By Dr Tom Ohikere
As the clock ticks to the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State, the return ambition of incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello has been receiving overwhelming credibility as groups after groups throw their weight behind him. This avalanche of endorsements is not limited to any single Senatorial district, and consist of elite, professional, grassroot and socio-cultural organizations. Many analysts and close observers of politics in the State opine that with these developments, the APC seems set to effectively shrug off the PDPs feeble bid to return to Lugard House after their 2015 surprise electoral annihilation. The groups include Kogi Central Supreme Council Of Elders, Okun Development Association/ Okun Council of Elders And Leaders, Kogi East Emerging Leaders Forum, Igala Cultural and Development Association, ICDA, All Women United Association (AWUA) and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN),and so many others.
Speaking on their endorsement, the Chairman of Kogi Central Supreme Council Of Elders, Alhaji Sule Aliu said their decision was hinged on the developmental strides of Governor Yahaya Bello across Kogi Central which includes the Itakpe Junction – Eika – Kuroko – Inoziomi road; Ihima – Obangede road; Makaranta – Obehira-eba – Okengwe road; and Obehira-eba – Arigo/Odenku road projects.
He also mentioned the hitherto abandoned Ebogogo – Osisi – Ipaku – Uhucheba road; ongoing Ogori/Magongo link road; Nagazi-uvete/Nagazi-eba road; Agassa – Upogoro – Checkpoint road; ongoing Agassa Junction – Iruvucheba – Idozumi – Ohu Bariki – Idoji road; with Ebiya – Eganyi – Adogo – Unosi being in the pipeline as worthy reasons why every Ebira son and daughter should back the Governor.
According to the Obaro of Kabba,Oba
Solomon Owoniyi of Kabba, “Kogi cannot change the horse in the midstream; we must support Bello to take us to greater heights,” He particularly lauded the governor for accommodating “youths and children of nobody” in his government.
Similarly, the Olu of Magongo,
Sambola Ojo , commended the governor for starting very well, saying that he had impacted on the lives of his people in the areas of health, electricity and harmony in the state by upgrading of the Magongo traditional stools to first and second classes. Relatedly, The Eje of Olamaboro, Simeon Ujah, disclosed that his community was neglected for 16 years and was only salvaged by Governor Yahaya Bello.
These are just the latest waves of endorsements. Governor Yahaya Bello has been center of these endorsements even before the party’s primary in August. Recall that in June, Kogi State Council of Traditional rulers led by the Attah of Igala land, Michael A. Oboni had paid a courtesy call on President Muhammadu Buhari to show their appreciation and approval for the continuation and consolidation the State Governor.
Others include, Kwararafa Unified Assembly, Okun Rebirth Organization, the Kogi state chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the National Association of Kogi State Students (NAKOSS), Igala Students Association (ISA) and National Association of Ebira Students (NAES), Kogi Central Entrepreneurs Group and the State chapter of
National Union of Road Transport Workers (N.U.R.T.W),
According to Barr. Zacchaeus Dare Michael, the President Okun Rebirth Organization, he said the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello was critically challenged by the hiccup of past administrations and also limited by funds, but displayed ability by navigating the troubled challenges, while offering quality and acceptable governance within available resources. That another term in office for Governor Bello would enable him consolidate on the gains and build a new Kogi state of our dreams, and is the easiest route to having an Okun governor in future.
Stating their support, the Entrepreneurial group from Kogi Central disclosed that the unprecedented achievement of the administration deserves to be crowned with a second term “we express our firm support for the re-election of Governor Yahaya Bello come November governorship election because in the last three years, we have seen a lot of positive developments. For instance, there have been massive improvements in physical infrastructure, in security of lives and property, in provision of health centres and related facilities, empowerment scheme and agriculture, to mention but a few.”
What is clear from all this endorsement is that Governor Yahaya Bello is perceived by the people of the state as a champion of equity, balance and harmony among the three major tribes in the state, which they believe is a critical factor and prerequisite for security, development and economic prosperity.