The recent announcement by the INEC that governorship election in Kogi would be conducted in November has increased the tempo of political activity in the confluence state,Joseph Amedu, in Lokoja
With the INEC announcing the political programmes for the governorship election in Kogi state, the gladiators in the game have started working round the clock on strategies that could make them saleable to win the minds of the electorates in the state. Though the incumbent governor of the state, Capt. Idris Wada is yet to make his intention known to the public, by his current foot-print, he may be working towards making himself saleable for a second term consideration by the people of the state.
For the opposition All Progressives Congress and the Conference for Political Parties, CPP, the game in town is politics as members and supporters adopt strategies to position themselves for the coming poll. Speaking in obvious reference to ex-governor, Abubakar Audu who many believe may be a hard sell for the governorship if adopted by the APC, given his bad record with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the All Progressive Congress Youth Arise Movement in Kogi state has warned against any form of imposition in favour of any anointed candidate during the party’s primaries that would produce its flag bearer for the governorship election in the state slated for November 21st this year.
The youth leader of the movement, Edward Onoja gave the warning at a press conference in Lokoja to declare the endorsement of the aspiration of Alhaji Yahaya Bello to run for the governorship position of the state under APC by the youths who are in support of the party across the three senatorial districts of the state.
“We will resist vehemently within the ambit of the constitutional provisions of our great party and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria anything less than clear democratic principles in the emergence of our party’s standard bearer and we will consider it an act of impunity” Onoja maintained. “As democrats, we owe unwavering allegiance to the Democratic Process by ensuring its transparency devoid of manipulation and representative of the popular will.
We ought to borrow a leave from the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari through presidential primaries that was adjudged as the best since the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria” Onoja also asserted. He described Yahaya Bello as a detribalized Kogite whose potentials if given the opportunity to rule the state is capable of ensuring a united Kogi State irrespective of tribal, political and religious differences. According to Onoja “We are not proponents of ethnic power shift but a generational power shift.
Our commitment to this is iron cast hence our endorsement of Yahaya Bello by youhs of the APC, hoping that our elders would follow suit and place the future of our dear state above personal interest”. The youth leader also admonished the political gladiators in the to play the game by its rules and guide their ulterances in course of their electioneering campaingns devoid of hate, rancor and acrimony.
Onoja further advised politicians to always base their campaingns on issues rather than insults and provocating and inflamatary statements. But another group loyal to Audu is threatening brimstone and fire. The group, Abubakar Audu Dynamic Net Work( AADNW), has appealed to delegates and party members of the All Progressive Congress( APC) in Kogi state to vote massively for the former governor of the state, prince Abubakar Audu for the sake of the down trodden and the unborn generations. Audu is one of the leading contenders for the exalted seat in the All Progressive Congress, APC in the state governorship election slated for November, 21st this year.
The group’s President, Comrade Moses Anyebe at the weekend said old age, power rotation or any agenda that some people may be planning to use to truncate the ambition of the former governor may not be necessary adding that such sentiments are evil and can not give the state good roads, better health care system, effective and efficient youth empowerment scheme amongst others. The group said the state of economy has been too bad since 2003 when the former governor left office. He said so much trillions of money was squandered in the state since 2003 through impunity, lack of accountability and financial recklessness adding that many of the roads put in place by the Audu administration have since become death traps and several other social infrastructure can not be maintained.
But for the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Kogi state chapter , the first way to prepare for the demands ahead is by a house cleaning exercise which led to the dissolution of its Executive Committee (EXCO) under the leadership of Barrister Abubakar Aliyu over allegations of gross misconduct, embezzlement, unconstitutional acts and brazen impunity to the bi-laws and rules guiding the administration of the association. Addressing journalists in Lokoja yesterday, Hon Abubakar Ibrahim Danlami of Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), on behalf of 15 registered opposition political parties in Kogi state ,accused the ousted Chairman Barrister Aliyu of high handedness, total disregard for human dignity and a complete sell out to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Danlami further explained that Barrister Aliyu who was Chairman of United Progressives Party (UPP )before being elected as CNPP Chairman is now a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Idris Wada on Scholarship. “Barrister Aliyu has abandoned the CNPP and has almost turned it to an append age of government house and the PDP there by defeating the aims and objectives of the formation of a credible opposition that could check mate the ruling PDP in the state. Danladi who now heads the Care Taker Committee of CNPP pending the conduct of election into various positions has two other members Iliyasu Badanga and Samuel Aboh as Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
According to the new leadership, the CNPP will definitely make its mark in the next governor ship election as it will work hard to ensure the victory of the opposition. “We are going to struggle and campaign vigorously to defeat the ruling PDP that has squandered the good will of the people freely given to them with little or nothing to show for it”. The deposed Chairman, Barrister Abubakar Aliyu who reacted to his removal, said no body can remove him rather those that plotted against him have been suspended from CNPP and will be dealt with if they did not stay out of the affairs of the conglomerate of political parties in the state.
The UNION was reliably informed that the matter is being investigated by the police to find lasting solution to the crisis. In an interview with The UNION former founding Managing Editor of NEWSWATCH Magazine, Yakubu Mohammed said he was in the race. He said he almost clinched the ticket in 2011 but had to heed the plea of Kogi elders to step down for the current governor Wada, even after the same elders had anointed him.
Currently aspiring to run on the platform of the APC, he said he was sure he would get the ticket Since coming on board as governor, Captain Idris Wada has ensured that prudence and accountability remains his watchwords. The state under his stewardship has received between N3.5 billion to N3.7 billion on the average since 2012. The governor on assumption of office met a paltry N150million as internally generated revenue. The efforts by the governor through measures he put in place has now moved the IGR to about N600 million monthly.
Today and amidst the drop, Kogi State has a better rating as it relates to the payment of salaries with a wage bill of N3.2 billion monthly, as well as one of the highest paid states in Nigeria. For example, the Lokoja trailer and modern motor park, the remodeled Kogi hotels, the diagnostic and imaging centre, Lokoja and the seventeen storey. Kogi House in Abuja when completed will rake in revenue for the government. Similarly, a look at most of the projects shows that they are those with direct bearing on the lives of the people.
Projects such as the 500 housing estate at crusher and ganaja, the Otokiti – Ganaja bye pass, the welcome to Lokoja road, through to the international market and the reticulation of Greater Lokoja Water works to all adjoining towns of Lokoja as well as the upgrading of 35 water schemes across the state, some of the projects funded by the bond, are all having direct impact on the lives of the people of the state.
For example, N1.6billion is needed to pay salaries of teachers in the state. The state received N1billion in March and April respectively to pay teachers. The saving grace that thus ensured that all the teachers get paid was to pro rata what was available. Though this did not go down well with teachers, generally everyone got something from what was available. Similarly, the twenty one local councils in the state and with a staff strength of about 26,500 need about N1.5billion to pay salaries. Unfortunately what came in from the federation account in April was not able to pay, little wonder the resort to the percentage payment, having come to terms with the realities.
The State for now is occupying a pride of place in the Agric map of the Country in its agriculture transformation. Captain Wada by all standard is no doubt a silent performer amidst the resources available. His exemplary style of good governance that has made the state a cynosure may not be appreciative to those who do not want the progress and development of the state, but when assessed against the international best practice, Kogi State ranks amongst states where best practices is the order of the day.
According to a PDP elder in the state: “From what Captain Wada’s ingenuity in these periods of economic realities has achieved, it shows that he is a leader that the state needs beyond 2016. Having Capt Wada beyond 2016 will ensure that economic policies and programmes that has stood the state out and as bail out in these period of Economic recession is consolidated upon. For now and under Capt Wada government business is no longer business as usual but a business that is unusual.”