There appears to be no letdown in the November 21 Kogi State governorship election as Governor Idris Wada consolidates. Atabor Julius writes
Kogi State is no doubt going to be the first state to enter into gubernatorial election after the victory of All Progressives Congress APC at the last general election in the country. Although Kogi State has been in the grips of the PDP after its electoral demolition of ANPP in the 2003 election, attempts by the face of the opposition in the state, Abubakar Audu – although his party has changed nomenclature severally – to wrest back the power after that epic defeat of 2003 had met brick wall.
But with the emergence of his party, the APC at the centre, he hopes to pull a surprise this time. How far he could achieve his aim against Governor Idris Wada’s determination to retain the seat is yet to be seen. Kogi State governorship election is just a few weeks away from now, with the atmosphere across the state charged with the passage of days.
Although the PDP seemed to have started its campaigns a little bit late, a scenario, some planners within the party described as a strategy to block pitfall of the opponents, however, on October 6, the PDP main campaign rally was staged at Anyigba, the university town, of the heart of the Igala kingdom.
As early as 7.30am, the whole arteries of roads to the emerging metropolitan town was grounded to a halt with avalanche of posh, rickety cars and hordes of motorbikes and tricycles blaring horns and sirens took over all major roads of the town. Okada riders, who were hitherto associated with low patronage worked tirelessly to satisfy their new found countless customers.
The fear of attack by miscreants and some misguided persons was dispelled as the reassurance from the security agencies, who kept their men on the alert, gave courage to the party supporters to have started flocking to the town as early as the eve of the rally. Most significant of the rally to the mammoth crowd was the news that the former governor of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, who was alleged to have withdrawn his support from Wada to his estranged political son, Alhaji Jibrin Isah Echocho would be in attendance.
The rally which was supposed to be the zonal rally for the Eastern geopolitical axis of the state was attended by party stalwarts and supporters from across the state. It was a gathering of political generals of the state, who almost fell on each order to get to the podium for a speech, while the “most important people” in the state contended fiercely with the retinue of security forces in attempt to get the glimpse of personalities in attendance.
Although there were some minor parties fielding candidates in the election, the epic battle is no doubt between the ruling party and the opposition party, the APC, represented by Audu, who is reputed to have contested all governorship elections held in Kogi State since the return to democratic governance in 1999.
As the Okada riders were busy making quick returns, the food vendors and beer sellers were also making brisk businesses even as masquerades of all shades, bicycle display agents turned the rally into a carnival of sort.
When speeches were decreed to be made by the combined voices of Suleiman Ibrahim, the Director General protocol to the governor and the head public communication of the party, Mr. Bode Ogunmola in a dramatic and history-laden dictum, the Director General of Wada campaign organisation, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, a retired general in the Army, a two time sole administrator of Edo and Akwa Ibom States and a staunch critic of Audu reminded the people of the theme of his message at the same venue, Anyigba, 12 years ago, when the party flagged off its Zonal rally.
According to him, he had warned the people “never again” that the emperor Audu should be allowed into the Lugard House in 2013 governorship election. Ironically, 12 years after, the same emperor is still eyeing the Lugard House.
He therefore warned the people not to be deceived about his rescue mission slogan as his original intent was to loot the state. He urged the supporters to vote massively for Wada for the actual change that the people deserved, stressing that Wada was able to institutionalise good governance even as he was up to date in the payment of workers’ salaries in the face of dwindling resources accruable to the state without considering the option of retrenchment.
Another Senator and also a retired Army colonel, Ahmadu Alih was specific in the choice of his words. He challenged the entire people of Dekina district of old Igala kingdom to consider Wada’s re-election project as their agenda, reminding them that the IDAH and ANKPA districts of Igala Kingdom had completed their eight years tenure apiece, saying why should the same man from Idah district come back to wrest power from Dekina.
He charged the people to consider Audu’s incursion into the tenure of Dekina slot as armed struggle against the people and should be resisted with the last drop of their blood. Alih called on the people to disregard the campaign of calumny making the rounds that some leaders of the party have jettisoned Wada’s ambition, assuring them that notable leaders across the state are solidly standing by the governor to ensure sweet victory on November, 21.
Meanwhile, it was a thunderous ovation galore when a man regarded as Baba Kogi politics, Idris, mounted the rostrum. The whole arena became electrified in a moment – charged and painted blue with pageantry. The shout of “chei Ibro, Baba Kogi”, rent the air throughout the delivery of his message.
He noted that God brought him in 2003 to liberate the people from the emperor, who has held the people by the jugular saying he is still in charge to deal permanent political blow to him, while urging them to support and vote Wada in the forthcoming election.
He described the anticipated victory of Wada and the PDP as a victory against evil and forces of retrogression. He appealed to the people not to sell their conscience while dancing menacingly to the melodious songs oozing out from the loudspeaker strategically positioned at the venue.
However, women were not left out of the show as the women groups across the state led by their leader, Olori Margaret Orebiyi, urged women whom she described as mothers and who are in the majority to queue behind a humble and God-fearing man, Wada because he would not sack their husbands from work.
She urged them to support Wada and the PDP for the sustainable family as voting for the opposition APC would crumble the family lives of the people as his antecedents have no respect for the family system.
When Wada finally got to the podium, he was overwhelmed by the quality of supporters in attendance, waving at them to keep supporting him in the election for the total delivery of the dividends of democracy.
He urged the supporters not to be deterred by the media hype of the opposition
He also assured them that the PDP government if returned would keep faith with all its electoral promises, saying his achievements in the last three and a half years testified to his capability of repositioning the state to meet the 21st century aspiration of the people.
Ironically, while the PDP and Wada were busy harvesting supporters through rallies and conscious mobilization efforts, the APC and Audu are allegedly still fighting over who will eventually fly the party’s flag. But until that is sorted, Wada seems to be saying “I dey kankpe.”
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