Kogi: PDP In Dilemma Over Wada’s Second Term Ambition | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Kogi: PDP In Dilemma Over Wada’s Second Term Ambition

Posted: May 14, 2015 at 12:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


By Augustine Adah, Lagos


Barely six months to the governorship elections in Kogi State, the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appears confused over whether to field the governor of the state, Idris Wada, or not.  Wada was elected governor of the state on December 3, 2011, and was sworn in January 27, 2012. The next governorship election may hold between October and November this year. But as the All Progressives Congress (APC) who won the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state promised to re-enact the same feat in the forthcoming governorship election, the ruling PDP appears divided over who should be the flag bearer of the party in the next elections. Though Wada has not officially indicated interest to re-contest the governorship election, his body language has shown that he is still interested to run.

While some people including the state chairman of party, Alhaji Hassan Salau, appears comfortable with Wada running for second term, some elders of the party prefer someone different from Wada who has not enjoyed enough support from many party elders and stalwarts since he took over as governor in 2012.  The situation became more precarious for Wada when in the last general elections PDP could not win any election in his constituency or local government. Wada, who hails from Dekina Local Government Area, lost the member of the House of Representatives representing Dekina/Bassa Federal Constituency and the two members of the state House of Assembly to APC.

Though Wada remains the most criticised governor in the history of the state, his inability to deliver the state to PDP and even his own local government to his party has made the effort of those rooting for his replacement more plausible and easier. A former political appointee in one of the local governments who does not want his name mentioned because he is not competent to speak on the matter told Daily Independent that the governor may find it difficult to get the ticket before talking of winning the elections, because he has lost the enormous support that earned him victory to Lugard House in Lokoja in 2011.

He spoke further: “This time around, the former governor who gave him the maximum support in 2011 may not want to support him this time because of betrayal of trust and insensitivity to the yearnings of the people.” Daily Independent gathered that the former governor and Wada have not been in cordial relationship as they used to be at the beginning of his administration.

The frosty relationship between the two leaders in the state could be traced to Wada’s quest to do things in his way, ignoring the advice of leaders and elders, including the former governor. Indications that the two leaders are not together manifested during the last party primaries in the state. For instance, while governor Idris Wada gave his support to Hon. Attai Aidoko as his choice candidate for Kogi-East Senatorial District, the former governor, Idris Ibrahim, supported the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Isaac Alfa (rtd). At the end of the election, the candidate of APC emerged winner.

Daily Independent also gathered that a frontline politician in the state, Abdulrazak Isa Kutepa, who nominated the present deputy governor, Arc. Yomi Awoniyi, though still in PDP, appeared to have fallen out with Wada. At the moment, the National leadership of the party which paid a deaf ear to the complaints of Kogi Elders in 2012 over Wada’s style of leadership may not want to overlook the complaints by some people to replace Wada in the election.

It has been argued that the defeat of PDP In both presidential and national assembly elections in the state could be attributed to the mass exodus of prominent politicians from the party, following the inability of the National Working Committee (NWC) and party elders to address the crucial issues raised by Kogi Elders in their petition to the party. Learning from the past mistakes, the leadership of the party may not want to pay a deaf ear to the complaints of the people this time around. That may lead the party to substitute him as candidate of the party.  There is also a group of party leaders in the state who believe that if PDP field Wada as its candidate in the next governorship election, the party will lose the state to the opposition as happened in Benue State.

However, the state Chairman of PDP, Hassan Salau, at a public function, gave the governor a pat on the back and declared support for his aspiration to become the governor of the state for another term. But the challenge facing the party at the moment is its apparent inability to get a candidate that would be a good match to whoever may emerge from APC, especially as rumour has it that the first executive governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu, is still interested in contesting the governorship position. Recently, a group known as Kogi Restoration Group endorsed former governor, Prince Abubakar Audu, to fly the party’s flag in the forthcoming governorship election in the state. Chairman of the group, Mr. Segun Abereoran, advised key stakeholders in the party to throw their weight behind the aspiration of Audu so as to allow him finish the good work he started when he held sway as governor from 1999 to 2003.

The group urged members of the APC in the state to put aside their differences and present Audu, who it described as the most competent among the party’s heavyweights that can wrest power from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state. Similarly, a stalwart of APC in Kogi State, Ibrahim Ocheje, has expressed the preparedness of APC to send PDP packing in the forthcoming governorship election. Ocheje hinged his confidence on the result of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state which the APC won as well as the recent state House of Assembly election in which the party produced 11 out of 25 seats.

According to him, “I told you earlier that APC has come to stay but PDP leaders said their party would bounce back. The words ‘bounce back’ means that they had gone out and they just want to come in. But with the last election, was there anything like bouncing back?”

The APC chieftain went on to reveal that the areas where the APC won election were more than two-thirds of the state population, adding that it was enough signal that the party would win the governorship election.

His words: “APC won Ankpa 1 and 2, Dekina 1 and 2, Okene, Lokoja/Koto, Olamaboro, Ofu and Ajaokuta. Can we compare the voters in Ofu with Yagba West and East put together?

“In Mopamoro, how many votes are there? And Ogori/Magongo has a local government with one House of Assembly member. In the last governorship election Wada recorded only 3,000 voters in the entire local government.”

Analysts observed that for PDP to win the next election, it must put its house in order and resolve the grievances that made some people to defect from the party. In the past one year, many prominent members of the party have ditched the ruling party for the APC. They include Dr. Alex Kadiri who signed the petition of Kogi Elders to the leadership of the party in Abuja; former Managing Director, Daily Times newspaper,  Adinoyi Ojo-Kabba; former speaker and Acting Governor of the state,  Clarence Olufemi; Senator Nicholas Ugbane; former state chairman of PDP; John Odawn, and the 21 former chairmen of local government areas in the state, among others.

The true position of things would become clearer in the next few months to come as the people await the election time table.