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Kogi LG Polls: The mixed fortunes of power brokers

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NO one can deny the fact that the recent council polls in Kogi State would be characterised by violence and protests as indications towards such development started during the primaries conducted by the parties to pick their candidates for the 21 chairmanship and 239 councillorships seats respectively. The atmosphere immediately after the primaries was rife with the rhythm of  war drums, which seemingly rubbished the reconciliation process put in place to appeal to the aggrieved. This can be said to be the scenario within the camp of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)as other political parties who are in the opposition managed their own without much crisis, perhaps due to their minimal visibility in the state.

That notwithstanding, only few council areas had hitch- free primaries out of the 21 in the state. In others, it was protest and complaints galore from the electorate and the aspirants to the extent that some aggrieved persons who lost out quickly pitched their tents with the oppositio. Some were lucky to have got without sweat what they lost from where they are coming from. Expectedly, in most of these areas where there were protests, this was either due to the imposition of candidates or battle of supremacy between the leaders who wanted to still call the shot and retain the role of fix it to the disadvantage of the electorates which in turn caused division among the supporters and eventually polarized the party.

In Mopamuro council area, it was between the former Speaker and Acting Governor Clarence Olafemi and the deputy governor, Yomi Awoniyi. Both are leaders in their own right but findings indicated that they are nursing some grudges against each other but certainly not the candidate Folorunso Daniyan, the son of the respected late elder statesman, Chief Bamidele Silas Daniyan. This however came to the fore during the election where some PDP supporters worked against the party. Unconfirmed sources alleged that Olafemi worked for the opposition in order to prove a point.

Also in ljumu, the supremacy battle between Senator Smart Adeyemi and Abiodun Ojo is still rages. The supposed candidate of Abiodun Ojo for the election went to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to pick the ticket, having been believed to have lost out to the Adeyemi camp whichpicked Dr Remi Odutola who eventually won the race.

That of Ogori Magongo Council was between Hon Gabriel Daudu and the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Olugbenro Jegede. Daudu believed that the primary that produced Major Fimihan Akerejola {Rtd} was not properly conducted as it took place in an unauthorised venue. One of the aspirants, Aturu Ojo, went to court to challenge the candidature of Akerejola.

The people of Ibaji council area, who alleged imposition, took to the streets and, in the process, burnt down the council secretariat to show their displeasure and annoyance  of the outcome of the primary. It was a boycott however in Lokoja by the group loyal to Senator Tunde Ogbeha  due to irreconcilable differences within the camps. The former Senator and his group are the determinant factor in Politics as far as the council area is concerned but they could not arrive at a consensus this time around which resulted in a faction, thus the boycott.

 However in Dekina council area, both Governor Idris Wada  and his rival, Isah Echocho, are from the same political ward. The bitter rivalry that came to play towards the last governorship election  which eventually  produced Wada as the candidate replayed itself again as the two locked horns and worked in opposite directions, perhaps to determine who was in control.

This was the picture all over the council areas in the state as protest, annoyance and bitterness ruled the day  and such attitude was carried over to the election. The PDP therefore went to the poll as a divided house, worked against itself  as the reconciliation efforts of the governor did very little. To worsen the problem, the opposition parties came out strongly, explored the cleavages and used them to their advantage.

A few days to the election, the ACN threatened to withdraw if the State Independent Electoral Commission {SIEC} refused to display the voters register. The leader of the party in Kogi State and former House of Representatives, Dino Melaiye, told newsmen that the issue of display of the register was a constitutional matter which could not be discarded  informing that a plot had been uncovered  by to rig the election through the use of fake army and police who would hijack ballot boxes. The opposition released the bombshell a day to the election, informing that they would not be part of the poll, alleging irregularities by the State Independent Electoral Commission in collaboration with the ruling PDP.

 Opposition parties, including the ACN, All Nigeria People’s Party {ANPP} and Congress for Progressive Change {CPC}, spoke through Melaiye,  saying that since they were not participating in the election, there should be no resultsdeclared. The election, however, turned bloody, as three people lost their lives  but one of them died on the eve of the election.  Adonis  Omeh,  a councillorship aspirant from Awo Ward 1 in Ojoku District of Ankpa  was, on Friday night,  shot death at close range by unknown assailants. The deceased, it was discovered, had contested the PDP ticket for the ward with two others and was returning from a meeting with party members when he met his untimely death.

In  Dekina Local Government,in  Odu Ward 1, two persons lost their lives  during a clash between PDP and ACN supporters over distribution of electoral materials. Anyigba, the usual flashpoint in the Eastern Senatorial District was quiet and peaceful as accreditation went smoothly with heavy presence of security personnel while some units in Idah did not see electoral officers or materials.

At most of the polling units in Lokoja, there was high presence of security personnel, and accreditation of voters went  on smoothly. At Okene in the Central senatorial district, accreditation commenced on time with massive turnout in some areas while few others had low turnout but the it was generally peaceful.

The police command, which deployed over 8,000 men for the election, said that 25 suspects were arrested for various offences  during the elections. The Deputy Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Ajayi Okasanmi , who  confirmed the arrests, added that those who burnt the PDP office in Anyiba in Dekina local government area and the SIEC office in Bassa local government area  had been arrested.

At last, the result was announced, with PDP winning all the 21 chairmanship  and 225 councillorship seats respectively, leaving only nine for the opposition, including  ACN and CPC which boycotted the election.

Last modified on Monday, 13 May 2013 11:57

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