Kogi Guber: APC Aspirants and the Deafening Silence of Governor Bello

The countdown to Kogi State governorship primary elections of all political parties with aspirants have now entered into few days left, but the most disoriented of all the aspirants, are the ones vying under the ruling All Progressive Congress. At least, the other parties are working around the delegates and slugging it out politically with congresses and strategies to clinch their parties’ tickets, the APC aspirants on the other hand, have no choice than to wait for the leader of the party in the state, Governor Yahaya Bello to speak.

But, he has refused to speak. Not yet, and his silence has become so deafening that it has steered so much anxiety in the spines of these guys. The reasons are not farfetched. Governor is a demigod as long as the politics of Kogi State is concerned, and nobody has confronted him in any election and had a freeway.


More so, the realities from all of his party’s primary elections conducted in his state, evidently showed his hands deciding who gets what, and when. The records are there from 2018 till date, those whom he called, he chose, and were victorious. This is the bane of the conundrum these aspirants are deeply invested.


With his joker in his mind, it was said to be in the nature of the Governor to give his blessings to anyone who seeks his blessings to run in an election. This way, on the surface appraisal of the process, nobody is denied buying forms, campaigning and participating in the process; but Bello always has a favorite, who will eventually win by whatever way possible. However, the difference with the forthcoming primary election is that, the Governor has never taken this long before the primary to make his mind known.


By way of speculation, the reason he is taking this long is in the sensitivity of the position and the relationship he shares with some of the aspirants. There is no doubt that every Governor for very cogent reasons, would like to be succeeded by someone he trusts so much to keep his slate clean and show a high voltage of loyalty. For Bello, his appointees, most of whom he picked from the trenches and turned into made men, dominate the list of his intending successors. He has seen them all, where he picked them from, what they have become and the risk of placing the power of a Governor in their hands. Also, whether to zone the seat to another senatorial district or let it remain in his central senatorial district is another factor that decides whom the crown fits.


Meanwhile, the relationship he has built with some of them over the years, could make deciding early, more difficult. In a video that made the rounds recently, the Governor was quoted saying that there was no way his successor will come from outside other than his camp. Should that be the case, and if he has not decided by now, even though yet to speak, I would want to presumably narrow the options possibly in his mind:


Edward Onoja: a friend indeed to the Governor who stood by him against all odds from the very beginning. Onoja, who started off as the Chief of Staff, and then rose to becoming Deputy Governor, has enjoyed so many public admiration and accolades. He is renowned as Bello’s siamese twin, a title given him by the Governor himself for playing a significant role both in his life and political successes. He hails from the eastern part of the state. Should his boss decide to take power back to the east, he is definitely getting it.


– Jibrin Momoh: He has served under the Bello led government as the Accountant General of the state. But before them, nobody beats his position as the closest in the life of the Governor. Both of them are the perfect image of true friendship from childhood to adulthood, and grass to grace. They grew up together, and has remained tightly knitted till date. This is proof the Governor could trust him with a lot; but with power? Will he?

– Usman Ododo: He was the Auditor General under the Governor for nearly eight years, and also a friend to Bello and his immediate family. He is notably known as a trusted ally of the Governor, and would go miles to be at his beck and call. He had definitely earned his place in the hearts of the first man’s family members, and they in turn would not mind pushing for him to be the chosen one.


Asiru Idris: The money man whom Bello knew from when he was a Bank Manager, and picked to spearhead the state’s Ministry of Finance for the two-tenures of the New Direction government. Asiwaju, as he is fondly called, does not posses the fame and reverence of the others, but he uniquely stands top on whom Bello will pick if he were to zone the seat to Kogi West, the only senatorial district that has never governed the state. For Bello, it is most likely Asiwaju before former Senator, Smart Adeyemi.


Abdulkareem Jamiu Asuku: The last, but not the least. Quite popular amongst the youths, especially for his altruistic and benevolent gestures. He started off under the government as the DG Protocol, and rose to become the Chief of Staff to the Governor. By virtue of both offices he held, the professional Pharmacist has won the minds of many to his fold. However, by my speculations, he only factors in the mind of the Governor if he was looking for the youngest and most ambitious amongst the pack.


Thus, these are mere speculations and calculations of an analytical mind, and could be flawed, especially for the fact that it is done from a distance. I do not also intend to dissuade the minds of those whose names didn’t make the list, but are working the clock to clinch the ticket. I admire the uncommon courage of people like Dr. Sanusi Ohiare, Senators Yakubu Oseni and Smart Adeyemi, Halima Kabiru – the only female aspirant.


Let me add that horsetrading is an essential ingredient that will spice the election, and as such, no aspirant could be undermined at this point. However, the Governor has barely 11 days to speak, and when he does speak, everyone will hear the rest of it.


Best of luck!!!

Alex Adeiza!


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