The governorship campaigns for who occupies the Lugard House, the Kogi state government house, after the November 16, 2019 election have progressed peacefully but devoid of issues and driven largely by personalities and ethnic considerations. The ordinary person on the Street of Lokoja and indeed in other towns of the state is unable to put
The governorship campaigns for who occupies the Lugard House, the Kogi state government house, after the November 16, 2019 election have progressed peacefully but devoid of issues and driven largely by personalities and ethnic considerations.
The ordinary person on the Street of Lokoja and indeed in other towns of the state is unable to put a finger on what the issues in this election are beyond the ethnic permutations of where the candidates come from.
There are three main ethnic groups in Kogi state namely Igala, Ebira and Okun spread across the 21 local government areas of the state with the Igalas populating 9 local governments, the Okuns populating 8 local governments and Ebira populating 4 local governments. The reality, however, is that no single ethnic block could successfully win the election with a block vote without garnering substantive support from either of the other two groups.
Though there are campaign posters and posters all over the place especially in the state capital of Lokoja, they are not broken down to the issues of development like education, health and housing but they are loud on the themes of continuity which is the APC candidate’s slogan and rescue which is the PDP’s candidate’s slogan.
This is of great concern because there are a total of 21 candidates including three women out a total of 93 registered political parties in the country participating in this election but the issues are not articulated to the electorate in such a way to be able to make informed decision on who to vote for.
Clearly, it is a two-horse race between the incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello of the APC and Engr Musa Wada of the PDP both of whom may garner over seventy percent of the total votes in what could be a very close contest.
But, some analysts have opined that the election is a simple referendum on the three and a half years’ tenure of Governor Yahaya Bello, which they claimed was characterized by salary indebtedness to workers and lack of improvement to the state infrastructure and the standard of living of Kogi citizens.
On the other hand, supporters of the Governor argue that he has been able to block leakages and improved state revenue so far and would be ready in the next dispensation of his tenure to take the state to the next level of development.
On November 16, a total of 1,485,828 persons who collected their Permanent Voter Cards and eligible to vote in the election but nobody know what the voters’ turnout rate would be. There have been speculations of likely intimidation of voters and vote buying but how far reaching these would be is yet to be seen.
Providing some background to the Nigerian Democratic Report on the upcoming election, Mr. Hamza Aliyu of the Initiative for Grassroots Advancement said despite its organisation’s advocacy and voter education campaign, the electorate are not insisting that the issues bedeviling the state are put on the front burner, “the campaigns have not been issue-based. They still revolve round ethnicity and religion”
“There are no serious campaigns going on yet there is tension in the state based on permutations of the likely outcomes of the election” he further explained.