Kogi Guber Poll: PDP In Dilemma Over Wada | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Kogi Guber Poll: PDP In Dilemma Over Wada

Posted: Aug 9, 2015 at 12:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ajibola Abayomi (Lagos) and Hamzat Baba (Lokoja) 

All may not be well with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State, as it is now crisis-ridden over the popularity of the incumbent Governor Idris Wada, in the build up to the September 21, 2015, governorship election in the State.



Feelers indicate that the gale of opposition to the candidature of Wada as its flag-bearer in the election may have started weighing heavily on the party in an overwhelming measure.

Sunday Independent gathered that the party is at a crossroad and currently weighing its chances at the impending poll, due to the unsavoury sentiments being expressed against the governor’s performance and the mounting popularity of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi State.

It was also reliably gathered that intra-party differences may have forced five of the PDP’s 14 lawmakers in the Kogi State House of Assembly to consider defecting to the rival APC.

These developments, according to our findings, have unsettled the governor who dispatched emissaries to the PDP’s Wadatta Plaza National Secretariat in Abuja to help turn the tide in his favour, in the countdown to the election.

In a bid to get the party’s nod ahead of other candidates, some of the governor’s loyalists, under the aegis of the PDP Forum, within the week passed a vote of confidence, endorsing him for a second-term.

Notwithstanding the endorsement, sources within Kogi hinged their fears over Wada’s fate as the PDP candidate on the sympathy of the electorate for the APC, the ruling party at the centre, going by results of the national and state assembly elections, in a state once dominated by the PDP.

A PDP chieftain in the state, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents last week: “We are in a dilemma, I must confess to you. The APC not only won the last presidential election in our state, but it also went ahead to win 11 seats of the 25 House of Assembly seats.

“Opposition has never had it so good in this state. I must confess that the perception of the electorate about performance of Governor Wada really affected us” at that election, he lamented.

On the other hand, some Kogi PDP governorship aspirants, in anticipation of bottlenecks at the primary, are already weighing the option of reaching out to the APC, poised to work against Wada during the poll, should the party elect him as flag bearer against all odds.

But Kogi State PDP Publicity Secretary, Bode Ogunmola, who was quick to counter the insinuation that the party was under pressure over Wada’s candidature, assured Sunday Independent that the party was ready to conduct a transparent primary for its governorship aspirants.

Ogunmola assured: “We are not going to be deceived by those who are castigating Governor Wada. He has done well, despite the limited fund at his disposal.

“Performance is relative. There is peace and massive turnaround in our state. The people can attest to that. Only July salary is outstanding, unlike other states that are owing up to eight months, like Osun and the rest.

“Though Governor Wada is yet to officially inform the party of his intention to seek a second-term, Kogi will remain a PDP state after the poll,” he boasted.

A PDP governorship aspirant in the state, Alhaji Isa Jibril Ahmed, however, urged the party to stand by its word on transparency during the governorship primary.

“For me, I won’t run down Governor Wada, but I urge the party to be transparent during the primary. I am the best man for job. Kogi State deserves more than what the people are getting now.

“How can you be a sitting governor and members of your party are decamping to an opposition party? I am around and I am ready to rescue the party and lead it to victory. If you compare Kogi with other states that were created at the same time, definitely, we still have a long way to go,” Ahmed lamented.

Furious about the PDP’s boast about retaining power in the state, an APC governorship aspirant, James Ocholi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urged the PDP’s scribe and other members of his party should prepare for defeat.

“To start with, PDP will fall in this election because the party and its governor had been operating transactional government to the detriment of Kogi State for the past four years. The state government approaches governance from the angle of what they can make from government.

“Wada is busy covering up tracks of his predecessor, Ibrahim Idris. Most of the projects Idris left behind were executed up to 60 per cent and former President Goodluck Jonathan was in the state to commission them. Wada said those projects were not paid for and some people kept smiling to the bank, while he now showcases them as his own initiative.”

Responding, Special Adviser on Media to the governor, Jacob Eddy, told  Sunday Independent : “We don’t expect the governorship aspirants to praise Governor Wada. His good works have spoken for him.

“Blackmailers can only murmur, but they can’t ignore his achievements. Let no one be deceived. Governor Wada is not running government of personal gains as claimed by Ocholi.

“If performance is what will judge the governor, then his second term aspiration is a fait accompli. Yes, we inherited projects and it takes guts for the governor to complete them and impart positively on secondary and tertiary institution in all the three senatorial zones in the state.

“Just to mention few, the governor initiated, continued and completed many projects that he inherited from his predecessor. They include Confluence Stadium, State Secretariat Phase Two, Greater Lokoja Water Scheme, Extension of Confluence Beach Hotel, Dualisation of Anpka Township Road, Dualisation of Federal Poly Idah to Idah Township Road, and Cottage Hospital, Icheke,” he said.