A massive crowd of supporters on Thursday and Friday received the African Democratic Congress (ADC) governorship candidate in the November 11 election in Kogi State, Leke Abejide in his home base, Yagba Federal Constituency, comprising of Mopamuro, Yagba East and Yagba West local government areas.
The rallies in Yagba Federal Constituency, also bring to an end the statewide campaign tour by the ADC governorship campaign council, which has taken the team across the 21 local government areas in the state.
It was a feat achieved only by the ADC, according to the party’s campaign spokesman, Comrade Shola Adebola. “No other political parties went round the entire state and communities like ADC has done”, he said, noting that the grand effort was a proof of Abejide’s unequalled readiness and preparedness for the task of governance ahead.
Abejide, alongside his running mate, Dr Idris Omede, their wives, Mrs Esther Abejide and Hajia Fatima Omede, State Party Chairman, John Adaji, Chairman, Director General and Secretary of the campaign council, Chief Shola Ojo, Hon Adangu Suberu and Chief Dare Olatunde and other members of the ADC campaign council were in Kabbabunu, Ijumu, Okehi, Adavi, Ogorimagongo, Okene, Ajaokuta, Kotonkarfe, Idah, Ibaji, Ofu, Olamaboro, Omala, Ankpa, Igalamela-Odolu, Dekina, Bassa, Lokoja, Mopamuro, Yagba West and Yagba East Local Councils.
During the tour, the team visited and consulted traditional, religious and opinion leaders in their various palaces, homes and places of worship.
Meanwhile ahead of the rally on Friday in Yagba East Local Council, which took the team through Isanlu, headquarters of the Council and Ife-Olukotun in Yagba South East axis of the council, “Leke/Omede Rescue Mission” campaign train received huge boost in Mopamuro, and Yagba West, Thursday, as supporters came out in their thousands to welcome them in Mopa, Egbe and Odo-Ere respectively.
It turned out a festival of songs and dancing in which much of the campaign talks took the backseat.
“We’re not an ungrateful people” was the common song sang by most of the supporters at the Egbe rally, including market women, artisans, student groups, members of road commercial drivers and motorcycle unions, who trooped out to the venue from as early as 10am till the end of the programme at 6pm.
At the rally held at St John’s Primary School, Egbe, Abejide who is a second term member of the House of Representatives expressed gratitude to the people for their support which had helped him and the ADC to sweep the House of Representatives election in all seven electoral wards in the community in February. He pleaded for a repeat of the gesture in the upcoming governorship election.
He said: “I won seven over seven wards in Egbe on February 25, 2023. I thank you for your overwhelming support. Will you do it again on 11/11, 2023?”
The crowd mostly women and youths responded with a resounding and overwhelming “Yeeesss”.
The atmosphere descended into a carnival of victory songs and gospel choruses, and dancing led by the ADC candidate himself.
Abejide reminded the enthusiastic crowd of supporters that aside from payment of WAEC fees for final year secondary school students which he started and has sustained over six years ago, he has in his first four years as a member of House of Representatives constructed interior and interstate roads and drainages across the communities in the three local councils in Yagba Federal Constituency, something he said should be the responsibility of local and state governments, especially the latter, if allowed to function, without deductions of funds meant for local government development from the federal allocations.
Similarly, he gave an account of his stewardship to include empowerment for widows and youth as well as vehicles for first, second and third clsss traditional rulers and individuals across the 34 electoral wards in the Constituency. This is in addition to provision of drugs and other medical facilities for the upgrade of general/cottage hospitals, as well as the 300 capacity modern ICT centre at Isanlu, accredited by JAMB to enable Yagba students write examinations without traveling far, among others.
If elected, he promised to do more, and replicate his achievements in other parts of the state. He promised to focus on interstate roads across the three senatorial districts, most of which he noted have become an eyesore. In addition, he promised to reconstruct the abandoned Kabba-Egbe federal road without having to wait for the federal government to fix the bad road. He berated indigenes of Yagba currently serving under the Yahaya Bello led All Progressives Congress (APC) government at the state level for overlooking the plights of the masses to pursue personal benefits, appointments and contracts. He accused the APC government in the state of having nothing to show in Yagba in its eight years rule in terms of projects. Saying he shared the pains of local government workers and primary school teachers who have been surviving on percentage salaries, the ADC candidate promised to grant autonomy to the third tier of government, if elected. This, when happened, he said, will not only bring to an end the era of percentage salaries, but also enable the local government to function effectively through embarking on projects such as water, roads and drainages within their domains as well as ensure that traditional rulers have undenied access to full salaries and other benefits and incentives they deserved.
He expressed appreciation for the love shown him by the people of Yagba, with a promise not to let them down. He also used the occasion to disclose that the contractor handling the Omi- Odo-Ara-Igbaruku road rehabilitation work has been mobilized for work to commence on the road within one week.
Addressing the crowd at Isanlu, Abejide cautioned against Okun people dividing their votes while emphasizing the need to focus on one candidate. He reflected on his endorsement by eminent personalities in the Kogi West Elders Forum (KWEF) as the consensus candidate of Kogi West people in the November 11 election, saying the decision was in the interest of the entire District going to the poll as one bloc.
“Yagba is my home and soon we all shall begin to enjoy good dividends of Democracy. Not only Yagba, but the entire people of Kogi State. All your needs shall receive prompt and immediate attention as soon as we take over the seat of power in Lugard House. If I don’t that, it means I am a bastard and I am not a bastard”, he said, adding, “Now, listen, Kogi West Lokan, Okun Lokan, Awa Lokan, Emi Lokan. It is the turn of Kogi West. It is the turn of Okunland, and it is my turn. Kogi West Elders Forum in their wisdom has endorsed me as the consensus candidate of Kogi West people, let us not divide our votes. I have been to the nook and cranny of Ebiraland and Igalaland, they are all echoing the same voice, they all said 2023 is the turn of Kogi West. The Ebira have produced governor before in the old Kwara State, now they have done two terms in the present Kogi State, making 12 years, Igala have done 19 years but Okun and indeed Kogi West has not produced governor in the 32 years existence of Kogi State. We have gone round to appeal and still appealing to our brothers and sisters in Kogi Central and East to support power shift to Kogi West this time around and everywhere we went we got their assurance. They said they are not greedy people. Our brothers agreed it is our turn in Kogi West. Therefore, like our elders will say charity begins at home, we must first beg ourselves, let our votes show that we are truly ready to take our turn and the only way we can show that is to vote en masse for ADC, vote en masse for Leke Abejide and vote en masse for Idris Omede”.
He added, “I appeal to my co-contestants and fellow Okun kinsmen like the PDP candidate, Senator Dino Melaye and the African Alliance (AA) candidate, Olayinka Braimoh to look at the merits of my endorsement in the wisdom of our elders. They should join hands with me in ensuring the actualization of power shift to Kogi West in January 2024.”
The endorsement Abejide noted “is aimed at reducing the number of candidates from Kogi West, thereby increasing the chances of our senatorial zone in the election. Kogi West has never produced a governor of Kogi State in over 32 years of its creation and the 2023 poll provides us a good opportunity if we all work together.”
Reiterating that his governorship ambition is a product of a rainbow coalition, including APC and PDP stalwarts, he appealed to the electorate to overlook party affiliation and join the coalition in its mission to rescue the state from its present state of socioeconomic comatose. He emphasized that, though he was in the ADC, he supported the presidential bid of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu right from Tinubu’s declaration of intent, unlike many members of APC at Kogi State level who decided to queue behind the presidential aspiration of Governor Yahaya Bello. He said Bello’s men only enlisted in the Tinubu/Shetima Presidential project after the presidential primary election.