Kogi PDP sees triumphal return to Lugard House
Although the 2019 governorship election in Kogi State is still more than one year and six months away, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is already basking in the dream of possible ‘victory’. The party said it cannot be cajoled by pretenses and arranged recall which it claimed was sponsored by the state government to get at Senator Melaye.
It would be recalled that the verification exercise during the attempted recall fetched a paltry 5.34 percent short of the 51 percent required to scale up to the next stage of the process, which was the referendum.
Consequently, PDP has been immersed in the euphoria of the botched recall, claiming it was at the instance of the party’s prompting that voters shunned the exercise. As such the leaders believe the next governorship election in the state would follow the same pattern, reiterating that the state has been a PDP state from the beginning.
At a luncheon cum award ceremony in honour of some leaders and legislators of the state, PDP utilized every opportunity to showcase its organizational capacity and leadership prowess, which it is perfecting to bring back in the state.
The occasion simulated another homecoming for most of the party leaders, who trooped to the venue to showcase their commitment to the party, including former governors Ibrahim Idris, Idris Wada and his former deputy, Yomi Awoniyi and other heavy weights. Kogi PDP believes APC’s greatest undoing was the deliberate refusal to utilize the bailout funds, which its (PDP) government initiated, to offset workers’ outstanding salary arrears, which was denied by federal might for political exigencies then.
It should be noted that just before the 2015 election, when the window of opportunity to offset outstanding salary arrears was opened for states with difficulties over payment of workers salaries, the immediate past governor, Capt. Idris Wada, showed interest.
The state got the highest approval of N50.8b, because of its very low debt profile. However, the political rigmarole that trailed the original goodwill continued and the Wada administration could not secure the bailout, which partially contributed to his loss of the election.So, immediately Governor Bello came in, the first tranche of the bailout fund was released to him, but the hope of the workers, who were owed close to 21 months; were dashed.
PDP observed that after so much propaganda about a phantom civil service reform that took almost two years to verify civil servants, many workers lost their lives to accidents, kidnappings, and even armed robbery attacks.
Former Governor Idris declared that APC’s clueless governance at the centre and the woeful performance of the party in the state have done the campaigning for PDP, saying that will make it easy return to Luguard House come 2019.Idris spoke shortly after he bagged an award of excellence conferred on him by the forum of former PDP lawmakers in the state. Idris said: “The suffering Kogi people are passing through, ranging from non-payment of workers’ salaries and pensions, to lack of infrastructural development were enough for the PDP to flush out APC leadership in the state come 2019.”
The former governor noted that every member of the party must have learnt one lesson or the other in the past few years they have been out of government, adding that the mistakes that led to failure in 2015 governorship election will not repeat themselves again.Idris added that Kogi electorates having tasted the other side of life, have come to the realization that PDP has their interest at heart, stressing, “We are confident that the party will return to power in the state next year, judging by the enthusiasm with which party members gathered here today.
“It shows we are ready to return power to the people of the state,” he said adding that the party need to galvanize the members as a united people to be able fight from a common front.He reiterated the need for PDP to make good use of opportunities opened for them to regain power from the ruling APC, even as he urged party faithful to remain united and work for the success of the party in 2019 general election.
On his part, the immediate past governor, Capt. Wada, who also received an award, revealed that the party lost the last election to wrong perception of his administration’s performance.
The former governor added that federal might played a crucial role in the loss of the governorship seat to the APC and other elections in 2015, adding that rather than alleged non-performance, his administration suffered communication problems as its good intentions were misconstrued.He however, said the unfolding scenario in the state in the last two years and half has shown that the PDP did well under his administration, adding: “We must ensure that we put forward people of unquestionable character, we must unite behind whoever wins the primaries and we must not allow elections to divide us.”
Immediate past deputy governor, Architect Yomi Awoniyi, said that the event was organized by the Forum of Kogi State House of Assembly members, both former and serving, of PDP extraction speaks volumes.Awoniyi said the legislature is what distinguishes democratic governance in Nigeria from any other form of governance, stressing that it is so heartwarming that the PDP gathered to celebrate its members, who had remained steadfast.He said: “They used the opportunity to appreciate our leader who have continued to pilot the affairs of the party especially Alhaji Ibrahim Idris and Captain Idris Wada. “With the coming together of the party this way, being the first time all the stakeholders of the party are coming together under one roof it shows that PDP is on the march again.
“The Kogi electorate now has the benefit of comparing the PDP administration and the current one. I think it is quite clear that the experiences we had and the lessons learnt, PDP will surely return to Lugard house.”The two former governors along with 15 others, including the party’s present national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbodinyon, were honoured with Sen. A. T. Ahmed receiving posthumous award.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Forum of Former PDP lawmakers in the state, Mr. Henry Ojuola, in his welcome address, stated that the time is now ripe for PDP to restrategise in its plan to regain power from APC as a result of the current hardship the people are passing through.He expressed the forum’s dissatisfaction with the leadership of APC at both the state and national levels, which he described as that of monumental failure.
Ojuola pointed out that after almost three years of the APC at the State and National level the PDP’S achievements cannot be matched as it remain unrivaled adding that the party was sure-footed to regain power come 2019.
“For us we sympathize with the people of the state; citizens, civil servants and pensioners, who are going through hardship and the worst level of poverty to be experienced since the creation of the State.“Our consolation however, is that without mincing words, following the widespread rejection of APC led administration in the State due to its dismal performance the PDP is no doubt set to take over the Lugard House in 2019.” He pointed out that since the period is that of rampant defections, cross carpeting, particularly among the legislators at the state and national levels, because the party was no longer in power, the occasion was timely to serve as impetus for PDP members.
“In view of the above considerations, this forum considered it necessary today to commend and honour our present legislators, both at the National and State level for their steadfastness, commitment and inspite of current challenges, financial inducement, and harassment by the powers that be, they have decided not to defect from the party.” He said.
Ojuola advised the PDP to avoid impunity, adding that the party should have the courage to sanction and discipline members no mater how highly placed, even as he admonished the party to choose credible candidates for the national and state Assemblies for the 2019 general election.He stated: “Now that we are in opposition, the party should try as much as possible to avoid unnecessary primary elections, which will always result in disaffection among party members. “It is our believe that such process would prevent the candidates who will not be loyal to the party from emerging as Assembly Members who will later turn around to decamp to other parties at the time they are mostly needed.”