Following his failed House of Representatives bid in the last general elections, Usman Austin Okai has dumped the governorship candidate of his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dino Melaye to support Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
ebirareporters.com reports that Austin who ran for House of Representatives (Dekina/Bassa) under the PDP, shifted support to Ajaka at a recent event where the Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA) declared Ajaka as the consensus candidate of the ethnic group for the November 11th governorship election in the state.
“Kogi East have a consensus candidate, and that is the person of Muritala Ajaka of SDP. This is historic from ICDA, I attended the event, it’s historic,” he posted on Facebook after he shifted base.
Meanwhile, Austin has went on to accuse the Central Senatorial District of playing what he termed “tribal game.”
He was miffed by the reason why the district produced only one candidate for the election under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and refused to be running mates to candidates in other political parties.
In his words, “this is the first time kogi central is having only one candidate and that is Ododo of APC … this is the first time in Kogi state history .
“This is the first time we are seeing nobody from Kogi central is openly speaking against ODODO and APC , unlike Kogi central and west .
“In Kogi state, Kogi central is the only zone promoting tribal interest instead of public interest.”
Meanwhile, Okai Austin, hails from the Eastern part of the state, the Igala region which reigned over Kogi since creation until 2015 when Governor Yahaya Bello took over; emerging the first Governor from one of the two other zones denied the taste of the seat.
Recall that the emergence of Yahaya Bello was made possible by the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu (East) who was the governorship candidate of the APC, and died before the conclusion of the election.
Speaking with our correspondent in Abuja, a political analyst, Muhammad Abdullahi has condemned Austin for his “recklessness.”
“If any region is heavily invested in tribal game in politics, the very zone which Okai Austin hails from should be accused of holding the field where other regions were mere spectators. We need not remind him that if not for the hand of God, there would not have been an iota of miracle for Kogi Central or West to take that seat.
“He is looking for a reason to appease his conscience for ditching his candidate from the West, Dino Melaye. However, he found an irrational and an unreasonable one by accusing Kogi Central, a region which deputized the Igalas for years but never found worthy to succeed any of their governors.
“The tides have changed, and the people of the state are wiser. Equity, fairness and justice is the watchword henceforth. That is what Kogi Agenda represents,” he said.