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Kogi Governorship Race: Who Will Win the Tight Contest? 

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The people of Kogi state, located in the north-central region of Nigeria, are set to elect their next governor on November 11, 2023. The election is expected to be a close contest between 18 candidates from different political parties, but the main contenders are Senator Dino Melaye of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmed Usman-Ododo of the All-Progressives Congress (APC) and Murtala Yakubu Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello of the APC, is not eligible to run for a third term due to constitutional limits. He has endorsed his deputy, Ododo, as his successor and campaigned for him across the state. Ododo, a former auditor general for local governments, is popular among the Ebira people, who are the dominant ethnic group in Kogi Central senatorial district. He also enjoys the support of some women and youth groups, as well as some traditional rulers.

However, Ododo faces a strong challenge from Melaye, a vocal senator and critic of the Bello administration. Melaye, who hails from Kogi West senatorial district, is known for his flamboyant lifestyle and political theatrics. He has promised to improve the welfare of the workers and pensioners, who have been complaining of irregular and percentage salary payments under Bello. He has also vowed to restore security and peace in the state, which has been plagued by kidnappings, banditry and communal clashes.

Melaye’s running mate is from Kogi East senatorial district, which has the highest number of registered voters in the state. However, the district also has the highest number of governorship candidates, most of whom are from the Igala ethnic group. The Igala, who have ruled the state for over 18 years since its creation in 1991, are eager to reclaim power from the Ebira. Among the Igala candidates, the most prominent is Ajaka, a former aide to the Yobe state governor and the deputy spokesman of the APC before he defected to the SDP. Ajaka has a strong grassroots support in Kogi East and has also reached out to other zones and ethnic groups.

The election is expected to be a tight race, as the candidates have their strengths and weaknesses. The outcome may depend on several factors, such as the turnout of voters, the performance of the electoral commission, the security situation, and the influence of money and godfathers. The election may also be marred by violence, as some political thugs have been reportedly mobilized by some parties and candidates to disrupt the process.

The people of Kogi state hope that the election will be free, fair and peaceful, and that the best candidate will emerge as their next governor. They also hope that the next governor will address the challenges facing the state and improve their living conditions.

Source: Vanguard

 

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