Kogi Governorship is A Five-Horse Race Contest

Kogi Governorship is A Five-Horse Race Contest

All elections are vital, important and crucial thus all eyes and ears of political leaders in Abuja,the nation’s political capital and Lokoja, Kogi state capital are focused on how to make their party victorious in the November 11 Governorship Election. Election in the state will take place in the 21 LGA of the state and

All elections are vital, important and crucial thus all eyes and ears of political leaders in Abuja,the nation’s political capital and Lokoja, Kogi state capital are focused on how to make their party victorious in the November 11 Governorship Election.

Election in the state will take place in the 21 LGA of the state and in 2,548 polling units and additional 3,508 polling units that will be created for the election”

The reasons cannot be far fetched, Kogi state is bounded by four out of the six-geopolitical zones in the country. It sheres boundaries with nine states – Edo, Niger, Benue, Enugu,Ondo, Ekiti,Nasarawa, FCT, Anambra and Kwara.

In addition, there have been serious electoral infraction and violence in previous elections conducted in the state leading to death and destruction of of properties.

Security Arrangements

In the 16 November 2019 governorship election in the state, the then Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu deployed additional 35,000 police officers to Kogi to ensure “visibility policing ” of lives and property before and during the governorship election.

Mr. Kayode Ayilara, the Assistant Commissioner of police in charge of operations in the state in 2019 said the deployed police officers will arrive in the state on November 11, six days to the election, adding that they are coming from Abuja and other states. They will join the police officers already working in the state.

Mr Ayilara hinted then that armed police officers will also be positioned at identified strategic areas in the state to ensure a quick response to any emergency.

The Kogi state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC),also deployed 3000 men and officers of the command for the general elections. The men and officers deployed worked with other security agencies towards providing an enabling environment for the peaceful conduct of the election.

For the November 11 Governorship Election, being an off-cycle activity, security is expected to be given too priority and adequate attention.

INEC preparations

Election in the state will take place in the 21 LGA of the state , 2,548 polling units and additional 3,508 polling units that was created for the election.

In the 2019 governorship election, 16,139 ad-hoc staff were employed to officiate during the election.

Penultimate week, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC ) in Kogi state,Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet was at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to brief the national officers on the preparedness of his team for the election.

Expected to top the agenda of the meeting was the security situation in the state, recruitment and training of ad-hoc staff and possible flooding in some parts of the state.

Nine local government councils in the state have history of being submerged as a result of flood in Kogi State which affected over 70 per cent people in Koton Karfe communities now leave and sleep by the roadside and schools in the past.

In addition to Koton Karfi,nine local governments council are prone to flood. They are ;

Ibaji, Koton Karfe, Ajaokuta, Igalamela, Lokoja, Ofu, Bassa, Idah, and Omala.

The five – horse race

At the close of the window period, 18 Governorship Candidate will be slugging it out for the election, in the race said to be a five – horse race by political pundits and analysts owing to what many consider as the seriousness and popularity of the candidates.

Presently, the All Progressives Congress ( APC) is in control of the State in the last eight years. The Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) it would be recalled had between 1999 held sway until it lost out in 2016.

Though the other political parties contesting the governorship election in the State may be said to be relatively new, it is quick to point out that the candidates were at some point in either the APC or PDP, some of them defected after the political party primaries to actualize their ambition. So despite their relatively unknown platform they are coming into the race with bundles of experience.

Amongst the major contenders are the candidates of the All Progressives Congress,(APC), Accord Party (AP), Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) , Social Democratic Party(SDP), African Democratic Congress(ADC) and Alhaji Yakubu Murtala Ajaka( SDP)

Mr. Ahmed Usman Ododo. APC

Mr. Ahmed Usman Ododo, is a prominent politician in Nigeria with a stellar reputation and outstanding leadership abilities.

He earned a degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. His scholastic background gave him a firm basis in how politics and the government function.

Mr. Ododo had previously held a number of positions in the political sphere, including that of Chairman of the Kogi State Youth Council, Special Assistant to the Governor, and Member of the Nigerian Youth Parliament.

As former LG Auditor General of the State, this informed the selection of his immediate aides and staff from all religions, cultures, ethnic groups and regions in the state.

Vice Admiral Usman Jubrin. Accord Party.(AP)

Vice Admiral Usman Jubrin of the Accord Party places himself as a viable and valuable candidate who possess the needed charisma, capacity, experience and the popularity to dislodge the ruling APC in the state.

Akpabana as he is popularly called, draws his strength from not just his military background but won the hearts of the people of the state when he was in service as he allegedly influenced the creation of naval bases in Lokoja and Idah and also established the Nigeria Naval School Okura.

In 2019 governorship election of the state, it was believed that Vice Admiral Usman was unjustly screened out of the governorship race by the APC screening committee thereby not giving him the opportunity to participate in the governorship Primary.

In 2023, his supporters see this election as a come back for him to make a mark in the political space of the state as he is from Kogi east and his age, exposure and security background places him tops among other contenders.

Alhaji Yakubu Murtala Ajaka( SDP)

The Social Democratic Party candidate, Alhaji Yakubu Murtala Ajaka popularly known as Muri has become a house hold name in the political space of the state.

He left the APC owing to the fact that he was allegedly denied the opportunity to participate in the Kogi State APC governorship primary.

The SDP candidate draws his strength from a large followers as his ethnic background,Igala,is believed to be the largest in the state .

The SDP candidate who has suffered alleged attacks on his campaign offices and alleged threat to life has gained what can best be described as sympathy popularity in addition to his personal developmental stride in Kogi East.

Today , Muri’s political ambition is fast turning into a political movement in the State.

Senator Dino Melaye( PDP.)

Senator Dino Melaye is a former Senator and was a Member of the 8th Nigerian National Assembly, represented Kogi West Senatorial district.

He is from Ayetoro Gbede in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State. Dino Comes from Kogi West Senatorial District, an area with the second voting population.

Senator Melaye was a two term former Member of the House of Representatives, represented Kabba/Ijumu federal constituency, under the peoples democratic party (PDP ). He is considered as the most experience politically amongst all the Governorship Candidates.

Senator Melaye left the PDP for the APC before making a come back in 2018, is a graduate of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, where he studied Geography. He also holds an LLB degree. He started his political activities right from his days in the University, thus making him a maverick political actor.

Sen. Melaye has the advantage of speaking all the major language in the State. He is seen as most experience amongst the gladiators, has a female, Hajia Habibat Deen from Kogi East is his running mate.

Hon. Leke Abejide (ADC.)

Hon. Leke Joseph Abejide hails from Alu, Yagba East local government area of Kogi State.

A graduate of the prestigious ABU, Zaria, Hon. Leke holds a BSc. Economics and obtained his Masters Degree in Economics from Bayero University Kano.

Hon. Abejide is the chairman of ABYEM INT’L LTD, a private clearing company with impressive mission, vision, accomplishments and good services. ABYEM INT’L LTD had become the preferred choice for many leading importers and exporters in Nigeria.

He is a known and resourceful entrepreneur with excellent record of success in business. Through his Leke Abejide Foundation, an intervention agency has affected the less privileged in the society, widows, aged people and indigent students. He is said to have single handedly taken the responsibility of paying every five corp member posted to the Community High School in his hometown, Alu since 2011 to 2017.

The Natasha Akpoti – Uduaghan factor

Mrs Natasha Akpoti- Uduaghan’s influence in Kogi politics is no longer in doubt with last week’s unanimous judgement delivered by the three-man panel of the Kogi State Election Petitions Tribunal led by Justice K. A. Orjiako on Wednesday, September 6, in favour of the senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan.

The INEC returning officer, Rotimi Ajayi, a professor, had declared Abubakar Sadiku-Ohere of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the February 25 poll after polling a total of 52,132 votes against Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan’s 51,763 votes – a development that stirred mixed reactions among the two leading political parties in the State.

The tribunal judgement in her favour has further strengthened her influence in the confluence state to influence the November 11 Governorship Election in favour of her party’s candidate that also has a female as the deputy governor

Issues before the electorate

The Kogi state electorate in the next few months would be listening to the candidates on how they intend to address the issue of security, unemployment, even distribution of amenities, improvement of the state’s internally generated revenue, health gender inclusiveness and youth restiveness among other issues.

The governorship candidates would also be expected to present a blue print on how they intend to change the narrative that violence now has its operational base in the state.

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