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Inordinate ambition, failure to do the needful at the corridor of power, fear of defeat against 2019 general elections and later governorship election in Kogi state had been the bane of all political machinations and manipulations adopted by the state government against the three senators representing the state at the red chamber.
To the governor and the government, the three musketeer senators; Senator Atai Aidoko of Kogi East, Senator Ahmed Ogembe of Kogi Central and Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West, will make his ambition to return to Lugard house unrealisable. If they are not politically ostracised owing to either their political strength, acceptability, necessity or as the case may be in the next dispensation.
The record was set recently by the mass rejection of a well funded failed recall process of the most vocal and controversial Kogi West senator, Otunba Dino Melaye even while in detention. This exercise was already another litmus test towards the acceptability of the people of the area to return him to the senate in spite of apparent resistance and persecution from the state government.
Melaye representing the second largest constituency and most enlightened people and politically vulnerable set of electorates from Lokoja/Kogi local government axis who believed in politics of sincerity of purpose, truth, inclusion and human disposition as propagated by the current senator.
For Dino Melaye and his followers along with the electorates of Kogi West, it is a done deal as governor Yahaya Bello remains a goner in the political calculations of the state towards 2019 elections and the November governorship election.
The singular idea of wanting to kill senator Dino Melaye for speaking the truth and nothing but the truth, and the sympathy vote and mindset of the people, along with a vow from the people of his constituency from their body language not to vote candidates of APC, no matter how sellable, will be a nightmare for the current administration in Kogi.
In Kogi East, Bello has displayed a lot of political wizardry towards dividing the rank and files of the political gladiators from the area and had succeeded through coercion, financial inducements, threats, lies and subtle empty promisary notes, except for the calibre of Kogi East Senator, Atai Aidoko Ali.
For Aidoko, his path has never crossed before, either officially or privately, with the governor. He never met Yahaya Bello in person or had anything to do with him politically or otherwise. So, the fear of the unknown always pervades the whole scenario, except some of his kinsmen and extractions who are now top government officials of the governor, especially the chief of staff, Edward Onoja who have formed strong opposing views against him. Alas, he was a known follower of the senator penultimate and by virtue of been from the same district of Ogugu.
Having been inundated with the rugged political dossier of the senator in the last one and half decade, it became obvious and natural that returning to lugard house with Aidoko as Kogi East senator under the opposition PDP, it will be an uphill task if not truncated.
Armed with dual advantage of representing nine local government areas, the highest in the state in terms of number of votes and population. In fact, statistics have always proved it right that just three major local government areas from Kogi East will upturn the political chances of any contestant across not minding his acceptability and accessibility as per voting strength. That scenario has been a source of worry to Yahaya Bello’s camp and APC.
Atai Aidoko has been a child of necessity since the inception of his democratic ideas and entrance to various contests. Initially, he defeated a thorough bred, well connected and high profile lawyer who was close to a former Military President to win his maiden election to the National Assembly to the consternation of political soothsayers in 2003. Secondly, he again retained the seat by doing the unusual of silencing a Prince of Ankpa kingdom, the largest local government in his federal constituency to return to the House of representatives in 2007. His decision to move to the red chamber was seen as a day dream and child’s play. He brought down a prominent senior and well connected lawyer to his political oblivion through legal technicalities. Not done with that, in 2015, he lost and returned back to senate after removing a ruling party senator and a technocrat and bundled it up by flooring his party man and former service chief to stupour. These are the political credentials Yahaya Bello is fighting day and night to dim.
Part of Aidoko’s credentials is, although not generally acceptable by his people with highly volatile popularity, but he is known to be a pro-Igala person and tribal czar who held that sentiment along in his endeavours. He has never hidden his feelings of owing his people a lot of obligation to where he is today. That alone made him a political child of necessity and political preference to his people of Kogi East.
He is highly favoured to deploy unalloyed support to any genuine Igala man with impeccable character to rescue the area from the inhuman treatment of the present administration, not minding political differences, hence Bello is bent on seeing to his political extinction.
For senator Salaudeen Ahmed Ogembe of the governor’s origin, it was widely believed the area will be a walk over as a sitting governor without stress, but it was later discovered that the reverse will be the case.
Ogembe was celebrated as PDP senator from the central by the governor and his loyalists after removing his staunch political enemy, Senator Mohammed Ohiare, a strong supporter of late Prince Abubakar Audu.
Senator Ogembe, a political maradona and genius, came from the background as local government chairman to become a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria. His advantages was he is well travelled and western oriented who cannot be cowed over mere ambition.
Kogi governor arrogated the victory of Kogi Central senator to his handiwork to nail the growing internal opposition to his leadership of the party in the state having lost the former party leaders in the state. Senator Ogembe, who was subtly tactical, withdrew having been attacked by proxy in his hometown Okene during one of his outings.
Ogembe is highly favoured to return to the senate because of his glaring display of political maturity and inclusiveness. Thoughts from Bello’s camp of him falling prey not realisable, confrontation and affront set in to frustrate his next political moves.
The senator reacted confidently by carrying out his program under serious security threat and reported the incidence to the senate that attracted wide condemnation. That drew a thin and conspicuous line of political rivalry in Kogi Central.
With governor Bello’s maladministration, the people of Kogi Central prefer Senator Ogembe as their governor to abrupt governor Yahaya Bello. This became evident subsequently during a solidarity rally for the Senator in Okene at a subsequent week. The rally closed down the ancient town to travellers for over six hours.
It was the grand rally and solidarity showed by the people of Okene who obviously are the protagonist and originator of other four area councils that drew a battle line between the governor and his senator.
Ogembe, whose structure and stature had placed him higher in the eyes of his political rivals like the governor, was known to have single handedly frustrated a political move against the former council chairman that led to the termination of the former administration under tense and unsettled internal rivalry.
With the three coveted assets representing Kogi at the senate, observers will not need soothsayers that the idea of Kogi governor returning to Lugard house will be more tedious by the day, having abused providence and divine intervention that brought the present dispensation.
– Yusuf Abubakar writes from Abuja.
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