Navy Admiral Jibrin Usman, one of at least 67 aspirants jostling to displace Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for the ticket of the ruling APC in the state has concluded plans to purchase his forms today. Usman, who like most of the surprisingly large number of aspirants who hope to challenge Bello at the APC primaries, hails from the Kogi East senatorial district of the state will pay the sum of N22.5m for the expression of interest and nomination form at the National Secretariat of the APC in Abuja.
This development comes even as feelers indicate that many Kogites are displeased with the unwieldy number of aspirants of Kogi East extraction in the race. Nigerians, including many from among the majority Igala tribe which is the most populous in Kogi State and has produced all the previous governors since 1999 have taken to social media and other outlets to voice their disgust at the development.
A senior civil servant resident in Lokoja the state capital who is from the dominant tribe in Kogi East who was speaking under conditions of anonymity complained to our correspondent that unfit and unserious characters have taken over the race, especially in the APC.
‘Running for Governor used to be a serious thing but we are seeing all kinds of people rushing from the APC and the PDP now. Some of these people we know have serious criminal cases in the courts and should ordinarily not talk in public how much less running for executive or legislative office. Then there are those who cannot afford daily meals for their families. All of them are printing posters and gathering as aspirants.’
Our source declared that such people should be ashamed of themselves but feared that the large turnout from Kogi East is likely to send the wrong message about her people to the world.
‘What is all this desperation? Even people who should not be contesting for local government councillor are coming out as governorship aspirants. It is almost as if they believe any Kogi East person will beat Bello because he is from a smaller tribe. That is not true. Our people are objective in everything they do so this crowd is only painting a wrong picture about us.’
He also did not also believe that Kogi East had received a good deal from having her sons as previous governors and wondered how anyone can believe the politicians will do better in future.
‘Come to think of it, what have we gained from nearly 20 years of having our people in the office, especially after Prince Audu? Are we not the ones in darkness, with no electricity for our people? Our roads are bad, we don’t have water to drink and criminals used to terrorise us until Bello. If the only benefit of a Governor from my place is the title, let the present one continue. At least he knows what we can do and he is respecting us more than our brothers before. Even his traditional ruler has said so.’ the longest road that passes through the heart of Igala nation; Umomi-Akpagidigbo-Ugwolawo-Ajaka-Idah was abandoned for 19 years when Igalas were governor. Talk of Ibana-Okpo-Ogugu-Ette road that was only rehabilitated when Audu was governor about 20 years ago. All the people need is development not minding who is the governor.
It will be recalled that Governor Bello has been severally accused of focusing his administration’s projects in Kogi East and giving her people prominent roles in his government to gain their support. The governor denies the allegations, insisting that as one who detests bigotry, both ethnic and religious, it is only natural that he will allocate state resources proportionally depending on size and need.
Our correspondent learnt that the executives of the Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA) will be visiting Governor Bello tomorrow to thank him for the ultramodern Igala Unity House which was commissioned two Saturdays ago at Anyigba.
We also gathered that some of the ICDA exco will take the opportunity to attend the inaugural meeting of the Project Power Kogi East Committee. Recall that Governor Yahaya Bello set up the committee headed by his Chief of Staff, Edward Onoja, to quickly bring electricity across the senatorial district.
While inaugurating members during the opening of the Igala Unity House, the governor regretted that Kogi East which had produced all the previous governors of the state had the worst electricity penetration in the state and promised to turn around the narrative in a few months.
The Kogi State Government is also set for the groundbreaking ceremony of a chapel in Government House, Lokoja. Governor Bello is said to often describe as unfair the refusal of previous governors to build a place of worship for Christians in the seat of government despite the existence of a mosque for many years now. The groundbreaking which is expected to be graced by the National President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Supo Ayokunle is slated for July 22nd.
If Bello’s crime was because he comes from an ethnic minority then the multitude of aspirants from Kogi East need to check themselves consciously.