BREAKING: As Race to Lugard House Intensifies, Five Major Contenders to Watch Out For

As the political atmosphere in Kogi State reaches a fever pitch, the upcoming governorship election scheduled for November 11, 2023 has become a battleground of intrigues, high-stakes politicking, and security concerns….CONTINUE READING....CONTINUE READING

With five major contenders vying for the coveted seat at Lugard House amongst others, the political trajectory of the confluence state hangs in the balance. Amidst the race to secure public favor, regional sentiments, party affiliations, and candidate antecedents play pivotal roles in shaping the outcome.

This article delves into the profiles of the five key candidates, analyzing their strengths and challenges, while also shedding light on the pressing security concerns that loom large over the electoral process.

Ultimately, the people of Kogi State hold the key to shaping their state’s future, and the choices they make will undoubtedly define the course of the state’s political landscape for years to come.

With just barely four months away, security concerns have become a significant issue in the upcoming governorship election in Kogi State. The political landscape has witnessed several attacks on campaign offices and convoys of candidates, further exacerbating tensions and raising questions about the safety and integrity of the electoral process.

The incessant attacks on campaign teams have not only disrupted the candidates’ activities but have also fostered an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the electorate. The Kogi State government, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and security agencies face the daunting task of ensuring a peaceful and transparent election amid growing tensions.

Additionally, the issue of power rotation remains a contentious point in the election. Governor Bello hails from the central zone and has been in power for almost eight years. With a growing sentiment for power to shift to another region, candidates like Alhaji Muri Ajaka, Hon Leke Abejide, Senator Dino Melaye and Alhaji Jibrin Usman have garnered support from their respective zones, hoping to benefit from this regional consideration.

Furthermore, the good governance agenda is at the forefront of the candidates’ promises. Each contender has presented their vision for the state, emphasizing job creation, education, healthcare, infrastructure development, and agricultural initiatives. The people of Kogi State are closely watching the candidates’ policy proposals and track records to determine who can best lead the state to prosperity.

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The race to Lugard House, the seat of power in Kogi, is primarily contested by five major political parties, each presenting their candidates in hopes of defining the state’s political trajectory.

The five key contenders for the governorship seat are:

Hon. Abejide Leke of the African Democratic Party (ADC)

Alhaji Muri Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)

Alhaji Ododo Usman representing the All Progressives Congress (APC)

Senator Dino Melaye from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)

Alhaji Jibrin Momoh of the Accord Party.

Among the numerous individuals vying for the position, these five candidates stand out as the frontrunners, each with unique strengths and challenges that may impact their chances of victory.

Hon. Abejide Leke of the ADC is a serving member of the House of Representatives and boasts a strong philanthropic record and grassroots connections. With an impressive track record as the former House Chairman on Customs, he has endeared himself to the people. His association with President Tinubu and background in private business could further boost his chances if the elders in the western zone unite to support him. However, Senator Dino Melaye’s presence from the same region poses a challenge that Leke must address.

Alhaji Muri Ajaka of the SDP is gaining popularity, particularly in the Kogi East region. He is allegedly seen as the bride of the election owing the enormous love he has hitherto enjoyed from the people. He is believed to be a candidate representing the interests of the Igala people, which constitute a significant portion of the state’s registered voters. Despite facing political misunderstandings with the incumbent governor, Ajaka’s philanthropic efforts and widespread campaign have earned him support. His chances could improve if a consensus candidate is chosen from his region, though competition from Alhaji Jibrin Usman, who also enjoys elitist backing, may impact this prospect.

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Alhaji Ododo Usman, representing the ruling APC, has the backing of the incumbent governor, which undoubtedly strengthens his campaign. The APC’s established structures in the state, coupled with recent popular policies implemented by the governor, especially the newly established University in the Western flank of the state, may bolster Usman’s chances. However, criticisms over percentage salary payments during his tenure as the LGA Auditor General and the desire for power rotation from his region could pose challenges to his campaign.

Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP is a two-time senator with a reputation for outspokenness. However, critics argue that his eloquence alone may not guarantee victory. The disarray within his party and the constant defections to the ruling APC present hurdles he must overcome. To capitalize on the ongoing disagreements between the APC and SDP, Melaye needs to strengthen his party’s structure and campaign efforts.

Alhaji Jibrin Usman of the Accord Party is a former Chief of Naval Staff with significant influence in Kogi politics. Giving his military background with wealth of experience, many pundits Believe he is the man for the job. Although some elites from the Igala region support his candidacy, his relatively new party lacks widespread recognition. A harmonious arrangement between Usman and Ajaka to produce a single candidate for the Igala people could work in his favor, but Usman has expressed his resolve not to step down.

The upcoming election will not only be influenced by the candidates’ strengths but also by regional considerations, party affiliations, good governance, and candidate antecedents. The people of Kogi State hold the key to determine who will succeed Governor Bello and steer the state’s future political course. As the political drama unfolds, the contenders must strive to win the hearts of the electorate and make their case for a brighter and more prosperous Kogi State….CONTINUE READING