#KogiGovRace: The game, the players – By Fanwo Kingsley

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Since the creation of Kogi State, never has the stake on who occupies the historic seat of government, Lugard House, been this tense.
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In 1992, the triumph of Prince Abubakar Audu as the first elected governor of the state was truncated by the military take take-over in November, 1993.
On the return to democracy in 1999, Prince Audu was to make a bold return as the governor of the state on the banner of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP which is one of the parties that has now merged to form the All Progressives Congress, APC.
His bid for re-election in 2003 was, however, lost in the hands of the industrialist, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris who came on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Ever since his 2003 defeat, Audu has continued to contest and lose every governorship election. He is in the race again to vie for the ticket of the opposition APC in the forthcoming governorship election. The PDP has continued to hold sway in the state since 2003.
Interest in contest
Analysts are looking forward to an unprecedented political tempo ahead of the November 21, 2015 governorship poll in the Confluence State. The sparkled interest in the contest is informed by a number of factors.
First, there has been great apprehension in the PDP camp over the abysmal performance of the party during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections. But the party bounced back into reckoning in the House of Assembly election, wining the majority of seats in the State House of Assembly.
Also, the opposition APC has been banking on the euphoria of its triumph in the Presidential and National Assembly elections to stake a big hope of winning the governorship election. But the PDP has wasted no time in dismissing the victory as “not only pyrrhic but a reflection of Buharimania”.
While the incumbent governor has been criticised to have failed to perform by the opposition APC with no signature project to his credit, his supporters have, however, countered pointing to what they refer to as developmental projects running through capital projects and human empowerment as the jokers that will return him to the Lugard House come January 2016.
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The governor has no doubt scaled the first hurdle by retaining his control of the PDP party structure as demonstrated during last week’s congress in which his loyalists won all the positions in the State Executive Committee of the PDP. He is believed to have put himself at a vantage position to clinch the PDP ticket unless something drastic happens.
However, it is not as if it is a smooth sail for the APC camp as key leaders of the party such as AVM …. Atawodi (rtd) and Sen. Alex Kadiri have continued to kick against the possible candidature of Prince Audu. They reckon that, having failed to win in three contests, the party is doomed to lose again if Prince Abubakar Audu is fielded. While respite may gradually be returning to the PDP baring any clandestine political moves by antagonists of the governor within the party, the APC will go through a test of wits in the weeks ahead.
While Prince Audu sees himself as holding the aisle of the party in the forthcoming election, his opponents have accused him of high-handedness and attempting to hijack the process leading to the nomination of the party’s candidate for the election.

Candidate for the election
In strong contention for the ticket of the party is 40-year old Alh. Yahaya Bello who hails from Agassa in Okene Local Government Area. The wealthy entrepreneur is seen by some as more marketable within the APC circles especially on account of his age. Other contenders within the APC include Senators Nicholas Ugbane, Alex Kadiri, Mr. Onukaba Adeniyi-Ojo, Mr. Olusola Olumoroti, Dr. Habeeb Yaqeen, Mr. Lanre Ipinmisho and more than twenty others.
Political watchers in the state are envisaging an impending implosion within the APC which may hand the ruling PDP a leeway to roll back into the Lugard House.
With the heightening political temperature, the political turf of the Confluence State is expected to witness more fireworks ahead of the November 21, 2015 governorship poll.

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