By JOSEPH AMEDU
IT is no longer news that one of the major hurdles for the November 16 governorship polls in Kogi state has 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 DemocraticParty (PDP), Engr Musa Wada in the Confluence State, Our Correspondent in Lokoja, Amedu Joseph writes on the chances of the two notable candidates.
Speaking to journalists after he was declared winner of the APC primaries, the incumbent Gov. Yahaya Bello promised that he would do better if returned to power come November 16 Guber contest.
Bello while claiming that his first outing in the leadership of Kogi state is quite satisfactory assured that he will consolidate on his previous tenure achievements if given the second mandate.
The PDP Guber 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 according to them include, the use of thugs by politicians for gunshots to scare voters from exercising their franchise, biased attitudes of the security agents and INEC in favour of a particular party or candidate, vote buying and intimidating amongst others as experienced in the previous elections.
The emergence of the incumbent governor of Kogi State ,Yahaya Adoza Bello as the flag bearer of APC and Musa Wada who is an engineer by profession and former staff of Nigeria Port Authority ,Lagos of PDP 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 by divine intervention of God after the sudden death of Late Prince Abubakar Audu who was coasting home victory in 2015 governorship election before his sudden demise.
Bello’s Advantages Over His Opponent
According to political observers Bello will rely on power of incumbency to retain the seat, secondly the battle will be between the centripetal and centrifugal forces as the All Progressive Congress can’t afford to lose Kogi State to balance the equation between the ruling Party and opposition party. He was said to have financial muscle to prosecute the political ambition. More so, the Ebiras are seemingly ready to support their own by voting for Bello come November 16th 2019 . He equally rely also on the two senators, seven House of Representatives members ,twenty five, members House of Assembly, commissioners and all political appointees from various districts 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
The Political pundits are of the opinion that what could have been an added advantage to the APC administration may work against the party during the forthcoming governorship election. Also the acclaimed none performance of Governor Bello in some quarters interns 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 critic 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 wouldn’t be cause for alarm, stressing that with the untold hardship foisted on them and their immediate families 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, average kogites believed that the state under Bello should have moved from what it used to be to where the state ought be. The state is still infrastructurally 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 schools as a result of non payment of salaries. Workers could no longer pay their bills, house rents, medical bills and the rest”, he added .
Chances of Musa Wada
Mr. Musa Wada is an engineer, green horn politician and new entrant into the murky water of politics. His emergence as PDP flag bearer still remains a big surprise to many political big wigs in the Peoples Democratic Party PDP including his brother, former governor Idris Wada who was also a contestant at the primaries including 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 node 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.
Observers of political events argued that Wada is good material and has financial war chest to prosecute his gubernatorial ambition .
They also stated that the opportunity has come to the people of Igala to fight back and reclaim its lost glory, adding that having lost seat of power last four years ,the people have been relegated to back ground.
They added that with population of about 54 percent and having highest number of registered voters in the state and good sensitization, Wada may spring another surprise in November governorship election. “The Political permutation now is if Musa picks his running mate from Okun axis the Yoruba speaking area of Western Senatorial district,will garner substantial votes from the west.
Different people with different opinion ,some people are of the view that Musa Wada has not acquired enough political experience . They claimed that Kogi State is in a mess that requires experience hands.
The question agitating the mind of kogites now is who wins the gubernatorial election ,Yahaya Bello or Musa Wada? . The electorate will definitely decide on November 16th, 2019.