In this piece, ADELANI ADEPEGBA and GBENGA ODOGUN write that intra-party conflict, ethnic rivalry, among others, will determine the next occupant of the Lord Lugard Government House in Kogi State
The political tension in Kogi State is steadily rising as preparations for the governorship election increase at a frenetic pace. Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed November 16 for the poll in the state prompting a beehive of political activities.
Many candidates have thrown their hats into the ring as the fever to unseat the incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, sweeps across the various political camps like an epidemic.
No fewer than eight political parties are presenting notable contenders for the top job. They include the ruling All Progressives Congress, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party, Young Progressives Party, Social Democratic Party, Accord Party, African Democratic Congress, All Progressives Grand Alliance and the People’s Redemption Party.
The general consensus, however, is that the election will be a straight fight between the APC and the PDP.
The incumbent, Bello, emerged the standard-bearer of the APC last Thursday.
He polled 3,224 votes to emerge the winner in a primary contested by 10 aspirants.
The governor was followed by Dr Babatunde Irukera who polled 109 votes to come second, while Hassan Bewa polled 44 votes.
Other results as announced by the returning officer are: Yahaya Audu, 10 votes; Sani Abdulahi, 7 votes; Bashir Gegu , 4 votes; Blessing Ekele, 0; Iyoma Hadiza, 0; Yakuba Muhammed, 0; and Dalami Muhammed, 0.
Announcing the results, Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, who was the returning officer, urged delegates to accept the result of the election in good faith. He put the total number of delegates at 3,500.
However, two of the contestants expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the poll.
Irukera said that the election was fraught with irregularities, noting that the exercise fell short of acceptable norms.
Bewa , who staged a walkout from the Confluence Stadium, Lokoja, the venue of the primary, alleged that the primary had been compromised.
Bewa , a serving member of the House of Representatives representing the Dekina /Bassa Federal Constituency, said he could not cope with the high level of manipulation at the primary election venue.