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Kogi Guber: PDP, Govs In Dilemma Over Candidate

Posted: Sep 11, 2015 at 12:59 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

• Mounts Pressure On Echocho To Step Down

• Zone Threatens Fire Over Wada’s Lopsided Appointments

By Rotimi Akinwumi and David  Odama,


The leadership of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has stepped into the face-off between the two camps of Kogi State Governor Idris Wada and his arch-rival, Jibrin Isa Echocho, over the governorship primaries slated for Monday, September 14, 2015.

The face-off had necessitated the PDP postponing the primary earlier slated for yesterday, with a view to working out a consensus without having to go for any neck-breaking poll that could polarise the party.

A top PDP source told Daily Independent that the leadership was desperately looking for a means of pulling the party together and ensuring that it did not lose the Kogi State through fielding of a wrong candidate for the election or having the party polarised after an acrimonious primary.

Whereas it would appear that supporters of Echocho were in favour of open party primary for the choice of the party’s candidate, some others who are largely in support of Wada believe that he was the best man to fly the party’s flag and that there should be no much ado in making him the candidate. Echocho is considered as the greatest opposition to the second term ambition of the governor within the PDP family.

Yesterday, all organs of the party including the National Working Committee (NWC) and the PDP Governors Forum (PDPGF) led by Governor Olusegun Mimiko met differently in Abuja with the agenda of the various meetings said to be geared towards ensuring that the party primary slated for Monday does not end in fiasco for the party.

Sources within the party told Daily Independent in confidence that Echocho had been under intense pressure to drop his gubernatorial ambition once again so that Governor Wada could be given the ticket to face the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abubakar Audu.

The pressure by the party leadership on Echocho to back down from the race, it was gathered, comes against the background of fears that the incumbent governor might lose the primaries to him which might not augur for the image of the party in the state.

Wada losing to Echocho, it was said, might rob off negatively on the image of the party and dim its chances as the party and not the governor might be seen as a failure for the last four years the governor has held sway in the state.

The APC has consistently hinged its campaign on what it perceived as poor outing of Governor Wada in the last four years, asking the people to vote him out.

However, the PDP it was learnt, was not leaving anything to chance, as the party does not want any backlash that might occur in case a primary is held and  sparks surprises.

It would be recalled that PDP on Wednesday abruptly announced the postponement of the primary in Kogi State from yesterday (Thursday) to Monday next week.

Isa, popularly called Echocho, had won the PDP primary in 2011 but was dumped by the party on the ground that his ticket was no longer valid.

However, it was gathered that the governors who met at the Abuja Government Lodge of the Ondo State under the chairmanship of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, were strategising on how to prevail on Echocho to forgo his ambition and not contest the primary scheduled for Monday.

It was learnt that the fear of the governors was drawn from a concern that their colleague might be disgraced at the primary.

A member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that the governors were worried over the situation of their colleague and were putting pressure on Echocho to step down.

The NWC member had confirmed that the “party leadership is in dilemma over the situation, that if the primary holds today, the governor might be defeated.”

Another party source, however, noted that all other organs of the party were also meeting yesterday on the issue, looking for the best way out of the quagmire, stressing that there would not be imposition of candidates in the party anymore.

The source said besides the governors meeting, other stakeholders were also bent on ensuring that a credible candidate emerges, noting that they cannot afford to impose candidates or conduct a primary that is not transparent.

However, another source at the PDP governors meeting denied that the governors were putting pressure on anybody to step down, but admitted that the governors actually met on how to make the party better and position it to win the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa polls.

The source alluded to the party’s prerogative of looking for the best ways to win an election.

“The party will always look for the easiest way to win the election. The party will look for an easy way to prevail on the contestant who might not necessarily win the general election to see reasons with the party and step down in an amicable manner for the best candidate, rather than allow the party get more divided through acrimonious party primary.

Kogi West Gives Ultimatum

As Governor Wada is faced with a tough battle for securing ticket for his second term, he is also faced with another crisis brewing from the Kogi West Senatorial District of the state.

Led by All Progressives Congress (APC) Senator Dino Melaye, the people of the senatorial district yesterday issued to Wada a 30-day ultimatum to begin the process of addressing alleged maginalisation of the district at the expense of others in all sectors of the economy or face a breakdown of law and order in the state.

In a message delivered by Melaye on behalf of the people while addressing the Senate correspondents, the people particularly decried the lopsidedness in employment of staff in the Kogi State University (KSU).

They also demanded that “the employment profile of all state institutions and parastatals should be looked into so that each senatorial district is equitably represented in the institutions and parastatals”.

The people maintained that they would go to any length possible in “addressing the issue of injustice and equity in those institutions and parastatals”.

According to the senator, no indigene of Kogi West had been employed into the state civil service since 2013, alleging that those from Kogi East had been enjoying massive employment with very few people from the Kogi Central.

He said the oppression his people had faced from successive Kogi State government since 1999 was very satanic to the point that the state government, since 2013, did not employ a single person from Kogi West into the state civil service.

Melaye in the press statement entitled: “Marginalisation of Kogi West by the Eastern Part of the State”, said the motive of the press conference was to show all Nigerians, through statistical facts and data, the brutal and wicked lopsidedness and deliberate oppression of Kogi West people and by extension, ‘Okun’ people in the state over the years.

Lopsided Appointments

Citing the Kogi State University (KSU) as a case in question, Melaye said employment at the university as at 2013, shows that while Kogi East (Igala people) where the state governor, Idris Wada, comes from, has 94% of junior staff and 76.60% of senior staff, Kogi West has 1.5% and 16.60% of Junior and senior staff respectively, even far lower than percentages Kogi Central (Ebira People) and even non-indigenes, have in the state-owned institution.

He added that out of the seven internal members of the University Council, four are Igala (Kogi East), one Ebira (Kogi Central), one Okun (Kogi West) and one non-indigene.

He gave the break-down as follows: 37 Principal officers of the state university with 27 Igalas, from the Vice – Chancellor to the Dean of Natural Sciences, while Ebira has six and Okun just two with the remaining two going to the non-indigenes.

The lawmaker said the lopsidedness of appointments in favour of Igala people at the Kogi State University to the detriment of Okun people in particular and by extension, the Ebiras as well, was numerically reflective in the entire civil service structure of the state with 25, 000 of them from Kogi East (the Igalas) while the remaining 9, 000 comprises Ebiras, Okuns and non-indigenes.

Besides appointments, Melaye said successive governors of the state since 1999 from Abubakar Audu to the incumbent, Wada (all Igala), had been focusing on Kogi East alone in the distribution of resources in terms of establishment of industries, tertiary institutions, government agencies and even road constructions.

He declared that the people of Kogi West had resolved that henceforth, they would no longer fold their arms and allow a single senatorial district to continue to corner the greatest percentage of the resources of the state.

He said: “In conclusion, we give the Kogi State government 30 days from today to invite us and correct all these anomalies or we will carry out massive civil disobedience and do all within the law to liberate our people.”