The bid to replace Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has gained momentum with the state’s Auditor General Ahmed Ododo and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Salami Ozigi-Deedat purchasing their nomination and expression of interest forms for N50 million each.
The duo was accompanied by hundreds of their supporters to the national headquarters of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja.
This move has increased the number of political aspirants vying for the coveted governorship seat of Kogi. Just two days earlier, Bello’s Chief of Staff Abdulkareem Asuku had purchased his nomination form. Bello, who is rumored to be imposing his successor, has nevertheless given his blessing to interested members of his cabinet and loyalists to pursue their political ambitions.
In addition to Asuku, Ododo, and Deedat, sources at the secretariat confirmed that Chairman of the House Committee on Finance and Secretary for the APC presidential campaign council James Faleke and Senator Smart Adeyemi have both sent emissaries to buy their forms.
The development has raised questions about whether Kogi deputy governor Edward Onoja, who has never hidden his intention to replace Bello, would be willing to step down for any of the two veteran politicians or push all the way in a three-horse race.
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Addressing journalists in Abuja, Ododo described Bello as a political leader who had made it possible for the son of nobody to become somebody. He expressed confidence that his experience as the auditor general of local governments in the state has put him in a vantage position to consolidate on the gains of Bello’s administration.
Deedat, another grassroots politician, told reporters that he believed the increasing number of Kogi aspirants picking up nomination forms is healthy competition. He added that he is ready to work with whoever emerges from the poll or through the imposition of his political godfather in a similar fashion to how “Asiwaju determines who emerges to continue with Lagos development.”
“The fact that we are having so many aspirants that spring from his wings is a clear testament that his excellency is a great leader. I’m a practical politician who believes in the will of God. Whoever emerges, whether by election or the decision of our leader, will be acceptable, and we will work gladly, actively, and assiduously with him to win,” he said.
“Our primary aim is to ensure that our governor chooses his successor. Whoever emerges will work to sustain his legacies and add to them,” he added.