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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.

BIG STORY

Atiku-Wike Rift: It Seems Devil Has Entered PDP – Bode George

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Bode George, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has appealed to Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, and Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, to “cool down” amid the crisis in the party.

Speaking on Wednesday during a Channels TV interview, George said it appears “some kind of devil” has entered the party.

The opposition party has been enmeshed in crisis since the conclusion of its presidential primary election in May.

Wike had contested the presidential ticket but he lost to the former vice-president.

The cracks widened after Atiku Abubakar named Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta, as his running mate for the 2023 presidential election.

Following the announcement, some party stakeholders expressed concerns that Abubakar overlooked Wike — who was said to have been recommended by a panel set up at Abubakar’s instance.

The division in the party worsened after Abubakar granted an interview to Arise TV, during which he explained his rationale for overlooking Wike.

Days after the interview, Wike fired back, accusing the party’s presidential candidate of telling “many lies”.

Efforts by PDP stakeholders and elders to resolve the crisis have since proved abortive.

Speaking on the matter, George said Atiku and Wike must understand that their ambitions cannot be bigger than the PDP.

“It is a major bother not only for me, but it is also a bother to a lot of the committed elders and members of the upper chamber of the party. It looks like some kind of devil has entered into the midst of our party,” he said.

“We have the capacity to resolve our crisis; we have enough experienced leaders, committed followers, who will sit and be able to resolve this crisis once and for all.

“Unfortunately we have a month and a week before we commence the campaign, my appeal now is that Governor Wike should cool down, presidential candidate Atiku should also cool down because none of their ambition should be bigger and higher than the ambition of our party. We are appealing to both of them.

“Because there is no organisation anywhere in the world that would not have crisis but the capacity and the ability to handle the resolution of such crisis would be a measure of how developed, reliable or respectable that organisation is.”

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BIG STORY

Obasanjo, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Gov. Abiodun, Others Receive Tinubu Amid Swarming Supporters [PHOTOS/VIDEO]

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All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, again, stormed Abeokuta, Ogun State capital this time to meet with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in respect of his 2023 presidential ambition.
Tinubu arrived at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) around 1.14 pm and proceeded to the elder statesman’s penthouse to hold a closed-door meeting with him.
He was accompanied by Senator Andy Uba, former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu among others while governor Dapo Abiodun, former governor  Segun Osoba, his successor; Otunba Gbenga Daniel, ex-deputy governor Gbenga Kaka, Senator Gbenga Obadara, chief Femi Majekodunmi among others arrived the OOPL to join Obasanjo to receive Tinubu and his entourage.
A crowd of enthusiastic supporters who had arrived OOPL hours earlier submerged him as they chanted his praises and success concerning the February 25, 2023, presidential election.

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BIG STORY

Dogara, 125 APC Aspirants Seek Nomination Fee Refund

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Disgruntled aspirants who participated at the March 26 National Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress have vowed to take the leadership of the party to court over its failure to refund the payment for their Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms.

The development is coming four months after they were asked to step down for the current National Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and other members of the National Working Committee.

Some affected politicians who spoke in separate interviews expressed concerns that they have explored and exhausted all their options with the only obstacle being the national chairman.

Depending on the category of the expression of interest and nomination forms, the 126 aspirants who contested various positions were made to cough up between N20 and N2.5 million.

At the end of the exercise, APC raked in well over N700 million with an additional N3 billion generated among stakeholders and party members ahead of the presidential primary.

There were also complaints that despite the huge revenue generated by the leadership of the party between March and August, ad hoc workers, staff, and affected party members who were engaged were equally not paid their welfare allowances.

Aspirants asked to withdraw at National Convention

The affected aspirants who stepped down for Adamu in the category of National Chairman included Senator Umar Al-Makura, Salihu Mustapha, Muhammed Sani Musa, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, Senator George Akume, and Mohammed Etsu.

Those in the category of National Deputy Chairman (North), who withdrew for the consensus candidacy of Senator Abubakar Kyari, were Yakubu Dogara, Faruq Aliyu, Sunny Sylvester Monidefe, Senator Ken Nnamani, Malam Isa Yuguda, and Emmanuel Joseph.

For the post of the National Secretary, three aspirants which included former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu; Oyedele Ifeoluwa and Prof Olaiya Olaitan were sacrificed for the candidacy of Senator Iyiola Omisore.

In the category of National Vice Chairman (South-South), Yekini Nabena and Worgu Chambers were asked to step down for Victor Giadom.

Aside from the aforementioned aspirants, there are 113 other aggrieved politicians who are also yet to be refunded.

One of the affected candidates, who spoke with our correspondent in confidence, vowed to recoup their nomination forms before Adamu is kicked out of office.

Adamu ‘deliberately’ delaying refund

He said, “We know how much was raised at the convention and even the APC presidential primary. So what is the problem? We the party members are equally aware of how much was doled out for Osun and Ekiti elections. I still don’t get why Adamu is finding it hard to comply with the directive of the president.

“The only reason we delayed in taking this issue to court until now was to avoid putting our presidential candidate, Asiwaju, in a bad light. But as it stands, we have no option but to head for court. Everybody knows what took place at the convention where we had to step down cannot be called an election. Perhaps, that’s why some of them in the NWC including Adamu have been acting with impunity.”

In one of the letters written to Adamu dated June 21 and appended by 107 signatories, the aggrieved aspirants also accused the party leadership of excluding them from active participation and assignments at the last party primaries for the election of various candidates.

The letter partly read, “Your Excellency, recall that President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech at the convention directed that for those who agreed to step down, the party should refund the money they paid for the purchase of expression of interest and nomination forms.

“For the record, it is not worthy to envisage the reality of the huge expenses we incurred in our campaigns, which amount was far beyond the cost of purchase of forms.

“Our able chairman, we want to assure you and the APC leadership that we will give our best to ensure the party emerges victorious in the forthcoming 2023 general election.

“While yet not being discouraged, we wish to express that we were excluded from the lists of just concluded party primaries committee assignments for the election of our various party candidates for the general elections.”

One of the affected aspirants from North Central, Yusuf Elaigwe, however, expressed optimism when he told our reporter that he is still keeping with Adamu over the issue.

“I can’t comment on it. But there is progress. I will be having a meeting with the national chairman on it next week,” he said.

Another aspirant, Sunny Sylvester Monidefe, who stepped down for Kyari confirmed that they have written to Adamu.

Monidefe, however, expressed frustration that the chairman has yet to reach out concerning details on how they hope to refund them.

According to him, it was hard having meetings with many of the affected candidates because the majority are not residents in Abuja and only come around only when they have official duties to attend.

In a separate phone conversation, former communications minister, Adebayo Shittu, told our correspondent that the APC national chairman has reassured them that they will be fully refunded.

Shittu stated that though they are angry, there was no plan to file a suit against the leadership of the party as alleged.

“I don’t think that is true. Nobody will do that. I have spoken personally with the national chairman of the party too and he has reassured me that discussions are ongoing to pay us. We are still hopeful it will be resolved,” he said.

The matter is receiving attention – Spokesman

Responding to the development in a phone interview, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, said the matter ‘is receiving attention and will resolve it soon.’

“I am sure the party will resolve it. The APC just came out of the primaries. They are dealing with it.”

In a related development, APC national vice chairman (North-west), Salihu Lukman, expressed regret over the delay, which he said was being looked into.

Lukman made the clarification in Abuja on Sunday.

He said, “It is part of the unfortunate internal challenges. Administratively, this should have been resolved long ago. For instance, in my case, about four people stepped down for me and they have been talking to me. I have been drawing the attention of the party and I think now it is clear that the party has to resolve it as quickly as possible. I can assure you that it is going to happen,” Lukman said.

 

Credit: The Punch

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