Kogi 2015: Unveiling Leading Governorship Aspirants | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Kogi 2015: Unveiling Leading Governorship Aspirants

Posted: Aug 7, 2015 at 12:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

As the governorship election in Kogi draws nearer, several aspirants from the two leading political parties, All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP)   are intensifying their consultations and lobbying ahead of primaries scheduled to hold between August 25 and September 15.  So far, more than 30 aspirants have indicated interest to participate the primaries, majority of who are in APC. Some of the popular aspirants are;

By Augustine Adah –  xLAGOS


Abubakar Audu

Prince Abubakar Audu the two time governor of Kogi State is the leader of APC  in the state, though some members have failed to recognize him as such. He has indicated interest to contest the governorship election in the state after several attempts made to return to Lugard House where he left in 2003 failed. 

Many analysts believed that Audu’s failure to win re-election after his first term in 2003 was traced to his arrogant disposition. Though Audu  has been described as the best civilian governor in the state since its creation in 1991,  many politicians including his loyalists worked against his election because they felt he was too pompous and does not believe in anybody except himself.  One snag that may work against him apart from his unresolved issue with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is the opposition to his ambition from some leaders of APC especially those from Kogi-east where Audu comes from.  Some of them include; Senator Alex Kadiri, Chief John S. Odawn, Ocholi James (SAN), Alhaji Abdul Kaka, and Hon. Positive Ihiabe and others. They accused Audu of “handling the affairs of the party just like his personal estate”

Idris Wada

Though Idris Wada has not publicly declared his interest to contest for a second term, his body language suggests that he is the candidate to beat.  He appears to be the only major aspirant of the party though some forces within the party are working to avoid his emergence as the candidate of the party in November 21 governorship election in the state.  Wada may face a difficult task even if he emerge the candidate of the  People’s Democratic Party as many of the party leaders have indicated their interest to work against his election if he eventually emerge the flag bearer of the party. He emerged the PDP governorship candidate in 2011 in a rescheduled primary skewed in his favour, following the cancellation of the earlier exercise that produced Echocho as party flag bearer. Wada defeated his main rival Prince Abubakar of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Many people including leaders of thought in the state are impressed with his performance looking at the state as one of the least in terms of provision of infrastructure and service delivery.

Jibrin Isa Echocho

Alhaji Jibrin Isah is very famous in Kogi due to his philanthropic ways. Echocho as he is fondly called by his supporters is described by many people as generous to a fault.

Echocho won the PDP ticket for the 2011 election, at a primary conducted by the party in 2010. But, he was dropped in favour of the incumbent Governor Wada.

However, two weeks to the governorship election, there was a court ruling that said that the tenure of five governors including Ibrahim Idris of Kogi state would elapse in 2012 and not 2011. That ruling nullified Echocho’s candidacy. It was really an unfortunate situation for him because he had campaigned as the flag bearer of the party. When it was time for a fresh primary election, the governor, Ibrahim Idris fell out with Jibrin Isah and decided to go for Wada.

Political pundits are of the view that Echocho may still be hoping to replace Wada as the party’s governorship candidate. The Kogi chapter of the PDP is well aware of the need to substitute Wada for a sellable candidate.

Yakubu Mohammed

Veteran journalist, Mohammed was one of the founders of Newswatch magazine in 1984. He contested the last governorship election in the state and was one of the aspirants that went on campaign tour to all nooks and crannies of the 21 local government areas of the state. Mohammed who has friends across the three senatorial zones is believed to be a bridge in the state. He stated that his decision to vie for the governorship position in the is driven by passion to redress underdevelopment in the state despite the abundant mineral resources in the state. Many sees lack of enough financial muscle as one impediment that may deprive him from getting to Lugard House come January 2016, but Mohammed who is resolute in his ambition, says if God has appointed him for that position, money or no money he would get there.

James Ocholi

A legal practitioner, James Ocholi (SAN) is a leading aspirant on the platform of the APC. A Lokoja-based group, the Network for Change and Good Governance, said Ocholi stands tall among other aspirants. They noted that though he is not a moneybag politician, he is credible, dependable, honest and of high integrity. He was the governorship candidate of Congress for Progressive Change in 2011 governorship election in the state. But the leadership tussle between him and Abubakar Audu since the merger of the three major political parties that midwife APC may cost him the desire to get the party’s ticket.

Yahaya Bello

Bello an aspirant under APC ticket is regarded to be popular from Central senatorial zone that has not been give opportunity to be governor of the state since its creation in 1991.    A transporter, Yahaya enjoys the support of youths in the state. One thing that may work against him though he appears rich is the fact that he is relatively unknown. Until this time when he decided to contest the governorship position, many people especially those at the grass root did not know him very much.

Salifu Atawodi

Atawodi who retired from the Air Force as Air Vice-Marshall was a governorship aspirant of the state in 2011 under PDP before some of them were forced to withdraw their intention for an anointed aspirant. Atawodi who has since left PDP has indicated to contest the next governorship election this time under the platform of APC. He hails from Igalamela-Odolu local government of the state.

Sen. Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman

Abatemi-Usman is one of the few aspirants from Kogi-Central that has indicated interest to contest the forth coming governorship election in the state. He was a senator in the 7th National Assembly and was reputed to have affected the lives of many people in his senatorial zone. Though Abatemi-Usman contested to return to the 8th National Assembly under Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA) after he failed to get the PDP ticket, he however lost to the candidate of APC, Senator Mohammed Ohiare.