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Kogi East Senate: A Two-Horse Race —– By Ibrahim Isah

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Online and offline, discussions on the forthcoming Senatorial contest in Kogi East have revolved around two economists and former bankers both with intimidating credentials, enthralling pedigrees but varying capacities to represent their people and deliver on campaign promises.

While Dr. Victor Alewo Adoji is running on the platform of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Alhaji (Dr.) Jibrin Isah is running on the platform of the All Peoples Congress (APC).

Earlier Senatorial contests, especially the last two have happened with little or no fuse about the candidates. It was majorly about the Party platform and it the quality or capacity of the candidate. Clearly, the allure form party supremacy had foisted minions and non-performers on the constituency and the constituents who are ultimately the net-losers.

With increasing political awareness, great access to information via various social media channels, escalating impoverishment and shrinking population of politically apathetic, political Parties realized they needed more than just the platform to win elections. It was for this reason that the APC leadership in the State and Kogi East, in particular, co-opted and worked tirelessly to ensure that Jibrin Isah emerged as its Kogi East Senatorial candidate.

It was not that rosy for Victor Adoji as his former Party, the PDP, chose to offer its ticket to the seating Senator, Attai Aidoko, without holding a primary election either in defiance or as an act of impunity.

The thinking is that considering the dismal performance of the APC in the State, anyone who gets the ticket of the main opposition Party in the State could be said to have won the Senatorial election. That has turned out to be a huge miscalculation considering the hundreds on PDP members who dumped the Party not necessarily to join the APC but in support of Jibrin Isah.

However, Victor Adoji’s emergence on the ADC platform re-channeled the hemorrhage of PDP members in favour of the ADC and some APC members. Those who have not openly moved have only stayed back to achieve two things one of which is to be beneficiaries of the largesse that has been touted by the divisional party chairman and promised by the PDP candidate, Senator Attai Aidoko.

In a survey of fifty (50) people each across the nine local governments of Kogi East, Ninety-Five percent (428 respondents) categorically said they would either vote for Victor or Echocho. Three percent (13 respondents) said they would vote for Amade Edime while less than one percent (4 respondents) said they would vote for Attai Aidoko.

When the question was reversed along Party lines, Fifty-One percent (229 respondents) said they would either vote for PDP or APC. Thirty-Two percent (144 respondents) said they would vote for the ADC, Five Percent (21 respondents) while another five percent (21 respondents) said they would vote for APDA.

Evidently, two variables (personality and party platform) would play significantly in how the electorates would make their choices in the forthcoming elections especially the Kogi East senatorial election. But, more than any other factor under consideration, the personality of the individuals would play a bigger role.

In the coming days, weeks and months, the involvement of the Igala elite class, various interest/pressure groups, affiliations, and accessibility will do a lot to either shift or tilt the balance in favour or against any of the two leading candidates. Issues like the quality of their manifestoes, their performances during the various debates that would be organized as well as the pedigree of influencers they deploy would count a lot in endearing them to the electorates.

There is also the waning influence of major stakeholders across the two leading Parties in the Eastern flank of the State. Findings from the survey also revealed that most of the youthful members of the parties see their elders as working only for themselves and their pockets and are not ready to take any orders from those they say have compromised hiding behind the doctrine of “Party id supreme” or in expectation of political appointment of contract.

While we could not get access to the membership registers of the two leading Parties to know the total members of both parties in Kogi East, we are told that the total number of Party members in both parties cannot be up to a hundred thousand. That is less than fifteen percent of the voting in Kogi East. Impliedly, most of those who decide the outcome of elections are not Party members but non-partisan voters. It follows therefore that the forthcoming election is going to be form, size and shape more about the personality and less about the Party platform.

In the final analysis, the Kogi East Senatorial election is a two-horse race between Dr. Victor Alewo Adoji of the ADC and Dr. Jibrin Isah of the APC and in the end, it comes down to the very little things beyond the scope of money, thuggery, window-dressing and godfatherism.

– Isah wrote in from Idah, Kogi State.

POLITICS

Tinubu To APC Members: Deliver Three Million Votes For Buhari, Sanwo-Olu In Lagos

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The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Monday called on party members to work hard to ensure victory for the party in 2019 general elections.

Tinubu made the call in Ikeja while addressing members at the party’s secretariat.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode, his Deputy, Dr Idiat Adebule, APC governorship candidate, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his running-mate, Dr Obafemi Hamzat attended the meeting.

Tinubu urged members to immediately begin to reach out to residents on the need to sustain the development strides in the state and at the federal level by voting for APC.

The APC chieftain condemning the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describes the 16 years of the adminstration as years of failures and monumental corruption, saying the opposition should never be allowed to return.

Tinubu further appealed to APC members to at least, deliver three million votes for Buhari, Sanwo-Olu and other APC candidates, to further the progress of the state and country.

”We must maintain a strong outing for APC; the party of progress, the party of development, the party of the economy in 2019.

”We must differentiate between a development economy from a container economy of the PDP.

”We must educate our people that, we will not accept or allow Nigeria to be corrupt again, never!

”We have seen the 16 years of their failures and empty promises. We should never allow a return to that era.

”There are six million solid votes in the state. I challenge all of you; your target must be 50 per cent of that votes, three million votes.

”Or the entire six million votes for APC, for Buhari, Osinbajo, for Sanwo-Olu,for senators and other candidates in the state,” he said.

Tinubu commended members for putting the differences of the primaries behind them, urging them to carry the spirit of unity into the elections.

The APC chieftain said the party had not officially inauguratef campaigns because it was awaiting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish final list of candidates.

According to Tinubu, as soon as the list is released, campaigns would begin in earnest.

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POLITICS

Sack Tambuwal From Office, APC Begs Supreme Court

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The All Progressive Congress (APC) has asked the Supreme Court to sack Governor Waziri Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State on the ground of irregularities in the primary election that produced him as the party’s candidate in 2014.

The party, in a change of gear, directed its counsel Abduganiyu Arobo to concede to the appeal filed by Senator Umaru Dahiru to get judgment entered in favour of the appellant.

To pave way for the actualization of its new position, the APC de-briefed its lead counsel Mr Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), who stood for the party at the federal high court and the Court of Appeal where he got favourable judgments for the party.

At yesterday’s hearing, a new counsel, Abdulganiyu Arobo announced his appearance for APC shortly after the senior lawyer made the same appearance.

Okutepa in response admitted receiving a letter but insisted that his legal fee payment issue has to be resolved before he will step aside.

Justice Dattijo who demanded a copy of the letter drew the attention of the senior counsel to a portion of the letter that he was engaged for the party by governor Tambuwal and that he should approach Tambuwal for his legal fees paid.

At this point, Okutepa announced his withdrawal from the appeal.

He, however, told the apex court that he ran into stormy waters with the party when he declined to agree to reverse the positions canvassed by APC at the federal high court and the Court of Appeal.

He said he declined to agree because in law, parties must be consistent with their position and that APC was no longer ready to be consistent with its earlier position in two previous courts.

Okutepa further said that the new position of APC came about because of the defection of Governor Tambuwal from the party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) adding that since he is not a politician but a minister in the temple of justice, he could not join them in the new position.

However, the appeal could not be heard as the court informed parties to wait till January 25, 2019, for its decision in the preliminary objection against hearing of the suit filed by Tambuwal.

Justice Dattijo subsequently fixed March 5, 2019, for the hearing of the appeal.

Dahiru also of APC had challenged the nomination of Tambuwal on the ground that the list of delegates who ought to vote at the 2014 primary election of the party was fraudulently swapped to favour governor Tambuwal.

He urged the court to nullify the primary election or in the alternative, declare him as the rightful candidate of the party for the 2015 governorship election.

The appellant lost at the high court and court of appeal prompting him to approach the Supreme Court for a final decision.

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POLITICS

PDP To Kashamu: You Are A Clown, You’re On A Journey To Nowhere

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The Peoples Democratic Party has said it has only but pity for the Independent National Electoral Commission/court-recognised governorship candidate for Ogun State, Senator Buruji Kashamu Buruji.

The party in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondian, spoke against the backdrop of the presentation of governorship flag to Kashamu and his running mate, Dr. Reuben Abati, on Monday.

The party said Kashamu has finally turned himself into a clown in his desperate bid to destabilize the PDP as part of his pact with the Buhari Presidency.

It said this followed the threat of imminent extradition of Kashamu from Nigeria over alleged international fraud.

The party described as the height of ridicule, Kashamu’s purported presentation of himself as Ogun State governorship candidate of the PDP, for which he had to organize his own sham campaign rally, rented an audience and presented a fake PDP flag to himself, after the authentic flag had been handed to the PDP candidate, Ladi Adebutu, by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

The statement added: “Senator Buruji, in his forced hallucination, has failed to realize that Nigerians, particularly the voters in Ogun State, have seen through his antics; they know that he is not the PDP governorship candidate in Ogun state; they know that he has a pact with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to destabilize the PDP; they also know that he is a clown on a journey to no where.

“Nigerians are aware that Senator Buruji never purchased PDP nomination form; never participated in our governorship primary or in any process related to nomination of governorship candidate of our party or any position whatsoever.

“Those using Senator Buruji as their agent have turned him into object of public ridicule, particularly in his charade of organizing a rally to hand a fake flag to himself.

“The PDP therefore urges the people of Ogun state to completely disregard Senator Buruji as a clown and continue in their support for the PDP governorship candidate, Ladi Adebutu, who is already coasting to victory.”

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