A head of the November 2 governorship election in Kogi State, the state governor, Yahaya Bello, said on Tuesday that he was confident of defeating any governorship candidate fielded by opposition parties in the state even if the candidate was from Igala land.
There are reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is the major opposition party in the state, has concluded plans to field a candidate from Igala, the largest ethnic group in the state, to square up with Bello who has indicated interest to seek a second term on the platform of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking exclusively with Daily Independent, Kingsley Fanwo, Director-General, Media and Publicity to the governor, said contrary to the impression being created by some pessimists in the state, the people of Igala were appreciative of what the governor had done in the last three years and wanted him re-elected.
“Those saying any Igala candidate can defeat the governor are probably still living in the past.
“In Kogi of today, under the leadership of the dynamic and innovative governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the state has changed from an ethnic jingoist state to one that is closely knitted, cohesive, and ready to move forward united into prosperity. It has been something that they don’t like. By this I mean the few elite who are always beating the drumbeats of ethnicity in the state”, he said.
While dismissing the claim that the governor marginalised the people of Igala, Fanwo said aside roads, water projects, and electricity, Bello had done a lot for the people of Igala and this was manifested in the outcome of the 2019 general elections where the APC recorded landslide victory.
He also dismissed the threat by the PDP, saying the party was currently in disarray over plans by former leaders who failed to perform to return to power through the back door.
He said the performance of the governor had earned him endorsements from prominent sons and daughters of Igala land, including the Atta of Igala, HRH Michael Idakwo Ameh Oboni, who is the chairman, Kogi State Traditional Council.
“No Igala candidate can defeat the governor come November 2. The PDP right now is in disarray because somebody who was governor for nine (not eight) years is trying to bring his son again to rule the state.
“A governor whom the people have passed a verdict on in 2015 and repeated it during the rerun when his people rejected him and voted for a person they know will move the state forward is also warming up that he wants to contest.
“The in-law of the first person I mentioned is also warming up to contest. So, it’s around the circle of Ibro Wada which so many leaders in the PDP are not comfortable with.
“The PDP in Kogi is in disarray while the APC is well-organised and that was manifested in the last general elections when APC won the presidential election, two of the three senatorial districts, seven out of nine House of Reps seats and 25 out of 25 House of Assembly seats.
“That is unprecedented in the history of the state and it will repeat itself on November 2 when the APC fields Governor Yahaya Bello as its candidate for the election.”
Citing examples of some of the projects executed by Bello in Igala land, Fanwo said: “The town called Abejukolo is the headquarters of Omala Local Government Area. That was where the former governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, was born.
“The town had no electricity for more than 25 years. However, an Ebira governor from Kogi Central came into office and in less than three years, fixed that electricity.
“So, are you now saying that if there is an election tomorrow and there is an Igala against him, the people of Abejukolo will leave somebody who removed them from darkness into light?
“These are the issues that those people are not quite familiar with or just chose to live in denial.
“We have done so much for Igala land. We have lots of projects that we have executed in Igala land and they are forever grateful to the governor.
“Also, we have lots of water projects in Igala land because water used to be the major problem of the Igala nation.
“The issue of insecurity has been one of our strong points. In Igala land, they had quite a big share of that. In Anyigba, we used to call it the capital of some criminals who will come from other states and perpetrate nefarious activities.
“Today, the story has changed because a governor that is committed to security has ensured that he has declared war on criminals in the state. They are no longer finding it comfortable to stay there.
“All these are going to decide where the pendulum will swing to on November 2, and to cap it all, the chairman of the Kogi State Traditional Council is the Attah of Igala and himself, with the council, has come out openly to endorse the second term bid of Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
“That is to show you the direction of the Igala nation. Igala people are very informed, intelligent, industrious, and they love developments. They love what this governor is doing and they will vote for him massively in November.”