AS candidates gunning for senatorial seats in three senatorial zones in Kogi State continue to strategise, making final push to ensure they emerge victorious at the coming National Assembly election on March 28, Wale Ibrahim looks at their chances.
Ahead of March 28 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, dutifully cleared party candidates across the three senatorial districts of Kogi State to contest the three seat at the Senate.
Prior to this time, it was serious battle between aspirants before final emergence of candidates who will fly the flag of various political parties in the coming National Assembly election on March 28 in the state.
The process and emergence of candidates had not only left scares in the minds of aspirants, but also led to massive defection of aggrieved aspirants and supporters from one party to the other as a result of what they described as injustices meted out by the party hierarchy. Interestingly though, different political party hierarchy, have continued to make efforts to reconcile the aggrieved members to ensure total victory at the polls.
Be that as it may, the battle lines may have been drawn. In the Confluence state, one would have concluded that it is a walk over for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but the mass defections of some political gladiators to All Progressive Congress, APC, Labour Party, LP, Accord and Social Democratic Party, SDP, may have polarised the winning streak of the ruling party as the defectors have vowed to work against PDP.
In Kogi West senatorial district, the battle line has been drawn between the serving Senator Smart Adeyemi of PDP, Dino Melaye of APC, Samuel Bamidele Aro of Accord who is arrow head of Yagba Agenda, Abidemi Adeyemi of LP and Toyin Akanle of SDP who is also rooting for Yagba people to clinch the Kogi West senatorial seat at the National Assembly.
The political pundits have argued that a lot of factors will be considered for emergence of winner of the seat, adding that the coming election will be a different ball game because of the present political awareness.
The incumbent Senator Adeyemi, who is seeking re-election for the third term is said to be a candidate to beat. This followed his outstanding performance at the floor of the Senate and quality representation in the last eight years. Even all his opponents are quick to agree that Senator Adeyemi has done very well as he empowered both youths and women across his constituency.
His only albatross is the issue of rotation, which Yagba people are laying claim to, insisting that it is their turn to go to the Senate. However, with numbers of candidates from other parties eyeing the same spot, the Yagba claim may not be feasible as it may be to the advantage of the incumbent.
Sources told National Mirror that at present, the electorate may not vote along party affiliation but on the credibility of individual candidates, this signifies that there may be a lot of surprises during National Assembly election in Kogi State.
The former House of Representative member, Hon. Dino Melaye, who is from Ijumu Local Government Area, the same local government with Senator Adeyemi, will be flying APC flag. Dino was said to be one of the most vibrant members of the National Assembly between 2007 – 2011and is considered to have bright chance of springing a surprise.
Though for many political observers in the state, his alleged role during the APC primaries, where he was accused of hijacking election materials and later declared himself winner of the Kogi West senatorial ticket, is not a pleasant one.
Melaye, believed to be an apostle, firm believer of justice and right activist, recently insisted that there was never a time the Okuns agreed on rotation.
The Accord candidate, Hon. Samuel Bamidele Aro was once a member of House of Representatives and was said to have been adopted by Yagba to achieve Yagba Agenda, after Tolorunju Joseph Faniyi, lost at PDP primary to his political arch rival, Senator Adeyemi.
National Mirror learnt that after initial disqualification saga, he dumped APC for the Accord party to realise his ambition of wining the Kogi West senatorial seat.
Aro was said to be an oil magnate and has financial war chest to prosecute his ambition. Sources hinted that as part of efforts to capture Lokoja/Koton Karfe, he was said to have appointed a serving member of House of Representatives as his anchor man. However, it is believed that it would have been a walk over for Aro, had he picked APC ticket.
Also in the race, is a member of Kogi State House of Assembly, Adeyemi, who was said to have hurriedly dumped APC and pick LP ticket. Said to be very young and vibrant at the floor of the state House of Assembly, he would need to go extra miles to win the seat.
For Akanle, who has just made foray into murky water of Kogi State politics, he is in the race to prove a point but the present political probability may not work for a relatively unknown party like SPD unless the Yagba gives him the bloc votes.
In Kogi Central senatorial district, at least seven candidates will be battling for the seat. Although Kogi Central used to be the traditional home of PDP, feelers have it that the battle will be between PDP and APC candidates.
Those jostling for Kogi Central senatorial seat are the immediate past chairman of Okene Local Government, Hammed Shalihu Ogembe, PDP, former Senator Mohammed Ohiare, APC, the incumbent Senator Nurudeen Abatemi, PPA, Chief Moses Wokili, SDP and Abdulmalik Attah, LP.
Opinion are however divided on who wins the race in Kogi Central, some observers are of the view that because of Ogembe consistency in PDP, he may likely clinch all the PDP votes in the senatorial district while others believe that the rising tide of APC and the experience of its candidate, Ohiare as a onetime senator, will give him an edge over his PDP rivals.
In Kogi East senatorial district, the emergence of the incumbent Senator Attai Aidoko is still causing ripples among the other contenders, Abdullahi Abubarka, APC, Ibrahim Itodo, LP. Observers believe it will be a straight contest between PDP and APC.
The feelers from Igalaland, indicates that people are still not happy about the way and manner the incumbent senator emerged as PDP candidate during the party’s senatorial primary.
However, the question of who wins the race in three senatorial districts depends largely on the electorate, who will decide base on conscience, inducement and gratifications which have become order of the day in Nigerian politics.