The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) had stated that 1,833,160 voters in Kogi State are going to the polls.
The election is filled with surprises as the political situation makes it so hard to predict the outcome.
The unusual turn of events that led to the victory of opposition candidates during the February 2023 election makes it so difficult to predict.
Although the major contenders have their strongholds where they are expected to pull a lot of votes, there is a possibility that there might still be unforeseen circumstances that would lead to them to not having bulk votes away from their strongholds.
Before 2016, when Governor Yahaya Bello was sworn in as the fourth democratically elected Governor of Kogi State, power had been in the hands of the Kogi East.
First it was Late Prince Abubakar Audu, (1992-1993, 1999-2003), second, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris Ibro, (2003-2011) and lastly Capt. Idris Ichala Wada, (2011-2015.
This escalated the drive for power shift from the other ethnic groups who over the years cried of marginalization by a section of the State.
The emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as Governor of Kogi State shortly after the demise of Prince Abubakar Audu brought sign of relief as other ethnic groups (Kogi West) had envisaged that it will be their turn after eight years of the current administration.
However, in all of these, some observers have accused Governor Bello of promoting a third term agenda by backing his kinsman, Ahmed Usman Ododo, the APC Governorship candidate to succeed him.
Recently at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, campaign grand finale, the Governorship Candidate, Senator Dino Melaye called on the people of Kogi to join hands with him to stop the alleged third term ambition of the current administration.
Melaye contended that Governor Bello was secretly seeking a third term in office, circumventing legal and constitutional constraints by positioning himself behind the APC governorship candidate, Ahmed Ododo.
According to Melaye, Governor Bello, unable to run for a third consecutive term himself, is orchestrating the political charade to ensure his continued influence and control over the state.
Melaye went on to emphasize that should Ododo win the election, he would essentially serve as a figurehead, with Governor Bello effectively pulling the strings behind the scenes.
“Don’t be deceived that Yahaya Bello is not on the ballot. Ododo is physically on the ballot but Yahaya Bello is the one seeking a third term through a proxy,” he said.
Senator Melaye insisted that his track record in Kogi State will usher him to Lugard house on 27t January 2023.
“This election is a work over for PDP because of maladministration, poverty, non-payment of salaries and gratuity; promotion is not being backed by cash and many more. The people of Kogi State are not happy as they are looking for a messiah that will save them from captivity.
“Dino Melaye and Habiba are saying here we are, send us. I want to advise especially our local government chairmen, you have all become evangelists and Imam to encourage our people to come out and vote.
“Our people are afraid because APC has sold fear in the mind of the people. I am telling you that as Dino Melaye, I am not afraid of Yahaya Bello or the APC,” he said.
There is no doubt that the former Kogi lawmaker will gain sympathy vote from his kinsmen in Kogi West who wants to taste the seat of power for the first time in their history, but he has the likes of Olayinka Braimoh of Action Alliance, (AA), serving house of representatives member, Leke Abejide of Action Democratic Congress (ADC) to contend with.
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, candidate, Alhaji Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, also a major contender in the Governorship race, has openly accused the present administration of promoting ethnic agenda.
While the Government has debunked the claim, saying it is baseless and unfounded, Ajaka believes his popularity will work for him at the ballot, insisting that Governor Bello has failed Kogi State.
Situation calm in Kogi State
The situation in Kogi State is very calm ahead of today’s election. Pmnews.ng observed that there is presence of security agents across the nooks and crannies of the State.
A police helicopter with registration number 5N-GEJ is still hovering over the state capital and its environs.