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Hurdles Before PDP Ahead Of Kogi Guber Polls

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SAM EGWU, writes on the array of aspirants seeking the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party  in Kogi State and the matters arising

What lies ahead of Kogi State gubernatorial election in November will be intriguing to say the least. So far a lot of scheming has trailed the major contenders who have indicated interest through the purchase of nomination forms.

Besides the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the other major party in the state that captures the intrigues is the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP). So far the party has sold forms to 13 aspirants who claim they can work wonders in a state the party had governed, unimpressively, for the better part of the last two decades.

The aspirants…

Capt Idris Ichalla Wada is the immediate past Governor of Kogi State. Wada’s strength lies largely in the blueprint he had laid to bring Kogi State to path of development and industrialisation before the greed of the people arm-twisted him even before the final home call of Prince Abubakar Audu and subsequent through providence, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the incumbent, took over. His supporters argued that if Wada would have eventually completed his term, Kogi would have become a state to reckon with in terms of development in the country. But, where his godfather, a former Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris is parading his son, Wada faces a tough task in his quest for the party ticket.

Retired Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Salihu Atawodi’s is also in the race. He had contested the position back in 2003. Atawodi believes that with his background he can transform the state.

Alhaji Abubakar Idris, son of former governor is in the race not minding that many seem to be opposed to his ambition at the moment largely because his father left office barely eight years ago. But his supporters believe that beyond his having the constitutional right to seek any position, what should be the issue is capacity for the job. What’s more he hopes to drive the ‘not too young to rule’ motto. With the clout of Ibro during his administration, those in his support are still waiting in the wings. The complex nature of Kogi State politics may hinder his acceptability at this trying time.

Aminu Suleiman is a Kano based business tycoon. He is regarded as a formidable contender for the party’s ticket. He is one of the first callers to pick the momination and intent forms.

Dr Victor Adoji is an eloquent banker. His sequence of delivery of his project plans for the development of Kogi State tells that much. He is also widely traveled. His blueprint for human capital development are rich. But how far can he go to convince the delegates to secure the ticket is another matter.

Senator Dino Melaye needs little introduction. An energetic and controversial politician, the senator has declared that his decision to join the governorship race is a divine call to liberate Kogi State. Dino had a running battle with the state and federal government and he is wont to say he is undeterred, “its better to die in the cause of fatherland than dying in the glory of sleep”. Some argue that Dino has more to offer the country in his present position as one of the most vocal, intelligent senators, but others see it differently that he can also do well as a governor. But he has to get the party’s ticket first.

Joe Erico Ameh is a chief security strategist. His plans to uplift youths and women and put them on the path of self actualisation speaks volume. With the dossier he presented to journalists at the press parley recently, only electorates could stop him.

Iye Grace Adejo is the only woman in the race for PDP’s ticket. She must have consulted very well to be in the race in Kogi State this time. It’s clear that women want to wrestle power from men in Kogi State. The women are worried that from the fifth assembly in Kogi State to the present seventh assembly, women are not considered therefore, according to her, “when I become the Governor of Kogi State things will change, women will take positive strides in decision making for Kogi state”

Emmanuel Omebije is also in the race. His election into the Kogi State House of Assembly in 2011 was not by happenstance. He meticulously calculated his political moves to get it. Could that be the same fate this time around, time and the delegates will tell.

Bayo Avereh is so in the race.  A PDP member from Central Senatorial District of Kogi State,  he believes that there is the need to make governance impactful for people to positively see dividends of democracy. A clarion call to the electorates.

Musa Wada is from the Wada family. That is not a disadvantage in politics. Musa Wada has been bidding to show his own capacity for quite sometime, probably now is the time.

Mohammed Shuaibu is a classic example of aspirants who have spent their years building people in skills and knowledge. Shuaibu did not just offer himself for service but very many have seen his contribution to national development which he also extends to his state. After retiring from high cadre in the breweries industry with a comfortable statue his only desire is to liberate people, he said.  But will this resonate with the PDP delegates ahead of the party’s primaries.

Kabir Haruna is into real estate. While addressing journalists recently he agrees that “human life is lived in the service of humanity and humanity is infinite”, therefore, according to him “the challenge to liberate Kogi is definite and total.”

The issues…

While all the 13 aspirants are united behind the party’s zeal to edge out the incumbent governor during the election, there are issues within the party they have to contend with ahead of the primaries.

Some party watchers believe that the clamour within the PDP for the Kogi East to retain the party ticket might cause disaffection within its ranks. It is interesting to see whether aspirants, like Dino, who are not from the senatorial district will accede to this move.

Also, the ambition of Abubakar, son of the former governor, Idris, is causing ripples within the party in the state. Many believe that the former governor still weilds a lot of influence within the party to swing the events in favour of his son. Hence there is a building agitation for the primaries to be free, fair and credible.

Still, Dr. Idris Omede, a former aspirant in the governorship poll announced his dumping of PDP, amid concerns that the primaries has already been hijacked.

Omede, a former President, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), at a news conference said whi consultation was ongoing on the alternative political party for him to pursue the ambition.

He said that he was dumping the party because the process toward its primary election to pick the candidate had been compromised.

Omede said that it was evident that PDP in the state had not learnt from previous experience that brought it to its current status “where its genuine members gnash their teeth’’.

According to him, it was obvious that certain things are fundamentally wrong with the party, and the party has not made deliberate plans to correct them, paying lip service or outright neglect of such.

The former aspirant under the PDP accused delegates of warming up to make big financial catches from all aspirants before and during the forthcoming governorship primary of the party.

He said that unfolding events where the entire state executive of the party was returned in its recent congress in the state, speaks volume of the problems in the party.

“I joined the race to contest for the gubernatorial election on the platform of PDP many months ago, after a long period of being a member of the party and supportive of the party.

“I had widespread consultation with the high and low stakeholders within the party at various levels, with convincing and evolving acceptability, encouragement, selling and marketable points.

“Arising from a detailed and painstaking analysis and scrutiny of events unfolding as the primary elections draw near, with many new entrants into the race, I have carried out wide consultation.

“I have, in consultation with my numerous supporters, working committees, who believe in the possibility of a new Kogi, decided not to pursue my gubernatorial aspiration any longer under the platform of PDP.

“The party is currently set for self-destruction in the state, and I cannot realize my aspiration through it. The electorate will make their choice in the larger field in the days ahead.

“This decision is to ensure that the good people of Kogi do not miss the opportunity of electing me as their Governor, come November, 2019,” he said.

While the prospects of consensus candidate seem unrealistic at the moment,  the prospects of aggrieved members working against the party seem rife pending the damage control ability of the party at the national level.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP Sunday however on the race for the governorship seat, Hon Joe Erico said that “ we now have close to one hundred political parties and every one of them would want to field a candidate to score political points. Its time for the leadership of the parties to do brisk business. Surely, there are people waiting to pick nomination forms. Surprisingly, many of the non functional, party secretariat in the state have suddenly come alive, they have opened shops waiting for clients.

“The drumbeat is on, the land scape of the state is adorned with posters competing for space. Annoyingly, the posters are defacing the state. Strangely, some of the faces on the posters that we see are as strange as their posters are unknown. The real question to ask is where were they all this while that they are springing up thinking they can spring surprises.”

Aishetu Ibrahim on her part, said that the money these people are spending to procure nomination forms can bring up a project that could employ some youths if gathered together.

While describing the huge sums spent on the governorship project as gambling, she added  “The era of money politics is here, you cannot actualise your campaign if you don’t have the grassroots.”

Another analyst, Ijachi Ode however said “the most critical point most politicians miss is that the person who is always at home with the people is whom they want. You have not impacted on the people positively and you want them to support you, it will not work.

“Your doors must be kept open to people who troop in daily to express their support both night and day. Feed those who come calling and if possible eat with some of them to show your level of simplicity. Some of them have not tried to acquaint themselves with the people and they will just print posters and think it will work,” Ode said.

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