By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA—Kogi East Elders Council, KEEC, has pruned the number of aspirants from the zone for the November 16 governorship election in the state from 40 to six.
The Elders council, which made this known after publishing the result of their screening of the aspirants weekend, said their decision was in a bid to reduce acrimony and brighten the chances of one of their own to win the Kogi governorship seat.
According to the result of the screening signed by nineteen selected leaders from Kogi East, one aspirant each was chosen to contest on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Congress, APC, tickets in each of the three federal constituencies of the senatorial district.
Prince Mohammed Audu, son of a former governor of the state, late Prince Abubakar Audu, was endorsed for the APC ticket in Idah Federal constituency; Prof. Seidu Ogah (Ankpa) and former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Jibrin Usman for Dekina/Bassa.
For the PDP, the elders anointed former President, Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Idris Omede (Dekina/Bassa), Dr. Joseph Ameh (Ankpa) and Elder Ubolo Okpanachi (Idah).
With this development, immediate Governor Idris Wada and son of former Governor Ibrahim Idris, Abubakar Idris were dropped. The screening committee, headed by former deputy governor of old Benue State, Sule Iyaji, has representatives from each of the nine local governments in Kogi East, women groups, Ukomu Igala, Igala Cultural Development Association, ICD, Ojuju Agbadufu and two representatives each from both PDP and APC.
However, reaction has trailed the Elders’ resolution, with son of former Governor Ibrahim Idris, Abubakar Idris, rejecting the elders council decisions.
But a socio -cultural group, Igala Vanguard, called on the aspirants to embrace the decision of KEEC in the interest of the state.
Spokesman of Igala Vanguard, Engr. Akpa Lawrence, passed a vote of confidence on the decision of KEEC to trim down the large number of governorship aspirants.
Akpa stated: “The resolution of KEEC will ensure good leadership and progress of the area. We advise other strong contenders from the two main political parties to abide by the decision of the Elders Council as they have earlier pledged to do in order to avoid needless acrimony.
“With bad governance and leadership ineptitude staring Kogi State in the face, it is imperative to succumb to the patriotic arrangement and outcome of the Kogi East elders.’’
“We call on opinion leaders, stakeholders and top political gladiators to prevail on the multiple aspirants to sheath their swords in the interest of Kogi East so as to attract more development and new leadership in the state.
“It will be a disservice to the people of Igala nation and the entire state to go against the decision of such a highly respected body.
“We appealed to other contestants for the Kogi top job to be mindful of the selfless nature of their ambitions and not to allow personal decisions override that of the public interest.