A Political Odyssey; Rt. Hon. Umar Aliyu, The Making Of A Leader and Political Icon. By Abbas Yahaya

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As one who is born and raised in Lokoja, I’m always interested in activities especially political activities. I am usually interested in characters and individuals that have had remarkable impact in our constituency. It is also part of my habit to look out for individuals whose activities and ideas may shape the future of our great country, Nigeria.

I am particularly fascinated by the politics in Kogi State not just because I was born and raised here in the then old Kwara region but because of it’s peculiar politics. In character, Kogi State is like mini Nigeria being a multi-cultural state with many ethic group – Igala, Ebira, Okun, Egbura, Nupe, Hausa and Kakanda and yet there is harmonious existence among them. It might interest you to know that the state has successfully rotated the legislative arm power among the three senatorial districts without much fuss while others are still bickering about zoning and all of that.

The beauty and strength of Kogi politics is in the people and the political gladiators who have held the forte since the advent of the current democratic dispensation in 1999. They are those who have given direction, mobilized and lead the people; those who have held on in the face of adversity, those who have given hope to the hopeless, succor to the vulnerable. Thus, Kogi State politics is a case study in political socialization and harmonization.


And one of those political actors in the contemporary Kogi state politics whose role is of interest to me is Rt. Hon. Aliyu Umar , the current Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly who has proven to be a bridge-builder and people’s manager. I have critically monitored his meteoric rise to prominence in the star-studded Kogi political arena. His tenacious hold to principles, grit, firm determination to succeed and avowed commitment to the ideals of Democracy and empowerment of his people are things up-coming politicians should emulate.

‘Assignment’ as he is fondly called by his admirers is a man of many parts – a politician, an administrator, public policy analyst, a scholar, a community leader, a youth leader, a certified leadership trainer, a strategist inter alia. He has distinguished himself in everything he finds himself to do. His foray into politics started very early in his life. He has manifested leadership traits as an advocate, youth mobilizer and activist. His leadership qualities did not escape the attention of his people who promptly identified and rallied round him and trusted several leadership positions in his care.

In the current Democratic dispensation, He is a first-time parliamentarian representing the people of Lokoja || Constituency and the currently Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly. And in previous position he has held while in PDP even as Supervisory Councilor, he always make a mark of excellence. He does not believe in half measures. He is a stickler for excellence. He believes in integrity. He believes that equity and justice should be the guiding principles in public policy engineering in a plural socio-cultural environment like ours. And public office holders and their behaviors should be ethically responsible, equitable and just.

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He is not just a politician; he is a leader who identifies with his people. His political philosophy is anchored on the people. He believes that the purpose of leadership is to achieve shared societal goals and hence his commitment towards the empowerment of his people. As a parliamentarian, he is enacting some sponsored bills which in no longer time will become laws that are people oriented. And as an administrator, he has attracted projects that are of immense benefit to his people.

Furthermore, out of his own means, he has supported members of his constituency through many humanitarian programs targeted at the weak, the poor and vulnerable people. He has given scholarship to indigent students, designed empowerment programs for people and capacity-building and support for the start-up businesses.

In an era where politicians pay lip service to the yearnings of the people, Rt. Hon. Umar Aliyu chose to be different. He believes that power belongs to the people and the whole essence of political intrigues is to grab power in order to benefit the people. To him, the only panacea to peace is the empowerment of the people. He has strived to work for the infrastructural uplift of his constituency through various administrative interventionist projects.

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Again, if politics is about grassroots mobilization then Hon Umar Aliyu is a politician like no other who identifies with his people. He is honest and dedicated. He is highly respected among his people and peers.

His sincerity of purpose and down-to-earth practical approach to issues endear him to his people. And that explains his apparent domineering presence in his constituency. And for his roles and accomplishments, he has numerous awards and recognition. For instance, receiving various awards and commendation from the media, students, traditional institutions, association and organizations.

Hon. Umar Aliyu is strong, youthful and ebullient and yet imbued with the wits and maturity of the ancient. He is a firm believer in Democracy and the rule of law. He is a bridge builder per excellence. He believes that survival in a multi-cultural setting like Kogi State require tolerance, strategic engagement, interest aggregation and respect for the rule of law. Enduring peace in the polity can only be achieved not by rhetoric but by pragmatic engagement; allaying fears of domination and oppression and carrying the people along.

Abbas Yahaya
Multimedia and Investigative Journalist
Writes From Lokoja

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