The politics of Zone B in Niger State, largely comprising the Gbagyis has so far been rather reactive than proactive. The zone boasts of nine local government areas, the largest by any zone in a 25 local government structure. It would appear therefore, that this advantage would put them in prime position in determining the political trajectory of politics in the state.
But, the dominant narrative over the perceived lack of political savvy has been that they are divisive, lacking in political identity with no real leaders to articulate the cultural sensibilities that pervade the zone. On the other hand, there are no known political organizations or platforms that seem to have a Pan-Gbagyi ideological orientation that are visible with commanding presence worthy to be counted.
What we often see is the birth or mushrooming of some cultural organizations who more often than not coalesce around individuals whose ambition is the quest for political power and once this is not realized, it fizzles out.
Some pundits point out that factors that seem to decimate the political visibility of the Gbagyis is the lack of unanimity of purpose, their isolationist nature and the tendency of not to incorporate or accept the thinking and contributions of other tribes thereby reducing the chances of engagements of any sort, leading to disunity among the elite class of the zone.
For example the recent elections and the outcomes has shown, it is only in Zone B that a lose structure of campaign strategy won the day, signifying that individualistic considerations rather than collective coalition prevailed. Therefore, this lack of cohesion of the Gbagyis largely stands against the homogeneity of the population in the zone. In a nutshell, the outcome of the recent election results definitely show votes were secured largely by the efforts of other tribes and peoples that cohabit with the Gbagyis in the zone.
A clear understanding of the political returns from the zone showed the graphic preponderance of contributions from Hausas, Nupes, Kamukus, Gwandaras, Koros and Kadaras and others not mentioned but who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of electing different people to different offices including the re-election of Mr. Governor. With this shifting demographics in Zone B the Gbagyis and all other tribes in the state must get their acts together and move the state forward.
A further probe into the details of the just concluded election and the contributions of all the tribes, call for salutations in winning the elections and hopefully the rewards will be shared among all and sundry.
The Gbagyis therefore must know that no nation is cast in stone rather on evidence and as such, they should see themselves as one huge experimental political laboratory constantly inventing and re-inventing towards some form of acceptable political identity that will take every political gladiator into consideration .
The Gbagyi elite must lead, and as with all societies, there must be areas of convergence and divergence which they can mold rather than being agents of divisiveness, cheap sentiments and impediments to the things that will bind the people of the zone. Consequently, they should interrogate the fault lines among their people and their own kind of politics and draw a road map for modern engagements in inter and intra community relations in this changing times. Without meaningful and gainful engagements with others, the Gbagyis should be asked whether they are satisfied with the present state of things. What developmental model do they hope to fashion out that would increase their visibility? How can they evolve economically viable ventures of their own, pool resources and provide services that would be mutually beneficial without the understanding and contributions of other tribes that populate the zone? Against the background that others in Zone A & B groups are coming together, in terms of growing their economy and social standings, how would the Gbagyis expand the economy of their own people and the zone in general without gainful engagements of other people of the zone?
In conclusion, this naivety must stop and they must be prepared to bring out a new agenda to the table with all options and see what would be mutually benefiting in terms of constructive engagements with people in zone B and by extension the two other zones A and B as a new paradigm shift in terms of politics for the Gbagyis.
–Kagara wrote in from Tegina, Niger State
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