With November 2023 approaching, the political landscape in Kogi State is ablaze as contenders vie for the coveted gubernatorial seat. Despite its abundant human and material resources, the state has yet to reach its full potential, leaving citizens yearning for better lives and economic growth. As the governorship election looms, three prominent candidates stand out: Alhaji Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Dino Melaye, representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Each candidate comes with their promises and vision for Kogi’s future.
Governance is under scrutiny, and critics question the current administration’s performance. Issues such as delayed salary payments and inadequate infrastructure have marred the almost eight-year reign of the APC-led government. The high poverty rate and unemployment figures underscore the pressing need for effective leadership and inclusive policies. As citizens increasingly prioritize service delivery and good governance, the opposition parties could potentially gain an edge at the polls if they present compelling alternatives.
On the positive side, security has seen improvements under the present administration. The empowerment of local vigilantes and the involvement of traditional rulers as watchdogs have contributed to a safer state. Additionally, the EBIGO initiative has fostered unity among the people, giving the APC a strong talking point in their campaign.
The upcoming election also highlights the prominence of ethnicity and tribalism. The three major tribes in the state – Igala, Ebira, and Okun – each vie for their “turn” at the governorship. Examining the voting patterns from the last election, where Governor Bello secured significant support from his Central region, and Musa Wada gained favor in the East, it becomes evident that tribal affiliations play a role in shaping the outcomes. The current race presents a similar dynamic, as each major tribe fields its candidate, making the competition fiercer than ever.
The winner of the Kogi State Governorship remains uncertain, as the three leading candidates have significant backing from their respective regions. Tensions run high as the campaign trail intensifies, leaving citizens eager to see who will emerge victorious in the race for the “white lion” seat. The November 11 election promises to be a defining moment for the future of Kogi State, as its people await the leadership that will guide them towards progress and prosperity.
Adama Umar Ayuba, reporting from Kano.