Kogi Guber: The Odds Favour Gov. Bello

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The 2019 Kogi governorship election, according to INEC’s timetable, will hold on 16th November 2019. The date is less than five (5) months from now while the conduct of parties primaries where candidates would emerge for the election is slated for between 18th August, 2019 to 5th September, 2019.

Judging by political activities so far in the state by various political parties, one can comfortably say that the race is certainly between All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

However, the odds of winning is more favorably to APC than the PDP due to its robust structure on ground. The structure put in place by the APC led it into an unprecedented victory in the last general elections where the APC won 25/25 seats in the Kogi State House of Assembly, 7/9 seats in the Federal House of Representatives and 2/3 seats in the Senate. Statistically, this is about 86% victory of APC to about 14% victory for PDP.

If one should judge by the activities of prospective aspirants for the 2019 Kogi governorship election, one would emphatically state that the race is also between five (5) aspirants (pretenders are not inclusive). The serious contenders are Gov Yahaya Bello of APC who is the incumbent governor, Prof. Seidu O Mohammed of the APC, Rtd Admiral Jubrin Usman of APC, Capt Idris Ichalla Wada of PDP who is a former governor and the last but not the least is Abubakar Ibrahim Idris who is a son of former governor Idris Ibrahim (Ibro).

There are three (3) aspirants jostling for the APC ticket and two (2) jostling for the PDP ticket. Prof. Seidu O Mohammed is considered a political neophyte and lacks necessary experience to win a party primary but his strength according to his promoters is to use Abuja connection and money to influence APC executives at the national level to grant him the ticket on a platter.

Going by what happened to APC in Zamfara and Rivers states where party primaries were not properly held, the dream of Prof Seidu O Mohammed to be on the APC ballot is near impossibility.

Retired Admiral Jibrin Usman is in the race banking on his vast experience from the military. As a former Chief of Naval Staff, he believes he has what it takes to govern Kogi state. His major obstacle is the corruption allegation leveled against him by the EFCC. Admiral Jibrin Usman, whilst in office, allegedly bought a house worth N600 million from the account of Naval Engineering Services without the said purchase contract being captured in the budget. It was also alleged that, the documentation for transfer of ownership of the property was done such that a private company owned by the family of Admiral Jibrin Usman became the buyer.

Another obstacle to his governorship ambition is the fact that he doesn’t have any known structure on ground in Kogi state but only few paid social media promoters who mostly doesn’t participate in elections in Kogi state. Also, a party fighting corruption won’t risk giving its ticket to a man whose EFCC’s noose is tightly gripped to his neck.

Gov Yahaya Bello is the man to beat for the APC ticket. As a young man in his 40s, he had put in place a robust party structure that made it possible for the APC to win overwhelmingly in the last general elections. In terms of security, Gov Yahaya Bello has done what no other governor has ever done in Kogi state. Since the inception of Gov Yahaya Bello, there has not been any reported case of bank robbery in Kogi state. To give the state more sense of security, Gov Yahaya Bello helped and built a Forward Base Operation Unit for the Nigerian Army In Okene, Kogi Central Senatorial Zone. The same thing is being replicated in the other two senatorial zones.

In terms of infrastructure, Kogi state has never had it good until the coming of Gov Yahaya Bello. Roads neglected by the past government have been constructed in the three (3) senatorial zones. Notable is the Ibana-Okpo-Ogugu-Ette road which is at 90% completion, Ankpa township roads, Umomi-Ajaka road which is at 80% completion and many others too numerous to mention.

Gov Yahaya Bello also improved the state IGR from a meager N600 million monthly to about N1 billion monthly. This feat made it possible for students of tertiary institutions from Kogi state to be placed on bursary, a privilege never enjoined by Kogi students for a long time. The hands of Gov Yahaya Bello can also be felt in the areas of Health, Agriculture, environmental beautification and so many more time won’t permit me to write.

There are only two (2) serious aspirants in PDP. They are former governor Idris Wada and Abubakar Idris Ibrahim, who is a son of former governor Ibrahim Idris. The man to beat for the PDP ticket is Capt Idris Ichalla Wada. His records as former governor are there to speak for him. Abubakar Idris Ibrahim is a novice in politics. He has never held any political office even while his father was a governor for nine (9) years.

He doesn’t have business experience neither has he worked in a known institution. He is just a puppet of his father (Ibro) whom he (Ibro) intends to impose on the state and continue his third term agenda.

As it stands, Ibrahim Idris (Ibro) has the party structure and it is very clear he would hand over the party ticket to his son during the August part primaries. PDP party faithfuls are not comfortable with the plans of Ibrahim Idris and had vowed to work against the party should his son emerges PDP candidate.

The PDP National Youth Frontier coordinator, Comrade Usman Austin Okai and some of his lieutenants who are not satisfied with the pending imposition of Ibro’s son on the party doesn’t have the patience to wait till the August primaries and have started campaigning for aspirants in APC already. That is a confirmation that APC is the party to beat at the November 16th Kogi gubernatorial election and Gov Yahaya Bello with his unprecedented and giant strides is the man to beat.

As for me and my good people of Olamaboro LGA, we have decided never to take back the hands of development back as such, we have resolved as a people to vote massively for Gov Yahaya Bello.

– Obochi Samuel writes from Ogugu, Kogi state.

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