The member representing Yagba East/West/Mopamuro Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Leke Abejide, has joined the Kogi State governorship race.
Abejide, who is chairman of the House Committee on Customs and Excise, picked the nomination and declaration of interest forms of the African Democratic Congress in Abuja on Monday.
According to the lawmaker in an interview with journalists after presenting the forms to ADC members and constituents, people of Okun in Kogi West Senatorial District, the Yoruba speaking part of Kogi, should produce the next governor of the state.
Abejide, who has just won a second term in the House on the platform of the ADC, claimed that Okun people in other political parties are backing his governorship ambition.
In the APC, those aspiring to be Kogi governor and have already picked up the party’s N50million forms include lawmaker representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Smart Adeyemi; and member of the House representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in Lagos State, James Faleke.
Others are Abdulkareem Asuku, the Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello; Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund, Dr Sanusi Ohiare; Auditor General for Kogi State, Ahmed Ododo; and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Salami Ozigi-Deedat; Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Babatunde Irukera.
Incidentally, Abejide is from the same Okun zone with Adeyemi and Faleke, a former deputy governorship candidate in Kogi.
Abejide pointed out that it was the turn of Okun people to govern the state for the first time, after the Igala and Ebira in the other districts have ruled the state.
He said, “Kogi State is going down the drain and if we do not take it now, it would atrophy away completely. Our people are not getting their salaries as and when due; those that are getting are getting percentages, some like 20 per cent, 15 per cent. These I want to erase and that is why I want to become governor.”
When asked about the chances of the ADC defeating the incumbent All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party at the poll, Abejide said his party is spreading in Kogi.
“ADC has prospects. Before, I was the only one in the state. Now we have members with me who won seats (in the House) and we won (Kogi House of) Assembly seats. Those ones that they took away by force, we would reclaim them from court.
“And then, this is not about me. It is about the people. The people are the ones pressurising me because me I didn’t want to come out. They said they see me as the only light that can help them because, now, they have tested so many people before I came into House of Reps.
“They see what I am doing as their House of Reps member, constructing roads – how many kilometres? – doing other things like providing water for them, providing electricity, giving them free education. Now, I am taking care of five local government areas. I want to do it across the 21 local government areas.”
Speaking on the Igala and Ebira dominance in Kogi, the governorship aspirant pointed out that it was one of the major reasons why he joined the race.
Abejide stated, “One of the reason I came out is because it is our zone that is supposed to produce the governor now. And in terms of population, we are next to Igala. Ebira are the least, but they are governor now (in person of Yahaya Bello). So, why shouldn’t we come out so we can make it? And it not only me, it is a coalition; not only ADC, even APC, part of us is PDP. I am just the symbol and we will take the state.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission in October 2022 released a timetable and schedule of activities for Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states governorship elections.
INEC had scheduled the polls for November 11, 2023.
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