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Nasarawa 2023: Why support of Eggon for Sule is crucial

By Chigachi Eke
26 May 2022   |   3:36 am
Ian Morris propounded the Paradox of Development theory. In his highly celebrated “Why the West Rules-for Now: The Patterns of History and What They Reveal About the Future,” he argues that every solution...

Governor of Nasarawa State Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule Photo:Twitter

Abdullahi Sule
Rise and Fall of Civilisations
Ian Morris propounded the Paradox of Development theory. In his highly celebrated “Why the West Rules-for Now: The Patterns of History and What They Reveal About the Future,” he argues that every solution, at some point, becomes the new problem. Going through known civilizations from Sumerian to Medieval China, Morris is consistent that failure to adapt to changing realities is what killed these principalities.

He identifies two historical figures in the rise and fall of every civilization. The first is the “exceptional genius” whose action catapults his people one thousand years ahead of their peers. The second is the “bungling idiot” who sends his people back by many centuries through his own words and deeds. Morris is concerned with how the mechanics of power adapt to achieve progress or reversal.

The realities that made the Eggon a dominant force in old Plateau State, with state creation, could have altered to reduce them to a dormant one in new Nasarawa State. The Eggon refused to adapt to the changing times preferring, instead, to rely on their huge number. That is weakness, according to Morris.

The Eggon Conundrum 
In Nasarawa State the minority tribes,  namely, Koro, Yeskwa, Kofyar, Gwandara, Mada, Ninzo, Nungu, Alago, Goemai, Megili, Eloyi, Tiv, Idoma, Gade, Gbagyi, Hausa and Fulani, making up 40% of the demographic, rule the 60% Eggon majority.  On the cusp of the 2023 gubernatorial election, the minorities are again primed for another victory while the Eggon are embroiled in internal crisis. Since this election is all about who succeeds Governor Abdullahi Sule in 2027, skeptics question the quality of political leadership driving the Eggon agenda. 

The Eggon have one quest: To produce a Nasarawa governor of Eggon origin after the incumbent Governor Sule finishes his second tenure in 2027. Against this worthy objective are two internal contradictions. One, the intrigue within the ruling Angbazo House sends out the disquieting signal that the Throne could be losing gripe. And two, the old brigades in the Eggon kitchen are undermining the collective. We take a closer look at these problems.

Angbazo House in Crisis
The immediate danger capable of scuttling the emergence of Nasarawa governor of Eggon origin is latent in the ruling Royal Angbazo House itself. The Angbazo House is under His Royal Highness Bala A. Angbazo, traditional ruler of the Eggon. Well into his 90s, it is understandable that he is immobilised by age. Dr James Angbazo, accomplished medical doctor formerly based in America, is the first son of HRH Angbazo and heir to the Throne. Hopefully, his emergence as traditional ruler will unite his people ushering in a new era. Dr Angbazo will determine the political fortune of the Eggon in no distant time.

General Nuhu Angbazo, younger brother to Dr Angbazo, retired from the military and immediately declared his interest to contest the 2023 gubernatorial election against Governor Sule. Predictably, his ambition polarised the people since Governor Sule is clearly working for an Eggon man to succeed him in 2027.

Two princes, Dr Angbazo and General Angbazo, interested in two crucial posts, the Eggon Throne and Nasarawa governorship, is ill advised and counterproductive. The highly respected General Angbazo must put the Eggon nation first by foregoing his gubernatorial ambition not to endanger his senior brother ascending the Throne. 

It goes well for Dr Angbazo who sacrificed a flourishing medical profession to patiently serve his people while his father is indisposed. If General Angbazo listens to the voice of reason and Governor Sule wins his second tenure with the Eggon vote, an Eggon emerging as governor in 2027 is guaranteed.

The great Angbazo Dynasty is known for philanthropy, educational development and church planting. HRH Angbazo built the Angbazo Memorial Comprehensive College, Awayi. This institution has produced notable personalities and bureaucrats.  The Angbazos greatly contributed to the commercial fortunes of Eggons across tribal and religious lines. Their stable character explains why they are the most respected family in the Eggon nation.

However, Gen Angbazo’s quest is premature without consideration for the big picture. His intention is out of tune with the pro-populi character of the revered Angbazo legacy of the past half a century. His entrance into the gubernatorial race is also incongruous with the power rotation principle set to favour Eggons in 2027. If the great general contests against Governor Sule in 2023, what stops the minorities from also fielding their own joint candidate against the Eggon in 2027?  
Trained in the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, and prestigious military institutions round the world, General Angbazo fits the Morrisian exceptional genius. He understands the handwriting on the wall and can be trusted to support his elder brother yoked with the onerous task of leading one of the most peaceful and industrious people.
 
Old Brigades Problem
Labaran Maku, Solomon Ewuga, David Umbugadu and Danladi Envulanza are Eggon politicians who had the opportunity of placing their people in good stead but failed to do that. While boasting of money and contacts, they expend much energy crushing one another than advancing the Eggon interests. They leak sensitive information that destroys their ilk only to return home wailing after a crushing defeat.  So the Eggon problem is purely human error on the part of these old brigades.

Their avowed inclination to dominate the minorities is a danger. Thus the Hausa/Fulani, Koro, Ninzo, Megili, etc, who pulled the strings for Nasarawa State creation, deeply distrust these politicians. There is an injustice called collective guilt that punishes the whole for the sin of a few. In the eyes of the minorities, it is not Ewuga or Envulanza that is hostile to them. It is Eggon people as a whole. This explains their deep distrust for Eggons. 

War-war approach to politics is strange and antithetical to northern culture. Electoral strife could be the norm elsewhere but certainly not in multi-ethnic Nasarawa that favours wide consultation and consensus building. Equally so, in Nasarawa power is entrusted only to men of temperance humble enough to stoop low and listen to ordinary people’s hopes and fears. So these pugnacious cooks must leave the Eggon kitchen for there to be progress in 2023.

Candidates for political offices pass through traditional authorities in the north. External interests also rely on these authorities to ascertain the credibility of a candidate. Political parties come and go but traditional authorities remain and grow. But in their bid to be masters the old brigades undermine the Eggon Throne and Symbol of Unity. Where is the Eggon Cultural and Development Association, ECDA, today? Who killed it?

It simply means that if the down trodden must rise again, the searchlight must move from Maku, Ewuga, Umbugadu and Envulanza to a fresh candidate. Nigerians expect them as gentlemen to willfully yield the stage having done their very best since 1999. But if they won’t go willingly, then the Eggon must move on without them. 

Eggon Must Support Sule
Under the All Progressives Congress, APC, the coast is clear for Governor Sule to win a second tenure. The minorities are agreed on this and the Eggon must never be seen opposing him. Feelers also indicate the governor may have taken the first step towards inclusive governance picking the Eggon-born Dr. Haruna Kigbu as Running Mate.

The governor has served well. He inherited a Nasarawa buffeted by wide-spread violence among ethnic rivals, and between non-state actors and the military. But his Pax et Securitas policy installed peace while nipping in the bud kidnap for ransom. The worrisome herder/farmer clash that engulfed Benue, Plateau and Niger States was contained. Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, from other northern states find refuge in Nasarawa.

A secured Nasarawa in a troubled northern Nigeria is an irresistible magnet for developers and investors. The state has grown in leaps and bounds. Public servants are paid and service delivery is spared needless labour strikes.

Mainstream opinion is for Eggons to support Governor Sule with their strategic weight in 2023. Such support will earn them a good deal in deciding who controls the party structures without which the hope for a governor of Eggon origin in 2027 could suffer a setback. Reelecting him will destroy the prejudice that Eggons lack the capacity for alliance building.
Eggons have endured more than two decades of political marginalization. Now that a solution is in sight under Governor Sule and Dr Angbazo, resilient Eggons can also afford to wait for another four years to win in 2027.
Eke can be reached through chigachieke@yahoo.co.uk

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