The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been the dominant force in Nigerian politics since its formation in 2013. The party’s victory in the 2015 presidential election, as well as winning the majority of legislative seats in the National and State Assemblies, and again in the 2019 General Election, proves its dominance. However, the unity of purpose that brought together the members of the party in achieving this feat has fragmented in Kogi State with the outcome of the recently concluded gubernatorial primary election. Hon. Ahmed Usman-Ododo, a former Auditor-General in the state, emerged as the flag bearer, after some political heavyweights, including the Deputy Governor, Edward Onoja, Senator Yakubu Oseni, Hon. Abdulakarim Jamiu Asuku withdrew from the race and some others like Senator Smart Adeyemi, Hon. Yakubu Murtala Ajaka, amongst others went to the poll.
The emergence of Hon. Usman-Ododo has thrown up some challenges of internal misalignment and disagreements among members, particularly the aspirants. While their loss at the primary election may be painful and disappointing, especially after the endorsement of Hon. Usman-Ododo by the incumbent governor, His Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Bello, these aggrieved aspirants who are equally qualified to fly the party’s flag must understand that the party is supreme and bigger than any single individual. Some aspirants are unhappy with the endorsement of the governor or even the conduct of the primary election, but history remembers that some of them have either benefited from similar endorsements or were party to it in the past.
While it is within the rights of the aggrieved parties to seek redress through the right process, such redress must not be at the detriment of the party. To ensure the continued success of the APC in Kogi State, it is essential for all aggrieved politicians and leaders to rally behind and support Hon. Usman-Ododo’s candidacy for the governorship election. There are several reasons why this is necessary.
Firstly, he has a track record of success in public service. He has served in various capacities in Kogi State, which demonstrates his ability to deliver on his promises and his commitment to improving the lives of Kogi State residents. His strides as the Auditor-General in charge of Local Government are enviable, and his successes remain indelible.
Secondly, Hon. Usman-Ododo is a unifying figure who has the ability to bring together all aggrieved personalities within the APC. Although some are aggrieved over his endorsement by Governor Bello, it is important to note that heavy-weight politicians within and outside the state have endorsed his candidacy, indicating that he has the support of the party’s leadership and is capable of uniting its members towards a common goal of victory in the forthcoming election and the sustenance of APC’s and Governor Bello’s outstanding legacy of security, infrastructure, agriculture, and education in Kogi State.
Thirdly, he is a grassroots politician who understands the needs and aspirations of the people of Kogi State. He has been actively involved in community development initiatives and has demonstrated a deep commitment to improving the lives of ordinary citizens. This is a quality that is highly valued by voters and is likely to give him an edge in the governorship election.
Fourthly, Hon. Usman-Ododo has a clear vision for the development of Kogi state. He has outlined his plans for improving infrastructure, creating job opportunities, and enhancing the state’s agricultural sector. His plans are realistic and achievable, and are designed to address the needs of all Kogi state residents, regardless of their tribe, creed, or political affiliations.
The APC has a proven track record of delivering good governance, and this can only be sustained through the election of capable and committed leaders like Hon. Usman-Ododo. It is therefore incumbent on all members of the party to set aside their personal interests and focus on the bigger picture: the continued progress and development of Kogi state under the APC.
In conclusion, the recent APC gubernatorial primary election in Kogi state may have caused some internal disagreements and misalignment among party members, but it is important for all aggrieved parties to unite behind the party’s flag bearer, Hon. Usman-Ododo. His track record of success, his ability to unite the party, his grassroots connections, his clear vision for development, and his reputation for honesty and transparency make him the best candidate to continue the great work of Governor Bello and lead Kogi state to even greater heights. It is time for all members of the APC to put aside their differences and work together for the greater good of the party and the people of Kogi state.
Abubakar Sidiq Usman is a Media Aide to the President of the Senate.