As we prepare towards 2019 general election, politicians in Nigeria are sharpening their arsenals and oiling their structures in preparation for the supreme battle to take control of governance in their state and federal levels.
Politicians in Kogi state are not left out of this preparation as observers believe they are starting quite early, a situation they attribute to the backlash of events that led to the controversial emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the supplementary election and his subsequent confirmation by the Supreme Court as the rightful occupant of the Lugard House.
Ever since then, the State governor has struggled to attract “quality” and grassroots politicians to his camp as most of the people who worked for the victory of the party in 2015 will rather stick together under a structure popular known as Audu/Faleke political family under the leadership of Hon James Abiodun Faleke who was the deputy governorship candidate of the party. Faleke was a close confidant of the former leader prince Abubakar Audu. Many see this political alliance as the most formidable political structure in Kogi state today.
Trouble in Audu/Faleke Camp
Trouble started when the Senator representing Kogi West senatorial district, Dino Melaye started romancing the leader of the group, James Faleke. Our source confirmed that there was even a time that Dino Melaye visited the latter. Some members of the Audu/Faleke group were said to be angry with the Senator for the “ungodly” role he played that led the the declaration of the November 21st 2015 governorship election inconclusive and his subsequent support for Yahaya Bello to clinch the ticket of the party for the supplementary election. Some of them hold the strong view that Dino is the biggest political enemy of the group and not Yahaya Bello. One of the leaders of the group who spoke with us on condition of anonymity said he is not happy with the move by Honourable Faleke to admit Dino into their midst, he accused Honourable Faleke of not been fair to them and the only reason he is doing that is because Dino is his brother from the local government. When asked if he is aware that Senator Dino has apologized to Honourable Faleke, the leader explained that the struggle is not about Honourable Faleke and his interest alone but a collective struggle and movement of like minds and as such, it should be discussed at an enlarged meeting of the group before such romance can take place.
Some members of the group, especially from the West, believe that they are fighting a common enemy with Dino which is Yahaya Bello, A subtle move to draw Senator Dino into the group is being resisted vehemently by members from Central who feels their sensibility is been insulted.
It is difficult to say if Honourable Faleke is pitching tent with any of the camp as he has technically avoided making comment on the crisis.
Some powerful members of the group has also blocked moves by the former acting governor of the State, Chief Clarance Olafemi to broker peace as they see him as unworthy of such task as he has earlier pitched tent with Alh. Yahaya Bello in the midst of the struggle before falling out with him lately.
Smart Adeyemi and Yahaya Bello new found love
Recently, Senator Smart Adeyemi declared support for the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello and paid him a courtesy visit in Lokoja. This move was said to have rattled the Audu/Faleke group especially the leader, James Abiodun Faleke.
Senator Smart was a close ally of James Abiodun Faleke, He mobilized and deployed his robust structure in Kogi West to work for APC during the November 21st governorship election despite being a member of the opposition PDP then. He subsequently decamped to the APC and was received by Honourable James Abiodun Faleke and the state APC treasurer, Hon Ismail Adesayo who is also a strong member of the Audu/Faleke camp while the litigation by Faleke to reclaim his was ongoing.
Trouble started when Senator Smart Adeyemi got the hint that his successor, Dino Melaye is romancing James Faleke and the duo are on the verge of reconciliation. This is said to have angered Senator Smart who has been resisting pressure from the governors camp to join them. The rivalry between Senator Smart and Dino Melaye is so strong that both of them cannot operate in the same political environment. Both of them are also rumored to be interested in contesting for the Kogi West Senate seat in 2019 and as such the hope of cordial working relationship is not feasible. This is said to have be the major reason why Senator Smart pitched tent with Governor Bello.
It is not clear if there is a working relationship between Dino Melaye and James Faleke but the duo now speak regularly on phone and some of the lieutenants of Faleke now feel at home at the Maitama mansion of the controversial Senator.Share this on WhatsApp