from them.
“Tuesday morning, we met with GYB as the first on his manifest the fact that he was expecting the chief of army staff not withstanding. He promised to support the reconciliation.
“We returned to Imam’s residence to meet his group. Imam was present and was joined by Hon Ododo, Hon Hassan, Hon John Abah. He said some of the members of the group could not make the meeting but they will brief them. They expressed readiness for peace.
“We met the G15 in the residence of Hon Rabiu. Those present were Hon Omiata, Hon Pedro, Hon Osiyi, Hon Omofaye, Hon Shigaba, Hon Rabiu, It was a frank discussion. We argued and begged but every group we met had great words for the committee.
“The meetings lasted till the early hours of Wednesday.
We had a joint meeting of the Imam&MJ groups at the Rekiya Ogbeha Centre where both groups agreed to a template for peace.
*** That in the interest of peace in Kogi State, MJ will resign
*** As a mark of respect and honour, GYB will be allowed to indicate interest in who succeeds MJ
**** Apart from the position of Spkr other positions remained as they were before GYB
**** The House should create the positions of Deputy Minority Leader and Deputy Minority Whip
***** All issues bordering on the outstanding pecuniary of members should be immediately honoured
***** All matters in courts and NASS should be discussed in a meeting between GYB and members on the procedures for withdrawals
On Thursday, the two groups, GYB and the committee met to ratify the template. It was generally adopted in principles by all members and GYB.
GYB slated a meeting for 7:30am the following morning to smoothen the rough edges. We were no longer a part of that meeting. It was held and the rest has become a part of Kogi modern history.
****Honorarium: In appreciation of the great work done by the peace committee, the state government will accord the members of the committee their respective honour. The honorarium has started rolling and the members of the committee will give details of such honour in due course.
We thank U
“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God.”