By Ebere Levi
A transition, from Bello to Wada, may be afoot in Kogi state, an impeccable source who is privy to the on-going muted political realignment in the state has told The Source.
The people of the state will vote on Saturday, November 16 to either re- elect the incumbent, Yahaya Bello of the All Progressives Congress, APC, or elect his main challenger and younger brother of Captain Idris Wada, the immediate past governor, Engineer Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP .However, a shocker, it has been learnt awaits the incumbent.
APC “Judases” Versus Bello
Though prominent APC stalwarts in the state have been visible at Bello’s campaign rallies to drum support for him, this magazine has been informed they are, actually, selling the governor a dummy as they are allegedly not with him body and soul.
Rather, several prominent party chieftains, especially from the Igala axis where the PDP candidate hails from, are said to be secretly rooting him.
According to multiple party sources, aside APC bigwigs, non partisan prominent citizens and most elderstatesmen in the state are not also enthusiastic about Bello’s reelection.
“Forget the raztamatazz at Bello’s rallies and physical presence of these party chiefs at the rallies, all is not well within the Kogi APC.
Those who pull the strings and levers of power in Kogi APC and Kogi politics generally, have, since, even before the primaries, resolved that Bello does not have the experience and temperament to govern Kogi and must, therefore, not be returned” , one of the sources informs.
Musa Wada: Another Wada in the Government House?
“I can assure you that Governor Bello will be facing a grand sabotage from the within, from his own party on the election day.Virtually all party leaders, who are currently mouthing support for him, will bare their fangs at the eleventh hour.
For them, it’s anyone but Bello. And of course you can tell who the main beneficiary of such internal insurrection in APC on election day is”, one of the sources said.
The Source gathered that in Igala land, the largest ethnic group in the state, across party line, Wada’s candidacy is seen as a pan- Igala project hence APC chieftains there are silently working for their kinsman.
“Bello’s impeached Deputy, Simeon Achuba and his sucessor, Edward Onoja are both Igala but this pales into nothingness. It will not translate into meaningful votes for Bello. Infact, Achuba is now openly working for Wada”, the magazine was further informed
According to an APC stalwart in Okene who pleaded not to be named for the fear of victimization , “The Igala nation has decided to take power back and restore hegemony over the other two minority ethnic groups in the state- Okun Yoruba and Ebiraland. Irrespective of party affiliations, Igala sons and daughters see Wada’s ambition as a task that must be achieved”
How Beautiful is Okun as a Bride?
For both Wada and Bello, Kogi West Senatorial district also known as Okunland and hugely populated by the Yoruba or Okun Yoruba as they are also called, is the beautiful bride in the coming election, and hold the ace.
Okunland, the home senatorial district of Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Smart Adeyemi, National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan, James Faleke, a sitting House of Reps member, and running mate to the late former governor of the state in the November 2015 gubernatorial election, Audu Abubakar, and a host of other prominent politicians, is therefore, being fiercely courted by the two main candidate.
Dino Melaye: Will he bounce back to the Senate
Some political analysts say the current political configuration in Kogi favours Okun land as the decider of next week’s election.
Okunland is yet to produce governor since the creation of Kogi.The nearest it got to occupying the exalted position was former Speaker of Kogi state House of Assembly, Olufemi Clerence’s brief stint as Acting Governor.
The dilemma facing the people, as far as gubernatorial election is concerned, is whether to believe Bello’s mantra of the next governor after him being an Okun Yoruba, or support Wada who has an Okun son, Engineer Samuel Bamidele Aro as a running mate.
The likes of Senator Adeyemi and Faleke allegedly with governorship ambitions are said to have anchored their support for Bello on his promise to facilitate the emergence of an Okun son as governor at the end of his second term in 2023.
This Magazine was told that had Audu Abubakar, an Igala son, not died on the cusp of victory in 2015, he would have done one term-owing to constitutional limitations having been governor between 1992 and 1993 and 1999 and 2003- and facilitated the emergence of Faleke as his successor.
Smart Adeyemi: Another shot at the Senate
Audu’s unexpected death just hours before the result of the November 2015 election was announced paved the way for Bello to become governor. Having come a distant second behind Audu in the primary election, the APC controversially picked him to replace the former governor ahead Falake who was on the ticket as Audu’s running mate. Bello was to inherit Audu’s votes and squared up against Captain Wada and beat him in the ensuing supplementary election.
Informed sources told this Magazine that a majority of the Okun political class, traditional rulers and intelligentsia do not buy the argument that the route to a Kogi governor of Okun extraction is shorter, via Governor Bello than it is via Musa Wada.
They insist that political, ethno-religious and population configuration of the state as regards permutations for an Okun governor in the near future favours an alliance with the Igala, the most populous and homogeneous ethnic group.
“Our best bet is an alliance with our Igala brothers an sisters.They have the population and will also deploy it for the purpose of determining who becomes governor or which zone produces the governor. Musa Wada is running with our son, Aro, it is politically wise to line up with them and politically suicidal not to do so”, a very prominent Okun politician told The Source.
An Ex APC chieftain from the area who said he does not belong to any party says Okun has a rock solid prospect of getting the governorship seat through Wada.
His words: “Aro is a bird at hand. We can not hope and wait for the uncertain why the certain is with us. After eight years of Wada, Okun and Igala will cooperate to produce an Okun governor.
I can tell you that Bello has no capacity to facilitate the emergence of an Okun governor. Ebiraland does not have the numbers, the population, to swing it.
I can also tell you that in the event of Bello’s victory, his attempt at installing a Christian Okun governor at the end of his tenure in 2023 will be frustrated by a highwire ethno-religious gang up by his own Ebira kinsmen and the Igala who share common religious identity- Islam. If that happens, the likely unfortunate scenario will be the emergence of an Igala governor with an Ebira deputy- both Moslems”.
Between Aro and Onoja:
Keen followers of Kogi politics are of the view that following the controversial impeachment of Achuba, governor Bello would have pulled a masterstroke on the PDP and Wada by picking an Okun as replacement.
Had he done this, he would have pre-empted Wada/ PDP choice of running mate from the area.
According to observers, if Bello had picked Achuba’s replacement from Okunland, his sing song of an Okun Yoruba replacing him in 2023 would have sank and sat well with the people because with their son on the ticket, the prospect of an Okun governor will look real and nearer.
They contend that picking an Igala, Edward Onoja, as Achuba’s replacement, and then running mate, is a fatal political calculation on governor Bello’s side. First, Onoja, they predict, will not attract meaningful votes in Igala nation; many having openly said what they wanted is number one (governor) and not number two(Deputy).
Secondly, they said it is quite unlikely that the Igala will sacrifice Wada to please Onoja and by extension, Bello.
So, while Aroh will be working to deliver Okun to the PDP, Onoja will be at pains explaining to his kins why they deserve second fiddle(himself) instead of the first fiddle(Wada).
Kogi as a Theatre of War:
Though the two main parties, PDP and APC, have asked their members to be calm and law abiding during the election, this magazine has learnt that political thugs from both parties are waiting in the wings to perpetuate large scale rigging and violence.
It was also gathered that non of the parties is prepared to be out-spent on the election day as various vote buying innovations will be allegedly employed to entice and sway voters.
The Lastline: Melaye Versus Adeyemi
In Kogi West, two battles will rage on two frontlines:Bello Versus Wada and Melaye versus Adeyemi.The Court of Appeal recently annulled Senator Melaye’s election and ordered a re-run with Senator Adeyemi who previously represented the senatorial district in the Senate.
The rerun will be taking place simultaneously with the governorship election.
With Bello’s vow to ensure Melaye is defeated, pundits say Okunland will be a hotbed of fierce and intriguing contest on November 16. Bello and Adeyemi, according to a political analyst, will come with federal might “but mark my words, Melaye will stop them, he will defeat them. He will prevail because he is close to the people”