Onoja should succeed Kogi Governor, says Isah

Edward Onoja

•West District reject endorsement

Senator Jibrin Isah of Kogi East Senatorial District has thrown his weight behind the presidential ambition of Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, urging the people to rally round him.

The Aenator, fondly called Echocho by admirers, made the declaration at the Government House in Lokoja, during the All Progressive Congress (APC) stakeholders meeting held to deliberate on the ongoing registration/revalidation exercise.

The Senator also said that the chapter should support the Deputy Governor, Edward Onoja, as successor to Bello.

The Senator, who spoke on behalf of the Senators from the State, said they had observed the Governor’s achievements and style of governance, and came to the conclusion that he deserves the Presidential seat.

Isah apologised on behalf of Senator Smart Adeyemi of the West District and his Central counterpart, Senator Oseni, who could not attend the meeting because they were held back by the traffic snarl along Lokoja – Abuja highway.

He urged Kogi APC to field Onoja as the next governorship candidate, saying: “Onoja has paid his due. One good turn deserve another.”

However, many APC chieftains from the West and Central districts flayed Isah for his remarks, saying that he has derailed from the main reason for the meeting.

Those who spoke after the meeting expressed disappointment that the deliberation, which should have centered on galvanising support for the APC registration, was taking an ethnic dimension.

“I don’t think it is right to be discussing this kind of issue now. The East has governed the State for 16 years with the Central just carrying out their second term, while the West has not even taken a single shot,” said a chieftain.

He added: “Suffice to say that the Senator’s statement is a distraction to the main issue of galvanising the State supports for the Governor’s Presidential ambition. It is quite disappointing that someone of such standing, or anybody for that matter, could be harbouring such thoughts.”

Indeed, there is an uneasy calm in Kogi APC over the endorsement for succession by Isah.

Kogi West APC stakeholders have berated the Senator for refusal to take cognisance of the timing and geo-political factors.

However, the Governor and other stakeholders in attendance were said to be taken by surprise as Isah introduced what a chieftain of the party called ethnic dimension to the event of the day.

Kogi West APC stakeholders have vowed to resist any attempt to frustrate zoning of the governorship slot to the West in 2023.

A party chieftain from Yagba West Local Council, Chief Ayo Ipinlaiye, chided the Senator, saying his endorsement of an Igala as successor to Bello was wrong.

He said Igala has ruled the State from inception in 1991 to 2016, adding that it is not only insensitive and ill-timed, but it also tends to overheat the polity, cause disaffection amongst party members across the three Senatorial districts and capable of distracting the Governor from concentrating on governance in his remaining time in the current tenure.

“The timing is wrong as the Governor is just one year in office in his second time. He (Isah) should allow the Governor to concentrate on governance having just spent one year in his second term.

“From the angle of rotation, when the time comes to talk about his successor, the statement suggesting that Igala should produce the next Governor, is insensitive to the aspiration of the people of Kogi West as joint equity holders of Kogi State.

“It is a fact that Kogi West is the only section of the State that is yet to produce a democratically elected Governor since the creation the State 30 years ago. The Igala have ruled the State for 16 years.

“The Ebira in the Central are in their second term of eight years still running. Equity and justice demands that Kogi West should produce the next governor in the spirit of natural justice”.

Source: The Nation

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