Kogi governorship: Deputy gov, Onoja, Chief of Staff, seven others step down for Usman Ododo

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR

THE governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress in Kogi State, to be held on Friday (today), took a dramatic turn on Thursday evening, as the Deputy Governor, Edward Onoja, the Chief of Staff,  Abdulkareem Asuku, and seven others withdrew voluntarily from the race.

They reportedly withdrew to support the Auditor-General of Local Governments for the state, Usman Ododo, following a collective agreement by Governor Yahaya Bello’s inner caucus, the aspirants and other stakeholders.

Onoja, Asuku and the Accountant-General of the state, Momoh Jibrin, had been seen as the front runners in the race.

Other aspirants that withdrew from the governorship race include a former Commissioner for Finance, David Adebanji-Jimoh, Commissioner for Finance under the current administration, Ashiru Idris, Okala Yakubu and Momoh Jibrin, among others.

They stepped down following Usman Ododo’s endorsement by Governor Yahaya Bello.

The eight aspirants voluntarily withdrew from the race at a meeting held at the party’s secretariat in Lokoja on Thursday.

The Chairman of the primary election committee, Governor Mohammed Bello-Matawale of Zamfara State announced their withdrawal.

“All other aspirants who have not withdrawn from the race are free to participate in Friday’s direct primary election to be held across the state.

“The gentlemanly agreement was reached and announced at a stakeholders meeting of the party held on Thursday in Lokoja,’’ he said.

While announcing his withdrawal from the race, Onoja thanked his leader, Governor Yahaya Bello, and all his supporters for their love and prayers.

He enjoined his supporters to allow love, patience and perseverance to lead at Friday’s primary election and at the 11 November governorship election in the state.

The main opposition party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party, is also expected to hold its primary election on Friday.