Gov polls: How top contenders stand in Kogi, Bayelsa, Imo


Since the Independent National Electoral Commission opened the window for the governorship campaigns on June 14, 2023, major political parties in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states – the All Progressives Congress, People’s Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party and Labour Party – have started rigorous campaignsacross the length and breadth of their respective states.

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Before the electoral umpire announced the date for formal public campaigns, major parties had engaged in underground consultations with key stakeholders, aimed at wooing them to their sides.

This approach appeared to have been fruitful for ruling parties in these states as associations and groups had publicly endorsed their candidates.

Aside from the usual campaign rallies, all the parties have explored the opportunity of addressing town hall meetings with business communities, religious bodies, cultural and social groups, as well as the media, to sell their agenda to the citizens, especially those within the voting age.

Other avenues that ruling political parties and their governorship candidates are exploiting to sell their manifestoes include advertising their achievements in office.

For instance, in Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo, the candidate of the APC, enjoys the full support of the incumbent Governor, Yahaya Bello, as well as the support of the leadership of the APC at the national level and watchers have contended that the achievements of the present governor will favour Ododo in his bid to occupy the Lugard House.

Already, the Chairman, National Campaign Council for Kogi governorship poll, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, has assured the APC supporters that the national leaders of the party across the country will work together and provide all the necessary support to ensure an overwhelming victory for Ododo.

While describing Kogi as an APC state, Abiodun said, from the reality on ground, it was clear that there was no vacancy for any other party in Lord Lugard House.

Abiodun, who spoke at the inauguration of the Kogi State National Gubernatorial Campaign Council in Lokoja, noted that, with the inauguration of the Campaign Council, election victory had begun in Kogi State.

He commended the resilience and hard work of Governor Bello, which he said had led to the restoration of peace and security in the state.

“Governor Yahaya Bello’s outstanding achievements in virtually all the critical sectors of the state are visible for all to see and I assure you the next APC Governor will build on these achievements in the interest of the good people of Kogi State,” he added.

The National Campaign Council Chairman said, with the result of the last general elections held in the state, it was certain that the APC would beat any opposition party in the governorship poll.

“I served as the Deputy Governor of Kogi State between 2011 and 2015. I know the state well, and the current governor has done exceptionally well in leadership and governance. His humility is unmatched, and his ability to unite the people is remarkable. These qualities are reasons I decided to join the APC and support him and the incoming administration”

He urged APC members in the state to join hands in securing victory for the party, stressing that the election was for the party to win with the palpable absence of opposition in the state.

Abiodun expressed satisfaction with the caliber of people nominated into the Campaign Council, describing the election as the first test for President Bola Tinubu and the National Chairman of APC, Abdullahi Ganduje.

Also speaking, Co-Chairman of the Campaign Council and Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urged the opposition political parties to look elsewhere for votes, insisting that Kogi was a no-go area for opposition parties in the November governorship election.

The Lagos State governor urged the people of Kogi State not to be deceived by the ranting of opposition parties, saying there was no alternative to APC, “a party that has the interest of the people at heart.”

On his part, the Chairman of the APC Governor’s Forum, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, said the people of Kogi State had resolved to stay with the APC.

He said Kogi State had fared better under the APC-led administration, adding that the opposition parties were being driven by those who did not mean well for the state.


In his remarks, Governor Bello assured that the party would deliver for the APC, landslide, in the November governorship poll, saying the election “is a done deal.”

He described the APC flag bearer in the state, Usman Ododo as one “who is coming with lots of experience to consolidate on the unity and achievements recorded in the state under our administration.”

Awoniyi joins APC ahead of election

To further boost the chances of the APC in the state, a former deputy governor of Kogi State, Yomi Awoniyi, has formally joined the APC before the state’s gubernatorial election on November 11.

Awoniyi was officially welcomed into the party on Tuesday in Abuja, where he expressed his respect for Governor Yahaya Bello’s excellent leadership, dedication to inclusivity, unity of purpose, and governance.

From 2011 to 2015, he held the position of Deputy Governor of Kogi State under Captain Idris Wada’s leadership. The former PDP leader recognised the difficulties and intricacies of Kogi State politics and praised Governor Bello for going above and beyond expectations.

“I served as the Deputy Governor of Kogi State between 2011 and 2015. I know the state well, and the current governor has done exceptionally well in leadership and governance. His humility is unmatched, and his ability to unite the people is remarkable. These qualities are reasons I decided to join the APC and support him and the incoming administration,” he said.

While welcoming Awoniyi, whom he described as a “big fish”, Governor Yahaya Bello said his decision to join the APC was significant.

He stressed that Awoniyi’s move clearly demonstrated the people’s satisfaction with his achievements and their willingness to support his leadership for the state’s success.

“I am pleased to welcome the former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Arc Abayomi Awoniyi, into our party today. Awoniyi is a prominent figure who has just joined a significant movement. I am delighted with his decision to join our party, and I can assure you that the APC will do more for the people of our state,” the governor stated.

The party’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, commended Awoniyi’s decision to join the APC.

He cited the governor’s successes and his capacity to bring people together for societal advancement as some of the reasons for the high rate of defections from opposition parties to the ruling party in Kogi State.

Ganduje offered Awoniyi and others who had joined or intended to join the APC equal opportunities.

As the Kogi State governorship election draws near, there has been a surge in the number of opposition party members joining the ruling party.

In recent years, many former senators, members of the House of Representatives and party chairmen have joined the APC.

Other contenders in the state include Dino Melaye of the People’s Democratic Party, Usman Jibrin of the Accord Party, Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Congress, and Muritala Yakubu of the Social Democratic Party, among others.

However, while the others have continued to highlight the need for a better Kogi as a major reason they put their hats in the ring, stakeholders in the state have berated the media managers of the SDP candidate, in particular, for what they described as hate campaign devoid of substance.

The people of Kogi State are closely watching the candidates’ policy proposals and track records to determine who can best lead the state to prosperity.

Diri, Sylva in war of words

In Bayelsa, campaigns for the poll are progressing with deep intrigues as candidates of the PDP and APC, the incumbent governor, Douye Diri and Timipre Sylva, respectively, struggle for second term.

Sylva is a former governor and the immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. Other candidates include a former Ijaw Youth Council president, Udengs Eradiri (Labour Party); and former teacher, Waibodei Subiri, for the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

While the APC and the ruling PDP appear as the front runners, other political parties are making moves to make an impact at the poll.

Already, political parties have resumed disbursement of funds and sharing of political appointments, a scheme which is described as a new method of vote-buying by political pundits.

The supporters of Diri believe the governor has achieved much since he assumed office three years ago and deserves a second term in office to complete projects spread across the three senatorial districts.

The Bayelsa State Governor took a swipe at his APC opponent when he said that Timipre Sylva was unsellable.

The governor, who spoke during a meeting with the PDP stakeholders from Nembe Local Government Area of the state in Government House, Yenagoa, on Thursday, boasted that APC was not a problem to the PDP in the state.

He noted that the candidate of APC, Sylva, had already been dumped by his party chieftains, owing to his alleged poor performance in public office.

Governor Diri claimed that the APC candidate failed as governor as well as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources as he made no positive impact while he held sway.

He said, “As a sitting governor, the killings that took place during the 2019 election in Nembe would not be allowed to be repeated. Your son, Sylva, is an unsellable candidate. That is why his own close allies are with us. So we are not fighting APC. Instead, we are against the killing of our people in Nembe. Every accusing finger is pointed at Kojo Sam and his boys. And these are the people supporting Sylva because he is shielding them.

“Apart from this, how do you hope to be governor of our state when you brought someone who allegedly ran away from prison without completing his term to be your running mate? That does not happen even in a Banana Republic.”

The governor expressed confidence that the PDP would win the election because the people were happy with the developmental projects embarked on by his administration.

He emphasised that the era of obtaining votes through violence was over. He said candidates and their parties should present their achievements and allow the people to decide.

In what can be described as a war of words between the two candidates, Sylva told Diri to prepare to vacate the Creek Haven, Government House, describing him as incompetent and a woeful failure.

Sylva, who reacted to Diri’s comment that he and the APC were not sellable in Bayelsa, said the governor was only having his last kick because he knew his defeat was imminent.

The former Petroleum Minister, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Julius Bokoru, said Diri had nothing to campaign with as he had wasted his four years of unmerited victory in the state and was waiting to be kicked out by the people on November 11.

Sylva said, “Douye Diri is fully aware his chances of winning are nil. While Sylva maintains a wide lead over Diri in experience, competence and sincerity of purpose, Diri, who was imposed on the people steadily, drifts into massive defeat because of his glaring incompetence and insensitive governance.

“In his statements in front of the few remaining Nembe LGA PDP people, Diri is seen to pride himself with the Nembe Bridge, but the world knows that that bridge was 75 per cent completed by Sylva. Diri barely touched that bridge.”

Sylva said the people had expected Diri to be going around inaugurating developmental projects ahead of the election, but because he had nothing to show, the governor was busy issuing vague statements and bribing people for support.

Sylva recalled that Diri lost Nembe LGA with nearly 80 per cent of the votes against him, saying his obsession with Opu-Nembe and Nembe LGA generally was connected to another round of defeat waiting for him in the LGA.

Sylva had, on Wednesday, alerted security agencies and members of the public to a plot by Diri to stoke fresh crisis in Opu-Nembe ahead of the November 11 governorship election.

He said Diri had been the hand behind the Opu-Nembe bloody crisis in the past two years.

Insisting that the governor had shown nothing but absolute disdain to the people of the area, Sylva said Diri was only interested in keeping Opu-Nembe in crisis because it is the stronghold of the APC.

During a recent press conference, Sylva was quoted as saying that Bayelsans should give him a second chance as his experience as leader of the APC in the state from 2015 till date and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, had given him the wisdom and understanding he needed to govern the state far better than he did 16 years ago.

Meanwhile, as APC leaders are boasting of consolidating on the gains of the 2023 presidential election to take over Bayelsa, PDP leaders and their supporters, on the other hand, are banking on the fact that the party has never lost a gubernatorial election in the state since 1999.

However, a major factor that may work against the APC is that they have so far been unable to reconcile Sylva and David Lyon, former governor-elect, who lost in the last primary of the party.

Ganduje urges Imo people to reelect Uzodimma for consolidation

“However, a major factor that may work against the APC is that they have so far been unable to reconcile Sylva and David Lyon, former governor-elect, who lost in the last primary of the party”

The National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Ganduje, has also tasked the Imo State people on re-electingGovernor Hope Uzodimma in the November11 poll, to consolidate on his achievements.
Ganduje said this when he inaugurated the APC campaign council for the November election in Owerri on Saturday.

He said that re-electing Uzodimma would enable him to consolidate on the good work he was known for.

Ganduje said that the choice of Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State as the leader of the campaign team was a pointer to the seriousness attached to the election by President Bola Tinubu.
He advised the people to take advantage of Uzodimma’s goodwill that cut across ethnic divides to secure the future development of the state.

“Uzodimma is a loving, intelligent, dexterous and cooperative gentleman to the President and APC in general and Tinubu has promised to do everything in his powers to move Imo to the next level,” he said.

Speaking, Uzodimma thanked Tinubu for giving the approval, and the national leadership of the APC for its support, particularly for all the appointments they gave to Imo State. He described the APC as a movement and not a mere political party in the state and called on the people to line up behind the party in the election.

“APC is a party to beat because from all indications, the APC is the only party in Imo that is properly positioned and ready for the November election. No doubt my people are very confident and waiting for the D-Day. So what is already known will be made formal.

“We have embarked on reconciliation. All the leaders and members of our great party who had suffered one grievance or the other; we have opened the doors.

“Of late, not only have many of them come back to join the party, we have also witnessed massive defections from other political parties,” he said.

“As I speak to you, for the majority of the opposition political parties in Imo, their party structures and majority of their leadership have joined the APC,” Uzodimma added.

Otu thanked Imo people for their performance in the last general election where they massively voted for the APC at the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

He urged them to vote for Uzodimma for more infrastructure that would make the state greater and bigger.

PDP postpones campaign launch for Imo gubernatorial poll

On its part, the PDP has postponed the launch of its campaign for the November 11 Imo governorship election.

The PDP said this in a statement in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba.

Ologunagba, also the Chairman, Special National Publicity Committee for the election, said that the postponement of the launch, earlier scheduled for September 7, was done after a thorough consultation with stakeholders and the leadership of the party.

He said that the action was in view of a national development that required the full involvement of the party,including critical stakeholders from Imo.

“While regretting the inconveniences the postponement may cause, the PDP urges all leaders, critical stakeholders, and members of our party, especially in Imo to remain steadfast. They should remain steadfast in the collective efforts of Imo State people to rescue and make their state safe again with our candidate, Samuel Anyanwu on the saddle.

“A new date for the formal campaign launch will be communicated by the party leadership in due course,” Ologunagba said.

He commended the people of Imo for their unrelenting patriotism, courage, commitment and dedication in support of PDP and its candidate.