Ahead of the November 21 2015 governorship election in Kogi state, the ruling People’s Democratic Party in the state is not relenting in making concerted efforts to put its house in order so as to avert the pitfall that consumed the party during the last presidential and national assembly elections resulting to its lost of all the senatorial seats and securing only three out of nine house of representatives seats at the National Assembly.
The first step towards fulfilling that intention was the landmark achievement recorded at the weekend by the party in the successful conduct of its repeat Ward and State Congresses. The general acceptance the event attracted goes to prove that the party is serious to put its house on a sound footing to avoid another political calamity befalling it at the governorship polls. It would be recalled that the earlier party’s congresses which were greeted with petitions from some members of the party led to its cancellation ordering for a repeat of the election to ensure more transparent exercise that would be acceptable to all.
Governor Idris Wada while inaugurating the newly elected 17-member-state working committee of PDP at the Glass House of Government House, Lokoja, congratulated them for their well deserved victory with a charge that they should strive to unite all the members as people of the same family.
The governor also stressed the need for the new executive of the party in the state to urgently move for the reconciliation of all members in view of the enormous tasks ahead especially now that the governorship election is around the corner. “We have a big task to counter more so as the opposition APC is bent to dislodge the ruling PDP that has been privileged to govern the state in the last 13years. We must work very hard to retain Kogi as PDP state” the governor advised. Wada expressed appreciation to the North Central Zonal Working Committee for their impact in making the repeat congress a reality to the satisfaction of all the PDP stakeholders in the state.
He equally commended the former state chairman of PDP, Hassan Salawu and his members for sustaining the stability of the party in the state in the last six years affirming that they have ended well in steering the ship of leadership and wished them all the best in their future endeavours. Capt. Wada further thanked all the PDP members and supporters of the party for their contributions towards the growth of the party in the state urging them to sustain the tempo.
Earlier, the former state chairman of. PDP, Hassan Salawu admonished the new executive not to be arm chair leaders but to prove itself as a vibrant one capable of delivering the party to the promised land especially during the upcoming governorship election in November 21 this year. Salawu was of the view that governor Idris Wada’s performance in the areas of human and infrastructural development is enough to sell the party to emerge victorious at the governorship polls.
With the successful conduct of the PDP Ward and State congresses and barring any further complain, all is now set for the PDP governorship primaries in Kogi State ahead of the November 21 governorship election. Kogi State had been a PDP controlled state since 1999 until its lost some ground in the Presidential and National Assembly election. A blow that almost changed the initial thinking until the party recovered in the State Assembly election.
The media it would be recalled had been abuzz with sponsored opinion about the Kogi PDP and several attempts to make the Governor, Capt Idris Wada seen as one without firm political control of the party. Furthermore his ability to win the next governorship election if given the ticket was raised. But alas the recent development after the congresses has changed the wrong perception. It would be recalled that the NWC of the PDP had announced that “after a careful review of the reports of the Congress Committee and Appeal Committee which held in respect of the three-man Adhoc Delegates Ward Congresses in Kogi state on June 27, 2015 decided to cancel the exercise.”
The National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, while announcing the cancellation said, “The participation of a ‘Local Organising Committee’, which is unknown to the Constitution of the Party and the Guidelines marred the congresses. “ C o n s e – quently, a new 3-Man Adhoc Delegates Ward Congresses was scheduled for the 14th of July 2015.” He had declared. But while in Lokoja during the repeat conduct of the Ward and State delegate congress of the party, Metuh commended the peaceful and orderly conduct of the delegates, said the party is on course in the state.
Metuh who lamented the earlier cancellation, said the enthusiasm displayed by members to follow the rules to the later shows that the party has what it takes to win the state in the forth coming governorship. According to Metuh, the superlative performance of the PDP led administration in the state remains unrivaled, saying a victory in the forth coming governorship election will enable the government complete all the legacy projects it has initiated.
Chief Metuh, who also doubles as Chairman of the congress committee, led other delegation of the NWC and the North Central Leadership of the PDP to the state, said the repeat congress was geared towards giving fair hearing to some aggrieved interest, said the party’s stand in the new dispensation after its loss in the general election, allows for fairness, and apologized for the inconveniences the earlier cancellation may have caused the members.
He urged the members of the PDP in the State not to allow the harassment and intimidation by the government in the centre to dampen their resolve to retain the state in the forth coming governorship election, said the repeat ward and state congress was necessitated by the need to give all contending forces in the party a sense of justice and fair hearing. C h i e f Metuh, described the decision to repeat the Ward Congress as the new vision of the party to carry every one along after its lost in the general election, urged members to put the party’s interest in mind, disclosed that power belongs to God.
He assured that due process would henceforth be followed in the party’s Ward and State congresses across the country, expressed confidence that the party in Kogi State would after the repeat congress come out more united and prepared for the task to win the forth coming governorship election.
The governor of the State, Capt. Idris Wada in an address used the occasion to eulogized the peaceful conduct of the Ward and State delegate election, said the rancour-free conduct signify a ‘change’ within the party that will change the history of the party in the State. The delegate election was adjudged by Gov Wada as the first election conducted free and fair in the state with less rancor and acrimony, praised members for their resolve to entrench internal democracy. Other elections in the past the governor explained had always ended in chaos or postponement, thus leading to quarrel or protest over consensus candidates forced on the party by political gladiators, described the just concluded congresses as exceptional and a plus for the party.
Wada while still praising the outcome of the congress said the free hand given to the party members to elect their delegates and vote for the executive members of their choices is reason for the free and fair conduct of the congress. According to him, “Now we have party executives who are eager to show what they can contribute to the party. We are very happy that the Ward congress went peacefully and rancour free as no single person wrote a petition against the congress. There was a level playing field for every body.”
Capt Wada, described Kogi PDP as one big family, and appealed to members to abide by the outcome of congress towards ensuring a successful outing for the party in the governorship election. The governor commended the NWC for their interest in ensuring that the PDP in the state remains united, tasked members to work for the collective interest of the party and to shun issues that would not foster togetherness.
Wada who still maintained silence on whether he will contest for a second term or not; said people should wait till when the party rolls out its timetable for collection of governorship forms and see if he will pick the forms or not. Earlier in a welcome remarks, Adejoh Obaje, the former state publicity secretary of the party described Kogi State as home of the PDP, said the cancelled congress was not only credible, said the state PDP has put behind it the sad episode of the cancellation and was ready to repeat the congress in line with the stipulated guidelines by the party.
For now Capt Idris Wada the incumbent governor, Mohammed Ali and Alh Jibrin Isah, the winner of the January, 2011 primaries are those fingered to have their eyes on the governorship ticket. The last cancellation followed an alleged petition from one of the mentioned aspirant, who felt the governor had a better advantage after the ward congress, thus cried foul and called for a repeat.
The repeat congress adjudged by many as the best ever conducted in the state for its transparency and the level playing field created, may have come and gone with Engr Sam Uhuetu from central axis elected as Chairman, Sam Abenemi , Deputy Chairman, Yahaya Farouk, from east Secretary, Engr Bello, from west Treasurer and others elected to drive the affairs of PDP for another four years as a milestone. Furthermore, the presence of the NWC in the state for four days also enabled the members to have fruitful interaction with relevant stakeholders towards repositioning the party for victory in the weeks ahead.
The outcome of the congress, which was considered fruitful by several PDP stakeholders for the corporate unity of the party, showed that the governor is politically in charge of affairs and remains a rallying point to galvanize members for the party’s victory in November. The NWC before departing the state promised during the visit that it would conduct free and transparent primaries that will enable the party to pick its governorship flag bearer. This, Metuh explained is the new direction and thinking of the party to be due process compliant.
The congress in the eyes of many observers has no doubt followed due process and best practices a departure from what used to be the norm in the past. The peaceful and orderly conduct of the congress put paid to fears that the party after the defeat it suffered in March has bounced back and set to maintain its hold on the state’s politics. What happened at the Ward and State Congress has once again heighten the confidence that the governorship primaries will also no doubt be acceptable to interested parties. High point of the visit to the state by the NWC members, was visit to some completed and on going projects in the state. The team commended the prudent use of resources by the governor, lauding his efforts in the payment of salaries to workers. The state as at the time of their visit had paid June salaries.
-Joseph Amedu in Lokoja who covered the recent rerun PDP congress in the state reports that the rancor-free event may have signaled the rebirth of the party and positioned it to face the coming governorship polls with the deserved strength.