•Ododo’ll win, out-perform me – Gov Bello
By Clifford Ndujihe, John Alechenu & Fortune Eromosele
LEADERS and chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and the Social Democratic Party, PDP, weekend, boasted over their chances of winning the November 11 governorship poll in Kogi State and what they would do if elected.
Governor Yahaya Bello and his commissioners, at the Third GYB Seminar for Nigeria’s Political and Crime Correspondents/Editors in Abuja, said with the achievements of the APC in the last seven and half years and the capacity of its candidate, Alhaji Ahmed Ododo, the party would record landslide victory in the election.
Specifically, Bello said he has put on the ground a sound development template that would make his successor outperform him, said Ododo understands the process, will win the election and take Kogi to greater heights.
Bello, who said he would retire to his house after leaving office on January 27, 2024, “to be with my children, who have missed me immensely in the last eight years,” said Kogi needs someone like Ododo as his successor to sustain his development strides.
According to him, his achievements in the last seven and half years include the allocation of 30 per cent of the budget to education, which has led to the building of two new state universities, boosting the sector and taking Kogi from 28th position in 2016 when he took over, to 14 out of the 36 states of the country.
Noting that he has ensured the security of Kogi which used to be the kidnapping capital of Nigeria by chasing kidnappers and bandits out of the state, the governor assured that the November 11 poll will be the freest, fairest and most peaceful ever in the history of elections in Kogi.
His other achievements, the governor said include making Kogi the best state in Northern Nigeria in terms of amount and salary payment; recruitment of over 1,500 teachers;
allocation of 16 per cent of the budget to healthcare leading to improved healthcare delivery and services via the building of a 300-bed reference hospital in Okene with modern equipment, raising the state’s internally generated revenue, IGR from N250m in 2016 to N1.5bn now, reduction of the state’s debt profile and attraction of $1bn inflows in 2020 among others.
Ododo’ll win, out-perform me – Gov Bello
Urging Kogi people to vote for Ododo as his successor, Bello said the APC candidate is capable, experienced, understands the Kogi development process and template and “will perform better than me,” if elected.
Melaye’s rule’ll restore Kogi’s arrested devt- Adeleke
However, the Chairman of the PDP Campaign for the Kogi State Governorship Election and Osun State Governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke, told the people of Kogi that Senator Dino Melaye, the PDP standard bearer will ensure the restoration of development in the state, if voted into power.
Adeleke stated this when he met the elders and stakeholders of the Kogi West chapter of the PDP in Kabba, Kogi State.
In a statement by his Spokesman, Mallam Olawale Rasheed, the governor said: “Kogites know that when PDP was in office, their lives were better than now. Their business concerns were doing well, their salaries were paid in full and things generally moved smoothly.
“I’m Imole (light) and Dino is Imole too. Together, we are bringing light to Kogi State and I implore the people of Kogi State to unite and rescue the state.
“I have told Governor Yahaya Bello that Imole is coming to Kogi State. Our campaign will be issue-based and we shall repeat the Osun feat in Kogi State by God’s grace.”
The Chairman, contact and mobilization committee of the national campaign, Professor Jerry Gana, equally told the people of Kogi West that they “have a golden opportunity to produce the next governor of Kogi State.
“You must pull all your political capital together to ensure that the opportunity of producing a governor this time does not elude you.
Also speaking at the event, the secretary of the national campaign council, Senator Biodun Olujimi, said the people of Ekiti State share close affinities with Kogi West and it is their great desire to see PDP restored to power in the state.
Those present at the meeting were the Kogi State PDP deputy governorship candidate, Hajia Habibat Mohammed Deen; PDP National Vice Chairman (North Central) Mr Dakas Shan; Tajudeen Yusuf; Shaba Ibrahim; Dr Steven Olorunfemi; Abiodun Ojo; the Director General of the Dino/Habiba Campaign Organisation, Prince Inuwa Iyodo; Prince Richard Akanmode; Kola Ologbondiyan; Mohammed Etudaiye; Adakole Ijogi; Soji Olumorin; S.K Adekunle; and Adams Olorunmo among others.
I’ll liberate Kogi — Ajaka
In like manner, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Governorship Candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, popularly known as Muri, said he has absolute confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to deliver a transparent election, and vowed to liberate the state, if elected..
Ajaka spoke during the launch of the Citizens Interactive Website, held weekend at the campaign office of the SDP in Abuja.
The SDP candidate also dismissed allegations that he was running an ‘Igala’ agenda, saying that he is going there for the Kogi people and to run a ‘Kogi agenda.’
His words: “We have absolute confidence in INEC. The rules are very clear, INEC has a guideline and they have always followed their guideline. Whichever way INEC decides to conduct the election, we are ready to follow them. I have absolute confidence in INEC that we are going to have a transparent election in Kogi State and by the grace of God we are going to win.
“We are prepared in all ramifications, they will be the ones to challenge us in court should we win. By the grace of God with the support of our people, we are winning.
“The people of Kogi East have taken a decision as to who they would choose. Their choice is Muri Ajaka. So there’s nothing like the Igala agenda, what we have is the Kogi agenda”.
Giving a detailed explanation on the launch of the Citizens Interactive Website, Campaign Legal Secretary, Ajaka Campaign Council, Mr Realwan Okpanachi, said the website was for donations and information from indigenes of the state that may need assistance in their various communities if Muri won.
Governance of Kogi’s serious business not for jesters – Fanwo
Reacting to claims of the opposition parties of coming to liberate the state, Kogi State Commissioner for Information, Mr Kingsley Fanwo said most of them are campaigning on the basis of ethnic sentiments and not competence. Post-Yahaya Bello, he said Kogi needs an experienced hand like Ododo because “governance is a serious business. Most of these other candidates are comedians, and if given the chance they would turn governance of the Confluence State into a comedy.