— Tom Ohikere
As the clock ticks down to the highly anticipated governorship election in Kogi state, political enthusiasts are bracing for a riveting two-horse race. Scheduled alongside elections in Bayelsa and Imo states, the Kogi poll stands out, devoid of an incumbent seeking reelection after the completion of Governor Yahaya Bello’s constitutionally mandated two terms.
With around twelve candidates vying for the coveted position, the focus narrows down to four prominent contenders: Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo (APC), Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka (SDP), Senator Dino Melaye (PDP), and Honourable Elder Leke Abejide (ADC). Each brings a unique background to the race, with Ododo, a former auditor general of local government, enjoying the backing of the ruling APC. Ajaka, a former deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, is the SDP flagbearer, while Melaye, a former senator and spokesperson of the PDP’s 2023 presidential campaign, aims for the governorship. Abejide, a sitting House of Representatives member, represents the ADC.
Despite the formidable campaign efforts of the PDP and the ADC, many observers believe the real contest lies between the APC and the SDP candidates. Ododo, a protégé of the outgoing governor, carries the momentum of the ruling party, while Ajaka, with his APC background, stands as a strong contender for the SDP.
While acknowledging Melaye’s charisma and administrative prowess, concerns linger over the complexities of the political landscape in Kogi West, his senatorial district, posing potential challenges to his prospects in this two-horse race. As the state braces for the electoral showdown, only time will reveal the political trajectory that Kogi will embark upon under its new leadership.