National News

#KogiGovRace: How APC, PDP plots strategies ahead of Gubernatorial Primaries

The governorship election in Kogi State is fast approaching and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC- two major political parties- and their aspirants are churning out strategies and schemes for victory.

The Kogi State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), recently, conducted its ward congresses, that culminated in the emergence of new state executives for the party.

Senior officers of the party at the national level, led by Alhaji Abubakar Aiyetogo, watched over the conduct of the congress.

With the successful conduct of the PDP ward and state congresses, and barring any serious complaints, all appears set for the party’s governorship primaries in the state ahead the November 21, governorship election.

Kogi State has been a PDP-controlled state since 2003, but lost some grounds to the rival All Progressives Congress, APC in theMarch 28, National Assembly poll.

The loss of some grip by the PDP in the state, somewhat led to the conclusion that it may not be business as usual for the party in the state. Even the party’s effort at recovery with the state assembly election, yielded no better than average result.

It is believed today that Kogi PDP is right now at its weakest point, ever, and the governor, Capt Idris Wada, percieved as one without firm political control of the party.

Wada’s ability to win the next governorship election, if he scales through the PDP primaries, has become much of an issue for debate in the state. But, recent developments since after the state congress of the PDP, show rather a revived party, prepared for a crunchy battle when Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) lifts the lid on electioneering campaign.

But the party was almost caught up in a crisis with the cancellation of the earlier congress.

The national working committee, (NWC) of the PDP had announced that “after a careful review of the reports of the Congress Committee and Appeal Committee, which held in respect of the Three-man adhoc delegates ward congresses in Kogi State on June 27, 2015 decided to cancel the exercise.”

The national publicity secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, while announcing the cancellation held that “the participation of a ‘Local Organising Committee’ which is unknown to the constitution of the party and the guidelines marred the congresses.” This announcement shattered tranquility in the party, and it then looked obvious that the party was heading for in-fighting.

Consequently, a new Three-Man Adhoc Delegates Ward Congress was rescheduled for July 14. But Metuh while in Lokoja during the repeat conduct of the ward and state delegate congress, commended the peaceful and orderly conduct of the delegates and said the party was on course in the state.

The party’s national spokesman lamented the earlier cancellation, considering the enthusiasm, displayed by members of the party to follow the rules, sign-posting that the party has embraced some re-awakening in view of the November governorship election.

According to Metuh, the superlative performance of the PDP-led administration in the state remains unrivalled, noting that a victory in the forth-coming governorship election will enable the government complete all the signature projects it has initiated.

Metuh, who doubled as chairman of the Congress Committee, who led other delegation of the NWC and the North-central leadership of the PDP to the state, posited that the repeat congress was geared towards giving fair hearing to some aggrieved interests, in accordance with the party’s stand to listen to every complaint in the new dispensation and apologized for the inconveniences the earlier cancellation may have caused the members.

He urged the members of the party in the state not to allow the harassment and intimidation by the government at the centre to dampen their resolve to retain the state in the election.

Metu disclosed that due process would henceforth be followed in the party’s ward and state congresses across the country, and expressed confidence that the party in Kogi State would after the repeat congress come out more united and prepared for the task to win the governorship election.

The peaceful conduct of the ward and state delegate election, signified a new direction in the party. The election was adjudged by Governor Wada as the first election within the party that was rancour-free and praised the party members for their resolve to entrench internal democracy in the party. According to the governor, “Now we have party executives, who are eager to show what they can contribute to the party. We are very happy that the ward congress went peacefully and rancour-free as no single person wrote a petition against the congress. There was a level playing field for every body.”

Wada commended PDP’s NWC for its interest in ensuring that the party in the state remained united, and tasked members to work for the collective interest of the party and to shun issues that would breed discontentment.

Wada, however, maintained silence on wether he will contest for the PDP ticket or not but urged all to wait till when the PDP rolls out its timetable for collection of gubernatorial forms and see if he will pick the form or not.

While the PDP seeks to regain lost grounds, the APC is gearing to ensure the wind of change that secured it victory at the center sweeps through Kogi on November 21.

But the contest for the party’s ticket, if not properly handled, could be it’s undoing. Watchers are worried over the daily increase in the number of APC aspirants for the APC governorship ticket in the state. While the number continues to grow, members of the party in the state are locked in an argument for a generational shift that would do away with politicians of the old order in the race in favour of politicians of the younger generation.

Latest checks revealed that the most serious business of most aspirants on the platform of APC for now is to ensure that Prince Abubakar Audu is dumped out of the race.

Those who spoke with LEADERSHIP Sunday maintained that Audu, as a member of board of trustees of APC and leader in the state’s chapter of the party, ought to excuse himself from the race.

Most APC aspirants state that the change desired in the state, is not just a change from PDP to APC, but from the old generation to the younger generation.

Senator Nicholas Ugbane one of the APC governorship aspirants in his annoyance against the presence of old generation politicians told journalists in his country home that he was not stepping down for anybody, not even Prince Audu, even while noting that Audu as his former boss made him commissioner in four different ministries in four years.

The tense political atmosphere in Kogi State towards the governorship election, would linger till the final day day, but which party wins or loses may depend on who flies their flags. The quality of the candidates of the PDP and the APC will be a major decider in the battle.