The battle to succeed Late Honourable Buba Jibril, Deputy Majority Leader and Member Representing Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency who died February this year is already gathering momentum. Our Kogi state correspondent, Ibrahim Obansa writes that it is going to a battle of wight.
As the Federal House of Representatives, sets to declare vacant the seat of late Honourable Buba Jibril, the late member representing Lokoja /Kogi Federal Constituency, in the National Assembly, no fewer than five contending forces are already gostling for the position. While the camp of the Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has already tipped Honourable Hanura, who is currently a Senior Special Assistant to the governor to replace Jibril, the camp loyal to the late member are however rooting for a former chairman of Lokoja local government council, Kashim Mabo who was believed to be one a loyalist of Honourable Jibril.
The former Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Ahmed Umar Imam who at the moment is also a member of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) has also declared his intention to run for the vacant position. This no doubt is going to be a haculian task for the party as to who fly the flag of the party, more so that the governor has already tacitly endorsed a particularly person.
While the All Progressive Congress, (APC) were seemingly emeshed in this confusion, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) was said to have played a fast one by Zoning the position to Kogi Local Government Area producing Engr Bashir Gegu. According to a political bigwig from the area the choice of Kogi LGA and in particular the Gegu axis was to settle the area who has not occupy the position since 2003. According to him because of the impressive performance of Late Jibril, it was difficult to respect the gentleman rotational arrangement while the Late member was still alive.
He added that the Gegu axis has also not produced any person for the position since 2003, when Ademu Osuku who is from Kogi axis left .
THE AUTHORITY investigation however revealed that the duo of Mabo and Imam have concluded arrangements to seek an alternative platform to actualize their dreams, since it was evident that they are not likely to secure the ticket of the APC due to the open adoption of Haruna as the preferred candidate of the governor’s political group in the APC. While it was gathered reliably that Mabo is set to move into the APC, Imam may have find solace in the SDP. This option may have very grave negative consequences on the electoral fortunes of the APC. According a member of the party, Anda Sule, the APC would be too fragmented to withstand the opposition.
While Haruna Isah may be banking on the powers of the state government to see him through, those supporting Mabo were however confident that the Jibril structures in Lokoja /Kogi was still intact, saying that, what Kashim Mabo needs at the moment was to oil it and victory will be sure.
Other factors which will altimatly work in favour of Mabo according to Seidu Baba a youth leader from Lokoja is his father’s political structure. His father, Kassim Gana was a former chairman of Lokoja local government and a member House of Assembly in the old Kwara State. Speaking further, Baba noted that the refusal of the PDP to give its ticket to Barrister Shaba Ibrahim who is a stronger factor in the Buba Jibril political family may negative consequences on the political fortunes of Bashir the candidate of the PDP.
The odds against Mabo according to another member of his group is lack of generocity and his ability to mix well
The Kwankwasy move was also said to be solidly behind the aspiration of the former speaker as most people believed that Senator Rabiu Musa Kwonkwaso was behind the SDP which was the platform Imam may have adopted to sail to the House of Representatives. He was also believed to be transparent and caring as Speaker of the State Assembly. As a former staff of JAMB, he was said to have touched several lives in Lokoja Local Government Area. Speaking with the THE AUTHORITY, Mall Idris Nda a fisherman said Imam has large youth followership. His chances however, may be Limited by his movement from the APC, considering the limited time he has to oil the new political platform.
In all these, the candidate of the PDP, Engr. Bashir Gegu said he was unruffled. The PDP believed that the APC in the state has lost electoral value, arguing that the APC led government in the State has performed abysmaly to attract any more symperty from the electorates.
A key prayer in the Lokoja LGA chapter of the APC who would not want his name in print told the THE AUTHORITY that, though the preferred candidate of the APC is a good man, his association with the governor Bello group has already denied him any symperty. While citing the case of the Senator Dino Melaye Recall which said failed because of the proponents of the recall. He maintained that the recall would have been successful if Governor Yahaya Bello was not involved.
“As I speak with you nobody want to be associated with any candidate endorsed by Governor Yahaya Bello. People are suffering. Looking at the non payment of salaries. This is one big problem that is affecting the government. The refusal of Governor Bello to recognize those who actually suffered for the victory of APC is another major factor. I sympathize with Haruna. He is a good man, but unfortunately, the Bello factor will affect him” he maintained.
He added that the fight is going to be a straight fight between Kashim Mabo and Bashir Gegu. According to him while the PDP will be deliver block vote from the Kogi /Kotonkarfi axis the ADC will be banking on what he described as the very solid political structure of the Late Hon Buba Jibril. He said in addition, the anticident of Hon Kashim Mabo while he held sway as the council chairman of Lokoja LGA would be an added advantage. He noted that Mabo was loved by majority of the people, describing him as a selfless leader who is always ready to make sacrifices on behalf of the people. He added that the battle is going to be fierce. The major gladiators in the race have been talking tough on how and why any of them will emerge winner at the forthcoming election..
The beauty of the political game would be that the men are grassroots politicians jostling to slug it out from each other, so the people of Lokoja-Koto would decide who represent them in the remaining 11 months to complete Late Hon. Buba’s tenure, based on their antecedents, among other factors,and what the people know about them.
The Lokoja-kogi bye election is also crucial to the people of the constituency because of the immeasurable role and kind disposition of the late member and deputy majority leader, Hon. Buba Jibril.
In this battle for supremacy, One of the biggest factors in Haruna’s favour is the incumbency factor. As he has the full support of the sitting governor considered as one their strongholds.
The PDP Leader, Senator Tunde Ogbeha who hails from the same constituency with late Buba Jibril has also publicly identified with the PDP candidate from kogi local government against candidates from lokoja local government area.
This may be an added advantage to the candidate of the PDP But some political key prayers from the area who confinded in THE AUTHORITY, said One of the factors that may work against the PDP candidate at the election is the perceived lack of broad-base support among the people in Lokoja and part of Kogi local government areas. Compared to the previous National Assembly election, only the people of the constituency would decide which way the pendulum swings and it is going to be a matter of time they said .