Kogi west: The Melaye factor rankles APC, buoys PDP
Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, has made a declaration to dump the Ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The maverick senator has all odds working in his favour as he surmounts them one after the other. First, he survived a stage-managed recall process to remove him from the senate. That plot did not see the light of day, as the verification of signatures could only achieve 5.35per cent against the required 50. Having been abandoned by his own party APC, the PDP played a crucial role in mobilising it’s members in his support during the failed recall process. No wonder his nostalgia to return ‘home’ to PDP.
Just as some are excited over his return to PDP, those in rAPC are querying his electoral value for which the PDP is gloating. Chairman of a socio-political group Kogi West Elders Forum (KWEF), who is also a member of PDP, Hon. Shaibu Momoh, has warned the party against any attempt to impose Melaye as senatorial candidate of the party in Kogi West for 2019. The group has declared that its main objective is to present a credible candidate from Yagba axis, saying that they would resist imposition of any candidate by any group or individual.
“The news of an attempt to impose the controversial Senator as an automatic candidate for the 2019 is hereby rejected in its totality and is unacceptable.” According to the group, Melaiye comes from Ijumu local government area of kogi West that has produced 12 senators for the senatorial district, adding another four years will make it 16, while the rest six local government areas will still be waiting for their turn.
He stressed that the need for power shift to other local government areas has become inevitable, saying it has become a serious campaign issue.”Known aspirants have emerge from other areas excluding Ijumu in the PDP and they have been on the field carrying out their consultations and preparing their structures for the party primaries and spending huge sums.
“To now impose a strange candidate under a questionable reason will totally collapse all efforts by our highly respected leaders at rebuilding and rebranding the party in the state, thereby giving an opportunity and undue advantage to the opposition to outwit us.”The Chairman noted that Melaiye, as he stands today, was not an asset to PDP but a very big liability as he has no noticeable structure and following that can substantially win the election, such imposition could have consequences on PDP in the state.
“The result of his recall failure by Government backed agitators are not because of his political strength but rather it is the reflection of the wider rejection of APC, their policies, unpaid salaries, pensions and gratuities and ethnic coloration, not the love for senator Melaiye.
The party however denied it was giving automatic ticket to Melaye. It stated that it has not been directed to grant automatic ticket to any individual as rumoured in certain quarters. The party in a statement signed by the director of research and documentation, Achadu Dickson, described as false and misleading such information, even as it called on members to disregard the rumour.
The party in another statement said it has not rejected moves by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West/APC) to rejoin the party. Dickson, said the PDP denounced the statement that it rejected Sen. Melaye as false, misleading.He stated that the PDP is ready and willing to accept all its returning and new members. He said contrary to the misleading reports, Kogi PDP views Senator Melaye as a valuable asset to the party.
Dickson assured that all candidates of the party will emerge through free, fair and transparent party primaries. An APC stalwart Usman Seidu said for the moment in Kogi West Senatorial district, no candidate irrespective of party affiliation can defeat Melaye, saying his coming to PDP would be a plus for the party. According to him, before the coming of Melaye, PDP was a dead party in Kogi West and the state at large, so his joining the party would be a big boost as it would be revived.
He said ”No senator that represented the senatorial district since 1999 can match Melaye in terms of the number of projects he has done in three years. Some spent eight years but Melaye’s three years have set a new record.”He recalled that even senator Smart Adeyemi tried during his tenure to stop Lokoja from hosting the Federal University, but Melaye assumed office and decided to sponsor a bill to upgrade the Kabba College of Agriculture to a full- fledged university. He has carried out constituency projects in all the Local Governments under the senatorial district. He is seen as the messiah of Kogi workers, as he has been the only voice speaking against their repression by the State Government over unpaid salaries. If not for the senator, the civil servants in the state would have been forgotten, he said.
Seidu said Lokoja and Kogi Local Government would vote him massively irrespective of party affiliation, just to compensate him. He said from July 18 Melaye would be commissioning his projects in the district, thus making him a great asset for any party in the state as he has no rival, either in PDP or any other party for that matter.
“All what the people of Lokoja/KotoKarfe want is for him to get another term. With the present political statistics and voting strength it is Lokoja/KotonKarfe that decides who wins because we control the voting pattern and as we speak there is no aspirant from the two local Governments contesting against him.
Melaye’s campaign director general during the 2015 general election, who is also the rAPC National Vice Chairman North Central, Alhaji Mahmoud Abubakar, said many of the leaders of PDP have been calling on the Senator to come and join the party because they have seen him to be an asset to PDP. He said those saying no automatic ticket for Melaye are speaking from their personal point of view, not on behalf of the party. According to him, they have perfected their arrangement with the party, adding that Melaye’ s chances are brighter than ever before.
A former governorship candidate in the state who is now a stalwarts of the PDP said he has nothing against Senator Melaye and his decision to join the party, but that the party should allow due process to be observed. According to him, the party cannot afford to give any automatic ticket to any aspirant without primary election. He said it was imposition of candidates that created the crises that made the party to lose the 2015 election at the federal level and even in the state.
However, Francis Angulu an APC member, who claimed to be Melaye’s campaign driver, indicated that the split in APC is the beauty of democracy as such is bound to happen depending on individual’s choice. He said he cannot follow people dogmatically, adding that he still remains in the APC no matter who leads the party.
On the recent MOU between PDP, rAPC he said: “Most of those threatening to leave the party don’t have bearing in their constituencies, they have lost out. Whether they leave or remain in APC the party is not going to be affected as speculated. ”He said the issue of Melaye’s popularity should be taken with a pinch of salt as he is no longer relevant. ”Who is following Melaye now, those of us who stuck our necks out for him he never did anything for us, that is why we cannot go with him. He abandoned us after we voted and worked very hard for him and he won his election. It was Lokoja/ Kotonkarfe that gave Melaye the winning vote, Those who may still be clamoring for Melaye, that is their personal belief.
For me he has not done anything. Let him tell us what he has done in Lokoja/Kotonkarfe. Whatever he claims to have done could be SMG, NEMA projects, but not his own project. He could facilitate its coming but not his own project.
If he Contests in the next election he will fail woefully, because Governor Yahaya Bello’s foot soldiers would floor him.
There is great difference between Governor Bello and Melaye, because Bello empowered all those that worked for him and that is why you see all these small boys in his cabinet.
The people who worked for Bello are enjoying him, but those who worked for Melaye suffered for nothing as he did not do anything for them. That is why we have dumped
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