The significance of Kogi electoral upsets

It is no longer news that the 2023 presidential election has come and gone and the reality of that election is the fact that many of our assumed political heavyweights and actors angling to succeed Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state lost their polling units and wards by not delivering it to their party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.

 Major contenders like, the deputy-governor of the state, Chief Edward Onoja, the chief of staff to the governor, Pharm Samiu Asuku, the commissioner for finance, Ashiru, the accountant general of the state, Jimoh, the auditor general, the commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs and many cabinet members lost out in their quest to deliver for the  presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, now president-elect.

 Some reasons have been attributed to their non-deliverance of their assumed areas of political domination and these are very obvious; they are not in anyway connected to their people at the grassroots and this has also shown clearly that their political value has completely waned. It has brought to the fore the unknown truth in Kogi state about these politicians who portray the wrong impression that they are the major players in the politics of their given areas as most of them have, as the outcome of the presidential election shows in their domain that in reality the people of their areas have now woken to the reality that, gone are the days when they and not the people determine their political fate.

 The impression the would-be contestants carry about that they are up there above their people in determining the outcome of an election in their domains if the results of the presidential election is anything to go by has been brought to a lie.The lessons learnt from this particular election of the failure of these politicians is that their people have said with a clear voice that they are not on ground in the grassroots and that they can never allow themselves to be taken for granted any longer by this set of failing politicians. Their people have passed a vote of no confidence on them especially in this election which to them was their day of reckoning.

 When we take the performances of the various individuals jostling for the office of the governor of Kogi state into consideration in their political domains during the just concluded presidential election we would see vividly that most of them lost out completely in their polling units and their wards thereby losing the moral authority to contest for the seat of the governor of the state. This is because a man who could not get the nod of his people in his domain cannot lay claim to have a chance in a contest in the whole state because they say charity begins at home.

The deputy governor, Edward Onoja, lost his polling unit, the chief of staff to the governor, lost his polling unit, the commissioner for finance lost his polling unit, and some of the commissioners that bought the expression of interest forms are on record to have also lost out completely in delivering their polling units to the APC. It baffles every political watchers and analyst in the state that the sense of political reasoning of these politicians in the state has been beclouded by sentiments and lack of morality. 

Their sense of entitlement that makes them believe that because of their closeness to the governor they can contest for the governorship seat has evaporated with the wind because they have disappointed the governor who is their benefactor. People wonder why by now they have not resigned from their positions in this government because the moral basis of remaining in office by these individuals is no longer there. 

And this is because in the central zone which they all hail from with the governor, they lost out completely four of the local government areas to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and in the final outcome, even with the huge resources giving to them to prosecute the election the difference between them and the PDP is just 352 votes unlike from the west who were not given any assistance but leaders like Senator Smart Adeyemi and Baba Ali spent their resources and delivered for the party with a resounding over 22,000 votes difference to their closest opponent. What moral justification does the governor now have to deny the ticket of the APC to the good people of the Kogi west zone?

Those of them like Senator Smart Adeyemi, who completely won his polling unit, ward, and local government area have been able to prove once again that they have the backing of their people because they are in tune with the grassroots; any politician who takes the people for granted is normally known by being dealt with on the day of election by his very people. The implication of the loss by those politicians for their party, the APC, in the state is that they cannot be trusted to deliver the votes for the party in the true sense of the word in any election talkless of the election to elect the next governor of the state.

 Governor Yahaya Bello, as the leader of the party in Kogi state, must urgently look at this scenario for what it is by allowing for a free and fair primary that would allow only the candidate of the people, for the people to emerge. This is because the recent trend as shown by the voting pattern in the state recognises the fact that the old ways of recruiting leaders by hook or crook has given way to people’s power over the process that determines those who rule over them because our people have become politically sophisticated. The old ways of playing politics are no longer acceptable to our people who daily clamour for a new type of political dispensation with the people as determinants of leadership.

 It is therefore time leaders like the governor of the state accept accountability, treat the people with political dignity, respect their rights, and deliver economic opportunity to all segments of the state as his parting gift by truly looking the way of the southern area of the state as the next governor of the state. It is important for the governor to see the reality on ground that his boys have no political clout by changing tactics to secure victory for the APC in the governorship election.

Ahmed Shehu,

Lokoja, Kogi state