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Kogi guber election: APC, PDP in war of words

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Yahaya Bello. Photo: Twitter/lugardhouse


Soon after Kogi Governor Yahaya Bello’s declaration for a second term, there has been serious opposition from his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic party (PDP).PDP has been very consistent in its move to frustrate Bello’s reelection bid, based on its stance that Bello does not deserve a second term in office due alleged abysmal performance.

The party’s state Publicity Secretary, Prince Bode Ogunmola told The Guardian in Lokoja that Governor Bello failed to develop the state’s infrastructure, and had become insensitive to the people’s plights, especially civil servants, who he said were owed several months salary arrears.

The party also said it would do everything possible to ensure that Bello did not return for a second term. Ogunmola said there wouldn’t be an escape route for APC and Bello in the coming governorship election, considering his party’s level of preparation.

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He said: “The decision is in the people’s hands, whether they want to continue with a government that has been maltreating them or not. But even if they use federal might, this time around, the power is returning to PDP. The people of Kogi have tasted it and they can now tell which party is real.”

Explaining some of the moves PDP had taken to wrest power from APC, Ogunmola said his party had zoned its governorship ticket to the Igala zone, in a bid to overwhelm the incumbency factor. The decision was to also allow Igala zone to complete their own second term before another zone take over.He debunked rumour of an ongoing misunderstanding in the party ahead the coming governorship election.

However, an APC chieftain and factional chairman, Alhaji Haddy Ametuo, said PDP does not have what it takes to take over power from APC.“Despite little issues, APC is still loved by the indigenes, who will not choose to return to slavery under PDP. APC is still the party to beat in the country and Kogi State,” he said.

But PDP insisted Kogi APC had lost relevance under Governor Bello, and that the incumbent governor was only waiting for another bailout fund to scale up his looting agenda. He warned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to compromise the elections by releasing the fund, as it would be a great disservice to the suffering people of Kogi.

Similarly, Abubakar Ibrahim Idris, a frontline PDP aspirant, and son of former Governor Ibrahim Idris, said the PDP had all it takes to uproot Bello from Lugard House.The Coordinator, Rescue Mission for Admiral Jibril Usman (rtd) in Kogi State, Comrade Daniel Isah, charged APC leadership to do a character analysis of the party’s governorship aspirants to ensure it gives the ticket to the best candidate.

He noted that in 2015, the state APC leader, the late Prince Abubakar Audu, together with his supporters, unseated then incumbent governor to rescue the state from the maladministration of the PDP-led government.He said: “In 2015, we did all humanly possible to unseat the incumbent governor. God Almighty gave us victory, but at the gate of Government House, God Almighty shut the gate. As human beings, we still have to thank Him.

God has again given us another opportunity to kick-start another rescue mission. The government in power has failed Kogi people, and for us to get it right, we have to bring a very good and strong candidate on board, who will emerge the next governor.“Such a person should be able to put APC’s true manifesto on the table and implement it, so that the people will smile again. The welfare of Kogi people will be priority.”

However, the recent endorsement of Bello by the Forum of Permanent Secretaries in the state appears to be another boost for the Governor.The body described Bello’s civil service reforms as progressive, saying the governor deserved support for a second term to enable him consolidate on his numerous achievements.

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The Forum chairman, Jibrin Okeme, made this known after the body’s meeting with the Special Adviser on Local Government and chieftaincy affairs, Abubakar Ohere, in Lokoja, last Tuesday.The group said the civil service reform had positively repositioned the state for better performance and effective service delivery.

The chairman, represented by the Forum’s spokesman, Abubakar Akowe, said the promotion in the civil service had been without tribalism and inefficiency. Okeme assured the governor of their maximum support in moving the state forward adding, “We are in the same boat with Governor Bello. Wherever he goes, we will go with him.”

The Forum noted that as challenging as the reforms might be, the inherent gains couldn’t be quantified, insisting that the benefit would outlive the pains.From all indications, Governor Bello will not find his re-election bid very easy. For him, the first hurdle would be to secure the APC ticket. The last governorship election across the country was an eye-opener for APC, and it may not be willing to take a chance in the coming election.

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