From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Determined to produce the next governor of Kogi state and brighten the chances of one of its own to win the coveted Kogi governorship seat, Kogi East Elders Council (KEEC) has pruned the number of aspirants for the election to six.
According to the result of screening signed by nineteen selected leaders from Kogi East which was made available to journalists in Lokoja over the weekend, one aspirant was chosen to contend for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) tickets in each of the three Federal constituencies in Kogi East senatorial district.
Prince Mohammed Audu, son of a former Governor of the state, late Prince Abubakar Audu, was endorsed for the APC ticket in Idah Federal constituency. Other aspirants endorsed for the sole APC ticket are Professor Seidu Onalo Ogah (Ankpa) and Admiral Jirbin Oyibe Usman (Dekina/Bassa).
For the Peoples Democratic Party, the elders anointed former President Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Idris Omede (Dekina/Bassa), Dr. Joseph Erico Ameh (Ankpa) and Elder Ubolo Okpanachi (Idah).
The screening committee headed by a former Deputy Governor of old Benue State, Alhaji Sule Iyaji has representatives from each of the nine local governments in Kogi East, women groups, Ukomu Igala, Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA), Ojuju Agbadufu and two representatives each from both PDP and APC.
Reacting to the Elders’ resolution, a socio-cultural group, Igala Vanguard called on aspirants to embrace the decision of KEEC in the interest of the state.
In a statement issued in Lokoja at thw weekend, spokesman of Igala Vanguard, Engineer Lawrence Akpa passed a vote of confidence on the decision of KEEC to trim down the multiple number of governorship aspirants.
Akpa stated that the resolution of KEEC will ensure good leadership and progress of the area. He advised other strong contenders from the two main political parties to abide by the decision of the Elders Council as they have earlier pledged to do in order to avoid needless acrimony.
“With bad governance and leadership ineptitude staring Kogi state in the face, it is imperative to succumb to the patriotic arrangement and outcome of the Kogi East elders.
“We call on opinion leaders, stakeholders and top political gladiators to prevail on the multiple aspirants to sheath their swords in the interest of Kogi East so as to attract more development and new leadership in the state.
“It will be a disservice to the people of Igala nation and the entire state to go against the decision of such a highly respected body,” he said.
He appealed to other contestants for the Kogi top job to be mindful of the selfless nature of their ambitions and not to allow personal decisions override that of the public.