Gubernatorial polls were held in only 28 states of the federation during Nigeria’s last general elections. Consequently, eight states were left out from the general elections thus leading to the off-cycle elections which would subsequently be held.
Currently, preparations final are being made towards the off-cycle elections that will take place in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states on November 11, 2023.
This Explainer focuses on Kogi State and the specifics of what you need to know about the state’s upcoming elections.
Why is there an off-cycle election in kogi State?
Kogi state became part of off cycle governorship elections following the nullification of the governorship election of 2007. It is pertinent to recall that Ibrahim Idris of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner of the April 14, 2007, gubernatorial election, which he contested against Abubakar Audu of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the main opponent. Audu petitioned the tribunal and the Appeal court. The election was nullified, and a fresh election was conducted.
According to the tribunal, the governorship election of April 14, and the subsequent declaration of Alhaji Ibrahim Idris as the winner cannot hold because the candidate of ANPP in the state, Prince Abubakar Audu was unlawfully excluded from the list of the governorship contestants in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in spite of the earlier court injunction restraining the INEC.
However, Ibrahim Idris went on to win the election on March 29, 2008.
Who are the candidates for the 2023 guber poll?
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has listed 18 candidates running on the platform of 18 political parties contesting for elections in the state.
There are the three major contenders among the 18 candidates:
Daniel Dino Melaye is a former senator and a member of the 8th National Assembly, representing Kogi West senatorial district. He is the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 11 election in Kogi State.
Melaye hails from Ayetoro Gbede in Ijumu local government area of Kogi State. He holds a West African Examinations Council certificate (WAEC) as well as a Bachelor’s Degree.
Usman Ahmed Ododo
Ododo is a politician, former Auditor-General of Kogi State and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 11 election. He was born on February 7, 1982, in the Kogi Central senatorial district and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting (Forensics).
Muritala Yakubu Ajaka
Muritala Ajaka is contesting governorship of Kogi State under the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Prior to this, he was the deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress and a gubernatorial aspirant of the party. He was disqualified after a controversial suspension by the executives of the party in his ward and could not contest the primary election in APC.
Ajaka was born in 1981 and holds a First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) and a West African Examinations Council certificate (WAEC).
Is there a woman in the race?
According to the published list on INEC website, there is only one female candidate out of the 18 candidates vying for the governorship position. Suleiman Taiye Fatima of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) is the only female candidate. She holds a West African Examinations Council certificate (WAEC). Fatima hails from Okene, Kogi state and is a renowned fashion designer.
Allegations are circulating that an undisclosed political figure is backing Leke Abejide of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in an effort to divide votes within his constituency, potentially favoring another candidate. Concurrently, there are speculations that Abejide might explore the possibility of forming an alliance with another candidate to challenge the ruling APC candidate.
Within the All Progressives Congress (APC), notable defectors from various political backgrounds, particularly the PDP, have been joining the party’s Ododo campaign team. Some of these defectors claim they are integrating their party structures and supporters into the APC.
The decision by the APC to select a candidate from Ebiraland with just five local government areas, rather than a more populous senatorial zone, is possibly influenced by their confidence in the advantages of incumbency.