Leke Abejide’s victory unsettles Kogi’s political calculations
For the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State, there is no gainsaying the fact that their quiver is full having conquered in almost all the contests in the 2019 general elections, which they planned to deliver 100 per cent to the party. However, Kogi West became their greatest undoing where they lost the senate seat to Senator Dino Melaye of PDP, two House of Representatives seats at Yagba Federal Constituency and Kabba/Bunu to Leke Abejide and Tajudeen Yusuf of ADC and PDP respectively.
In all other positions for contest in Kogi East and Central Senatorial Districts, APC won all elections. For the State House of Assembly election, it was all 25 seats for the APC. However, the victory of Hon. Leke Abejide on the platform of the African Democratic Party (ADC) came as a bolt from the blues that has kept unsettling APC. It has brought about some incoherent vituperation from the party.
Against every permutation by the leading political parties (APC and PDP), ADC’s candidate won the February 23, House of Representative election with 17,599 votes to defeat his rivals – APC, Deacon Henry Tuesday Abimbola, who scored 12,480 and PDP, Barrister James Bola Fabola, who polled 11,679 to represent the people of Yagba Federal Constituency.
And Ijumu APC leaders, in explaining away their failure to win the Yagba Federal Constituency seat, which they lost to ADC, which is barely known in the state, have accused Hon. James Faleke, member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency on the platform of APC at the lower chamber of anti-party activities in Kogi during the just concluded general elections.
Faleke, who was running mate to the late Prince Abubakar Audu, the governorship candidate of APC in the November 21, 2015 governorship election, hails from Ekirin-Adde in Ijumu LGA of Kogi State. He had declined to continue as running mate to Governor Yahaya Bello after the party chose him to replace the late Audu with whom he had contested the 2015 governorship election on a joint ticket.
Faleke had challenged the emergence of Bello as against himself being declared as Governor-elect at the tribunal through to the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court, where Bello’s victory was upheld. Since then he had transferred his voters card back to his Ikeja Federal Constituency, where he won a return ticket for the third time.
The allegation against Faleke was contained in an open letter addressed to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu and APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a copy made available to The Guardian in Lokoja. The letter, which was jointly signed by Ijumu LGA APC chairman, S.B. Abejide, Secretary, Mallam Yekini Agunbiade, Youth Leader, Ibitayo Kehinde and Ijumu LGA Administrator, Taufiq Isah accused Faleke of sponsoring House of Representatives candidate Leke Abejide under the platform of African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Yagba Federal Constituency during the National Assembly election.
The party leaders said they have “clear evidence” that Faleke is a strong backbone behind the activities of ADC in the state and equally worked against APC’s candidates from West Senatorial District in the elections.
“We urge APC in Lagos, national headquarters in Abuja to watch closely what goes on as we are happy this happened to erode every doubt about what we had already known because Faleke has been the sole sponsor of ADC in Kogi State,” part of the letter said.
“We, therefore, call on the leadership of the party to, as a matter of urgency investigate according to the rules and regulations of the party in order to avoid future occurrence.”
While reacting, Faleke described the allegations as “ranting of failed people”, saying APC lost to other parties in the area because of its failed promises. He urged the party executives to do self-examination and find out the real reason APC lost to candidates of other parties in the area.
According to Faleke, “Was our contribution to APC’s victory recognised by the beneficiaries in the state? The so-called Executives in Ijumu lacked capacity to think and mobilize the people because of failed promises. So, if the people voted for another party while I was busy campaigning for my election in my constituency in Lagos, what is my business in APC Kabba Ijumu Federal Constituency? My shadows will continue to hunt them until the people are happy.
“Maybe I should remind them that when good governance eludes the people, the people revolt, just as it happened in so many states of the country in the last elections and the pending rerun. When government takes people for granted, there is always a judgment day at the polls.
“Before I came to Kogi in 2015, I had not played politics in the state before, but within three months, we turned things around in favour of APC. Today, it is certain the people are not happy; they decided to go back to their original party which was PDP before 2015.”
Also, media consultant to the House of Representatives member-elect, Jacob Ajekaiye, could not hold back on allegations that Abejide, the popularly elected representative of the people of Yagba Federal Constituency, was sponsored by Hon. James Falake. According to him, “Honourable Leke Abejide is too profound to be sponsored by anybody.”
In a statement, which was signed by Jacob Ajakaye and made available to The Guardian, he said “Honourable Abejide’s attention has been drawn to a mischievous document in circulation authored by some individuals purported to be leaders of the All Progressive Party (APC) in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State entitled “APC accuses federal lawmaker of anti-party activities in Kogi. He said Honourable Abejide, ordinarily does not see any reason to join issue with the group of lowly rated, disgruntled and jobless individuals parading themselves as politicians in Ijumu or any other place in Kogi State.
“The African Democratic Congress (ADC), which he nurtured from inception to a position of strength which culminated in its victory over established political parties in Kogi State, has no relationship whatsoever with Hon. James Falake or any other person or persons for that matter.”
He indicated that Abejide as a very successful businessman is capable of sponsoring himself, adding that he sponsored/inaugurated ADC party in Yagba Federal Constituency and single-handedly sponsored all other State Assembly candidates of the party in Yagba land.
“Hon. Abejide has always enjoyed the goodwill and support of Yagba Federal Constituency through his over six years unprecedented empowerment programs for widows, less privileged, students, youth and the aged spread across Yagba land and that alone earned him the
landslide victory at the last National Assembly election In Yagba land.
“The sponsorship allegation at its best can be described as the figment of imagination of some few demented souls in Kogi APC who are already jittery of their diminishing popularity occasioned by failure of governance of APC in the state.”
Rather than being a beneficiary of anybody’s sponsorship, it is an open secret that before now, Honourable Abejide was a major financier of APC in Kogi state while governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello was still in the Labour Party.
“Abejide is too big to be sponsored by anybody; his election was facilitated chiefly by the Supreme Being, and the solid and steady relationship he has cultivated over time with the good people of his constituency, and from others through his numerous active public-spirited programmes.
“It is only individuals suffering from grand illusion that will attribute his hard-earned electoral victory to Faleke, who hails from Ijumu Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Federal Sonstituency, where ADC lost to APC. It is known fact that Hon. Abejide is from Yagba Federal Constituency, where APC lost to ADC with a wide margin. So, where is the correlation in this illogical argument from the errant boys of the government of Kogi State?”
Although Abejide was a former staunch member of APC, he quit with a mass of other members when it became obvious that they could no longer call APC their home. They were aggrieved because they worked with late prince Abubakar Audu, the then candidate of the party in the 2015 election, who won by defeating the incumbent, Governor Idris Wada.
However, Audu gave up the ghost while coasting to victory, polling an unassailable lead in the election. The party leadership zeroed in on the first runner up in the primary for the 2015 election in Yahaya Bello to replace and inherit late prince
Audu’s votes. Bello’s emergence rather than unite the party created divisions and since then, APC in Kogi has not been the same as those who worked for the party’s victory were sidelined.
Funny enough, the people who now control the party and government in Kogi State were not part of the struggle for that popular victory. Worse still, they did not recognise the contributions of the people who made it happen. It was why Elder Abejide and his supporters decided to move over to a credible alternative, a gap ADC has filled. Abejide’s victory did not come on a platter of gold.
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