Kogi state is undeniably a one party state controlled by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) since 2003 and have continued to remain so unless there is a concerted efforts by mega party to up-turn the tide in the state. So, when the PDP announced its schedule councils primary elections, the entire state was enveloped in apprehensions.
Even with repeated assurances by the chairman, Comrade Hassan Salau, that the party would safeguard the sanctity of the principle of fairness, and equity the people remained undaunted in their apprehension.
To douse the tension, the governor, Captain Idris Wada had penultimate Thursday summoned the PDP stakeholders to read riot act to those officials who may want to circumvent the process that will quarantine free and fair primaries .
According to Wada “I want to categorically declare to you aspirants and leaders that I have no anointed? candidates . I urged you to ensure that the primary election is devoid of imposition of candidates”.
Hardly had the message passed that the reality dawn on the leaders and aspirants that indeed it was business as usual. From the collection point at the PDP secretariat heavily armed security personnel whose presence does not deter the people to unleash terror on those believed to be anti people wanting to impose unpopular candidates.
In Lokoja local government area, the perceived accomplice in the imposition of candidate was beaten pulp and blue right in the presence of security personnel manning the party secretariat.
The alleged impostors according to some stakeholders in the LGA is to be used by a factional leader to manipulate the process in favour of his candidate.
The situation of Lokoja was not different from? other? local government areas of the state as their leaderships kept vigils at the secretariat to ensure that election materials does not enter wrong hands .
In-fact the presence of the leaders of the two factions of Okene LGA at secretariat created tension that the governor has to hurriedly summon them to a meeting to avert the breakdown of law and order as their supporters were ready for a show down.
Although the outcome of the meeting remained sketchy the possibility of a workable agreement may not be that easy. Okene Local government is noted for brutal clannish politics and any attempt to jettison rotational arrangement always met with violence of monumental proportion.
According to Omeiza Usman a commentator on politics from the area said in order not to repeat the darkest era of the area Wada should be warned not to underrate the people.
He added that the governor need to move swiftly to genuinely reconcile the former LOI Ahmed Ogembe and Yahaya Karaku without which the election may not achieve the desired peace even as his? quick intervention in the power sharing model saved the already tense situation.
The situation in ,Adavi ,Okehi ,Ajaokuta and of course Ogori Magongo LGAs that formed central Zone of the state ,the story is the same as old brigades had sworn to keep the new elements out of power .
At Ogorimangogo , the battle is between the secretary to the state government SSG professor Olugbemiro Jegede and the immediate past council chairman and now a member of the Assembly Hon.Gabriel Daudu .
The council has a record of animosity between the Ogoris and the Mangogos? which normally snowball into violence politicking.
Jegede though new in politics have vowed to ensure that the chairman comes from his political camp while Gabriel Daudu is Adamant of retaining power .
This show of strength resulted to violent confrontation between supporters of the two camps during the ward primaries .
In Ajaokuta ,Hon. Mohammed Sadiq a serving member of the House of representatives who was believed to have benefited immensely from imposition is crying hoarse over irregularities in the conduct of the ward primaries.
In the western axis , the PDP chairman of Yagba west local area Hon Ayo Alabi? cheated death by the whiskers as alleged supporters of an aspirant clubbed and matcheted him in the head and he is receiving treatment? in an undisclosed hospital While the immediate past LOI Tunji Aro and twenty of his supporters were held by the police in connection with the mayhem.
At Mopa Muro where the deputy governor Architect Yomi Awoniyi hails from, a battle line seemed to have been drawn between him and the former speaker Clarence Olafemi. Pundits believed that the former speaker hold the record of ditching PDP for opposition party to win his election stressed that there may be a reenactment of the feat if the assumed irregularities in electing councillors and council chairman is allowed to subsist.
At? Ijumu local? government the PDP primary could not be conducted because of court order restraining them from using the delegates list emanated from the last PDP local government congress .
The scenario is not different in the eastern part of the state where the only rallying point for the council job is the former governor Alhaji Ibrahim Idris . From Omala to Ibaji ,Olamaboro to Bassa all the former liaison officers curly his name for anointment
No wonder that his abode in Abuja has become haven for position seekers who ordinarily does not have the? support of their people.
However, the governor Idris Wada took exceptional courage a week to the PDP primary election when he dissolved the interim management team for the councils and openly canvassed for free and fair polls.
LEADERSHIP learnt that reports of alleged impending irregularities in some local government areas like Bassa, Olamaboro, Ibaji, and Ofu had made him? a jury of sort as he was seen in the last week attending to party leaders from various LGAs.
Unfortunately his effort at ensuring that the election was conducted under peaceful atmosphere was ineffective as there was widespread report of ballot box snatching and the use of thugs to humiliate opponents and delegates.
Meanwhile, the result of the Tuesday poll has started trickling in as the losers and winners have agreed for political solutions, which according to pundits, the irregularities may not be strong enough to whittle the fortunes of the party in the May 4 council election.