Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi state, recently boasted at the special convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he had moved the state from being dominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to “100 per cent APC”.
With 47 votes in his favour, that means he got only 75 per cent — assuming those votes all came from Kogi delegates.
But TheCable understands that Bello might actually have received most of his votes from non-Kogi delegates, going by new facts that are emerging.
Although he placed fifth over all, there were no consolation prizes.
What really went wrong? Is Bello losing grip of a party he thought he had firmly under his control?
THE FALEKE FACTOR
Faleke, Tinubu’s associate, is eyeing Kogi governorship in 2024, sources told TheCable
It is now feared in Bello’s camp that Faleke is gradually taking over the APC structure in the state ahead of the 2024 governorship election — going by the results of the different primaries for the 2023 general election.
“Faleke is a bigger politician than Yahaya Bello. He has taken most of the APC leaders in the state from him, including some powerful people in Bello’s government. Such is his tenacity,” an APC state executive told TheCable.
“It is beyond what happened in Abuja. I can tell you authoritatively that the governor didn’t get half of the 63 votes from Kogi. Faleke moved against him big time to show him he remains the master of the game. A majority of those who won tickets during the primaries are with Faleke at the moment.
“With what is on ground, Bello cannot determine who succeeds him. Even if he asks his appointees to write their children’s names as delegates, they will still vote Faleke at the primary.”
IMPLOSION WITHIN THE GOVERNOR’S CAMP
As it stands, the governor’s camp is seriously divided along interest lines.
Edward Onoja, Bello’s deputy, is his friend and long-time ally who was the chief strategist of his campaign when he ran for governorship. He is said to be interested in succeeding Bello.
Onoja, the deputy governor, hopes to succeed his principal but no one is sure if Bello will support him
Asuku’s mother has been in captivity for months without any trace in what his associates are attributing to political intrigues.
HEADS TO ROLL?
There are strong indications that Bello may take drastic decisions in order to retain his control of the state as he is said to have been disappointed by the party leadership and some of his top aides.
“He is considering ringing some drastic changes,” a source in his circle told The Cable.
There is palpable fear within his cabinet as delegates nominated by some of his top aides voted against him.
IS THE GOVERNOR LOSING GRIP OF HIS GROUP?
Aside from politics, sources said the key figures in his cabinet have been disobeying his directives for some time. It may owe to the exit-term factor, as some are already building new alliances ahead of the 2023 polls.
Even those thought to be his enemies are now having a handshake with members of his cabinet.
One of the senatorial aspirants from Kogi central is said to be conniving with the party headquarters to annul the primary election, said to have been won by Sadiq Abubakar Ohere, Bello’s former commissioner for works.
A number of petitions has been submitted to the headquarters for this purpose.
In Yagba federal constituency, Kingsley Fanwo, Bello’s preferred candidate and his former information commissioner, lost to Folorunsho Olafemi after some government officials defied the governor and worked against his choice.
In one of the primary elections in Kogi central, a man was shot dead.
WILL TINUBU’S PRESIDENCY COMPOUND BELLO’S WOES?
If Tinubu goes ahead and wins the 2023 presidential election, Bello will have a big battle in his hands controlling the APC structure in the state and installing his preferred candidate as his successor.
The governor not only congratulated Tinubu for his victory, he has gone ahead to donate a campaign office to him.
Will Bello reach a truce with Tinubu and Faleke or anoint his deputy, from Kogi east, to take over from him? Or will he stick to his chief of staff who is from Kogi central like him?