OrderPaperToday – The battle for Kogi West senatorial district is generating some nationwide attention due to the individuals involved in the contest. Analysts are agreed that it is a two-horse race between incumbent Sen. Dino Melaye and his predecessor, Smart Adeyemi.
Coincidentally, the two are in-laws in the broad application of the word. Dino is married to Tokunbo Obanure who is from Iyara Ijumu, the home town of Sen. Smart. The two are subjects of the same traditional stool, the Olujumu who is the King of the entire Ijumu kingdom.
Kogi west in brief…
Kogi west senatorial district comprises Lokoja, Kogi, Yagba East, Yagba West, Mopa, Ijimu and Kabba Bunu local government areas. Within the district, you have the Bassas in Lokoja and Kogi local governments, while the Okuns of Yoruba sub-group are the dominant in the district.
Within the Okuns, the Ijumus have dominated the senatorial district such that between Dino and Smart, they have held the position for 12years and whatever the outcome of this election, one of them is likely to get the mandate.
In 2015, the two candidates ran against each other- Dino in APC and Smart in PDP. But in the current contest, the parties have reversed roles with Dino now flying the flag of the PDP and smart that of APC.
Even before Dino decamped from the ruling party, Smart with support from Governor Yahaya Bello orchestrated the failed recalled process against Dino; some analyst opine that the role of Smart in that botched move against Dino earned him some favour with the governor and consequently landed him the senate candidacy.
The two candidates are from same local government; so no visible advantage as far as local government is concerned. However, since James Faleke whom Dino thwarted his governorship ambition is from Ekinrinade in Ijumu Local government, it might be a perfect time for the House of Representatives member to pay Dino back in his own coin.
The last bye election in Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency might be a thing of concern for Dino as the APC won the fiercely contested poll staged to replace Mr. Buba Jubril who died as principal officer of the House of Representatives.
However, Smart’s biggest asset could also be his undoing: the governor remains substantially unpopular in the state due especially to non-payment of salaries. Besides, some folks have also tagged Mr. Smart as an “Ilorin politician” raising questions on his performance as Senator. Checks revealed that Smart who grew up in the capital of Kwara state, has most of his investments in Ilorin.
Between a rock and a hard place…
During a visit to Iyara within the district early in January this year when widows were being feted with stomach infrastructure goodies from Smart (food stuff items such as semovita and rice were being shared) it became evident that local folks see neither Dino nor Smart as their best foot forward for the Kogi west senate seat.
One of the women, Tale Olugbemiro, disclosed to OrderPaperNG that her support for Smart is only due to the fact he is “our son” but quickly added his two terms in the Senate previously did not bear any impact on the people. According to her, the ‘childishness’ of Dino also makes it difficult to really support him.
Similar visits to Ekinrinade, Iyamoye, and Iffe Kabba revealed same sentiments: while most of the electorates are wary of Dino, they are hesitant about returning to smart. For them, it seems between a hard place and a rock.