By Boluwaji Obahopo
Abubakar Ibrahim, popularly called AbuIbro in Kogi political circles is in contention for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship ticket.
Arrayed in battle for the PDP ticket against Abubakar are no fewer than 12 aspirants who have paid the mandatory N25m required for nomination, expression of interest forms and sundry expenses.
Prominent among them are former Governor Idris Wada; his younger brother and Abubakar’s in-law, Engr. Musa Wada; Senator Dino Melaye; Bank Executive, Victor Adoji; Security Consultant, Dr. Joe Erico; and a Quantity Surveyor, Aminu Abubakar.
Abubakar forayed into the murky waters of Nigerian politics, early last year. That was when he commenced consultations on his dream of contesting the governorship election. Abubakar is coming clean without baggages of corruption and other acts that run foul of the law and which easily ensnares seekers of public office in the state.
There is, however, one big hurdle. His father, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, a successful business man, was once a governor of the state for nearly nine years on the same PDP platform. Abubakar’s ambition viz-a-viz his father’s perceived roles have divided the Kogi electorate into two big camps – the anti and pro-Ibro camps.
Those opposed to him blame his father’s regime for what they describe as under-development of the state. They also accuse him of executing substandard projects and approaching governance too casually when he was in office. This group don’t want to touch the younger Ibrahim with a long pole.
To them Kogi is not a personal estate and should have no room for encouraging a dynasty. “What we are saying is that Kogi is not a fiefdom. We need a fresh blood that is vibrant. Abubakar is not the answer.” Zakariah Idu, a politician told Vanguard. He opined that Abubakar’s aspiration is tantamount to his father getting a third term through the back door.
However, the pro-Ibrahim group believes that the former governor laid the foundation for modern Kogi. They point to the network of roads, about 1,500 houses, nearly 2,000 primary school blocks, international market, Specialist Hospital and government offices. They also point at 24-hour water supply through the greater Lokoja water scheme, prompt payment of salaries and emoluments and unceasing payment of WAEC/NECO fees, bursary and scholarships as legacies that set aside the Ibro years as golden. This group will stop at nothing to see Abubakar become governor.
“History is replete with examples of parents who have successfully mentored their children to follow in their footsteps. In fact, the tradition dates to the beginning of times. It is not unusual therefore to hear of a family of lawyers, generation of politicians, lineage of priests, etc. The prayer of every parent is to have children that will surpass him or her in success. Since Abubakar’s ambition is lawful and he is competent, he should be encouraged.” William Ochaja said.
He argued further that the destiny of a child must be separated from that of a father and that it amounts to injustice to lump both together. “If Ibro had been convicted for a crime and gone to prison and his son also committed similar offence, will the father’s prison term cover or atone for the son’s offence? In any case a child does not determine the routes through which he enters the world.”
During the public declaration of his intention, Abubakar emphasised that his desire for public service was self-conceived. “I am more than 50 years and some are still saying someone wants to impose me. That is insulting to me and more so to the Kogi people.” the aspirant, who has Bachelor of Agriculture and PGD in Management and Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy, said.
Ahead of the primary for the PDP ticket and election proper, it is to been if his father’s name will make or mar Ibrahim.