If the gods of political drama have their way, the November 2 , scheduled gubernatorial elections in Kogi state will be a two-way fight between the dancing governor and the singing senator. Just as current Kogi helmsman Yahaya Bello has been going around the state thumping his chest and declaring himself invincible, drums of support are also being beaten for the rumoured candidacy of Senator Dino Melaye.
That Dino and Bello do not see eye to eye is the understatement of the century. Both men never miss a chance to throw punches where it hurts. The news now making the rounds is that Dino, the senator representing Kogi West at the national assembly, is allegedly aiming for the ultimate knockout blow by securing the PDP governorship ticket and defeating Bello at the polls.
Although the man himself has not come out to confirm the rumours, insiders claim many in the Kogi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party see Dino as the man with the required mettle to unseat Bello whose popularity in the state has been waning like the evening sun. Following recent grumbles in the populace over failure to pay salaries and implement so many promised projects, Bello is regarded as an incumbent with more bark than bite, easily knocked off from his perch as long as the right candidate confronts him.
And there is no gainsaying that Dino is the sharpest thorn in the governor’s flesh. When he isn’t releasing numerous satirical songs mocking Bello as an inept leader, he is writing letters to central government agencies asking them to tightly monitor the state’s spending. The unending war of words between the two has degenerated into physical violence by proxy on more than one occasion.
Still, those close to the matter agree it won’t be a cakewalk for Dino, a son of Okun extraction, were he to seriously desire the PDP ticket. A stumbling block is the Igala bloc, the largest voting segment in the state that controls nine local government areas in the North-Central state. They are insisting someone of Igala extraction must be the next governor because Prince Abubakar Audu, an Igala, won the previous election before his untimely death paved the way for Bello to become governor.
It remains to be seen if Dino’s gubernatorial interest is solid or mere rumour spouted by mischief makers. Political watchers are now awaiting the governorship primaries of the APC and PDP in Kogi to see who emerges the parties’ respective standard-bearers.