Wada/Awoniyi Team Waxes Stronger

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As at January this year, the Kogi State chapter of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was heavily fragmented along different interests. These interest groups nearly tore the party into shreds during and after the January primaries.

After the January primaries two prominent groups emerged – Governor Idris political powerhouse and the popular Kutepa amalgamated group. The Ibro powerhouse produced Isa Jubrin Echocho.

The other camp pushed for cancellation of the January primaries but while the agitation was still raging, the courts extended Ibro’s tenure. The Kutepa camp mounted pressure on the national secretariat of the party on the need for a rerun primaries in Kogi state citing Anambra as a good antecedent.

When INEC rolled out timetable for the governorship elections in Kogi State in line with the electoral act, it fixed September 22, 2011 as the deadline for party primaries. The Kogi state chapter party leadership kicked against a rerun of primaries but after a careful study of the issue the leadership decided to go for a rerun in a bid to unite the party in the state.

Other parties reasoned along the same line. ACN dumped the earlier primaries that produced Professor Yusuf Obaje and called for a fresh process that eventually produced Prince Abubakar Audu. ANPP organised fresh primaries as well. PDP was left with no option than to organise fresh primaries.

Guided by the electoral act and her constitution, PDP called for a fresh primary.

All the aspirants from western senatorial districts withdrew from the race to pave way for Kutepa’s emergence. The winner of the rancourous January primaries, Isa Jubrin Echocho also joined the fray. Echocho, Kutepa and a new entrant, Idris Wada were seen as leading contenders.

Kutepa banked on bloc votes from the Western axis, Echocho hoped to ride on the influence of Kogi representatives in the national assembly while Wada enjoyed the support of politicians who were angered by the rude emergence of Echocho in the botched January primaries.

Kutepa, Echocho, Wada and others bought party nomination forms, passed through the screening process at Lafia and prepared to win the party’s sole ticket.

On Thursday, 22nd September 2011, delegates from all over the state gathered at the Lokoja Township Stadium, venue of the PDP primaries, to elect the party’s candidate for the December 3 governoship elections. As proceedings began, it became obvious that the two powerful groups that emerged after the January primaries are still intact, the Governor Idris powerhouse and the Popular Kutepa Amalgamated group. The only difference was in the governor’s camp – they have resolved to drop Echocho in favour of another party stalwart, Captain Idris Wada.

Captain Idris Wada

The primaries went on peacefully and was aired live on national television station NTA to ensure the whole world see the transparency of the process. This is a decent departure from the January episode where power outage reported aided one of the aspirants.

The primaries produced Captain Idris Wada as the party’s standard bearer and in a smart move, the governor’s camp approached the Kutepa Amalgamated group with the deputy governor slot. This matured politicking resulted in the widely appreciated choice of Architect Yomi Awoniyi as Wada’s running mate.

The combination of the governor’s camp and the Kutepa’s associates is indeed a masterstroke. The Wada/Awoniyi has successfully unified the party.

Arc. Yomi Awoniyi

Arc. Yomi Awoniyi

As at today, the only dissenting voice in the large PDP family is Echocho. Incidentally, Echocho is from same Dekina as Wada and it is widely believed that Dekina elders will reconcile both politicians soon.

As the Wada/Awoniyi forge ahead, they proceed with confidence knowing that the once fragmented house is now united under the umbrella.

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