It is no longer news that one of the major hurdles for the November 16 governorship polls in Kogi state have been crossed by the all political parties with the recent conclusion of their party primaries to produce their candidates for the election and subsequent submission of their names to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within the stipulated period in line with the Electoral Act.
From human permutation, the battle for the exalted seat is certainly going to be between the candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Alhaji Yahaya Bello and the standard bearer of the major opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Engr Musa Wada in the Confluence State. Our Correspondent in Lokoja, Joseph Amedu writes on the chances of the two notable candidates.
Speaking to journalists after he was declared winner of the APC primaries, the incumbent governor Yahaya Bello promised that he would do better if returned to power come November 16 governorship contest.
Bello while claiming that his first outing in the leadership of Kogi state is quite satisfactory, he assured that he would consolidate on his previous tenure achievements if given the second mandate.
The PDD governorship candidate, Engr Musa Wada shortly after his emergence while speaking to journalists described his victory as a long awaited dream come true.
He expressed his readiness to reconcile with all those that are aggrieved with the out come of the primary election to enable the party win overwhelmingly during the upcoming governorship polls.
As the coast is now clear for the ruling APC and the major opposition party PDP to slug it out, some of the electorates who spoke to Our Correspondent but didn’t want their names in print enumerated likely impediments that could mar the upcoming governorship polls if not checked. These considerations, according to them includes the use of armed thugs by politicians to scare voters from exercising their franchise, biased attitudes of the security agents and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in favour of a particular party or candidate, vote buying and intimidation amongst others as experienced in the previous elections.
Moreover, the emergence of the incumbent governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Adoza Bello as the flag bearer of APC and the PDP’s Musa Wada who is an engineer by profession and former staff of Nigeria Port Authority ,Lagos has however, opened up the old rivalry between the two parties, with particular reference to the shocking defeat of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party by the All Progressives Congress after 13 years of reign in Kogi State.
It would be recalled that Alhaji Yahaya Bello who is the incumbent governor came on board as a child of circumstance after the sudden death of late Prince Abubakar Audu who was coasting home to victory in the 2015 governorship election before his sudden demise.
As at now, the following permutation are hinged on the following parameters below:
Bello’s Advantages Over His Opponent
According to political observers, Bello will rely on the power of incumbency to retain the seat. Secondly, the battle will be between the centripetal and centrifugal forces within and without which the APC looks forward to capitalize of: The party has stated it cannot afford to lose Kogi State because it wants to balance the equation between the ruling and opposition party. He has mobilized the financial muscle to prosecute his political ambition. More so, the Ebiras are seemingly ready to support their own by voting for Bello come November 16, 2019. He is equally relying on the party’s constituencies in the two senators, seven House of Representatives members, twenty- five members House of Assembly, Commissioners and all political appointees from various districts who would be ready to work at grassroots level for the victory of APC.
While all his tangible achievements will be added advantage for his ambition.
Likely Forces Against Bello
Political pundits within the state are of the opinion that what could have been an added advantage to the APC administration may work against the party during the governorship election: The acclaimed none performance of Bello in some quarters in terms of project execution, lack of peoples welfare as well as none payment of workers salaries and pensions until the recent release of the last tranche of bail out funds by the federal government.
A social critics and analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity, argued that if Bello administration had succeeded in weeding out the ghost workers and consistently paying salary to civil servants as at when due there would be no cause for alarm, stressing that with the untold hardship foisted on them and their immediate families, the people will always wait for the election period to pay back.
“Until recently the workers and pensioners had passed through harrowing experience in the state. The fear now is that if Bello comes back, life would be more difficult for them.
“Expectedly, the average Kogites believed that the state under Bello should have moved from what it used to be to where the state ought be and the state is still infrastructural deficient, despite the huge resources accrued to this state.
“‘Quote me what happened in the States where governors have not made salary payment first line charge will repeat itself in Kogi State during the forthcoming governorship election. Many children dropped out of school as result of non- payment of salaries. Workers could no longer pay their bills, house rent, medical bill and the rest”, he added.
Chances of Musa Wada
Mr. Musa Wada is an Engineer, green horn politician and new entrant into the murky waters of Nigerian politics. His emergence as PDP flag bearer still remains a big surprise to many political big wigs in the PDP including his brother, former governor Idris Wada who is also a contested for the primaries, his father-in -law and former governor of the State, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris whose first son lost narrowly to Musa Wada . He will rely on the experience of the duo to navigate the path to Lugard House on November 16th gubernatorial election in Kogi State.
Presumably after a thorough reconciliation may have been done and all other aspirants may have given their nod for his candidature , Wada junior will enjoy the majority strength of entire people of Igala land of the Eastern flank of the state who will be willing to work for his victory at the polls having emerged from strong opposition party, the PDP. His newness also bequeath a certain strength on him in that he has brought a freshness to the with the PDP and somehow sanitized it of its past political baggage.
Observers of political events argued that Wada is a good material and has the financial war chest to prosecute his governorship ambition.
They also stated that the opportunity has come to the people of Igala to fight back and reclaim its lost glory, adding that since loosing the seat of power for the last four year, they have been relegated to the back ground in the political calculations of the state.
They added that with population of about 54 percent and having highest number registered voters in the state and good sensitization, Wada may spring a surprise in November governorship election.
Even the Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole has acknowledged Wada candidacy. “He is no pushover”, he said in an interview recently.
“The political permutation now is if Musa picks his running mate from Okun axis the Yoruba speaking area of Western Senatorial district, he will garner a substantial votes from the west.
Different people with different opinion, some people are of the view that Musa Wada has not acquired the enough political experience. They claimed that Kogi State is in a mess that requires experience hands.
The question agitating the minds of Kogites now is who wins the gubernatorial election, Yahaya Bello or Musa Wada? . The electorate will definitely decide with their votes on November 16, 2019. Hope it counts.