Even as it remains less than three weeks for the senatorial election, it remains hazy who among the contestants vying for the Kogi West senatorial seat will emerge winner.Five persons are contesting the seat on the platform of different political parties. They are Dino Melaye of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Smart Adeyemi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Samuel Aro of the Accord Party (AP), Toyin Akanle of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bidemi Adeyemi of Labour Party (LP). The issues that will determine who wins the election in the district is basically the purported zoning arrangement, accessibility of candidates to the people and money, while party affiliation which used to be a big factor may not be a strong factor in the current dispensation due to the seriousness attached to the issue of zoning.There are three federal constituencies that make up the senatorial district namely; Lokoja/Koto Federal Constituency, Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency and Yagba federal constituency, and three of the contestants, Aro, Akanle and Bidemi Adeyemi are from Yagba federal constituency, while Senator Adeyemi and Dino Melayi are from Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency.Lokoja/Koto federal constituency has two local governments - Lokoja and Kotonkarfe, while Yagba has three local governments - Yagba West, Yagba East and Mopamoro local governments. Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu has two local governments namely, Kabba-Bunu and Ijumu local governments.Political observers believe that the contest for the Kogi West senatorial seat is between Aro of the Accord Party, Melaye of APC and Senator Adeyemi of the PDP.In the six local governments that make up the district, Aro according to observers, may score the highest number of votes in Yagba West, Yagba East and Lokoja due to the zoning agitation. Senator Adeyemi may poll majority of the votes in Kabba/ Bunu local government while in Ijumu, Adeyemi will also attract a lot of votes but Melaye may pick some votes from the Gbedde axis of Ijumu. In Koton-Karfe Local Government, Melaye may have the highest number of votes due to the Muhammadu Buhari and APC factor. But Accord Party and PDP are doing all they can to turn the table in their favour in the local government. In Mopamuro, Aro will put up a good showing due to the zoning agenda of the Yagba people, but Adeyemi will also poll some votes from there because the deputy governor, Yomi Awonyi is also from there.Sam Bamidele AroSam Aro is contesting on the Accord Party (AP) platform. He is a former member of the House of Representatives. Out of the three federal constituencies, Aro may get bloc votes from Yagba federal constituency and Lokoja local government where the proponents of zoning hail from. His accessibility to the people many believe may also be an added advantage to him. Aro was to contest under the APC banner but was disqualified because of a pending case with the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). He decamped to Accord Party to become the party’s candidate. He may pull surprises during the election.Smart AdeyemiSenator Adeyemi is the senator currently representing the district and the current contest would be the third time he would be contesting for the seat. He hails from Ijumu local government and Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency. The issue of rotation is what is working against him. People of the district especially Yagba and Lokoja/koto federal constituency who want the zoning arrangement upheld may not vote for him. But Adeyemi will get bloc votes from his constituency which is Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency. Another factor according to political analysts that may also work against him is his not being accessible to people like some of his co-contestants. But he is believed to have the resources and a big financial war chest to woo voters. Senator Adeyemi is always very smart during election, he survived the zoning onslaught against him in 2011 and during the party primaries in 2014, he also survived the zoning onslaught again to become the PDP candidate. He may also pull a smart one again as he has always done. Dino MelayeDino Melaye is a former House of Representatives member. He is a grassroots politician and popular but the current zoning agitation in the area may work against him because he is from the same federal constituency and local government with Senator Adeyemi. But the Buhari factor may work for him, especially in Kotonkarfe. In Yagba federal constituency, the odd is also against him because of the zoning while he and Senator Adeyemi will share the votes of Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu federal constituency.Toyin AkanleToyin Akanle is a retired staff of State Security Service (SSS). He is from Yagba East local government and a new entrant into politics as well as relatively unknown in the politics of the area which may also work against him. He is one of the contestants. Political watchers believe he is in the race to test his popularity.Bidemi AdeyemiBidemi Adeyemi is contesting under the Labour Party banner. He is a presently a House of Assembly member in the state representing Yagba West state constituency. Being the son of a popular politician from the area, his father’s popularity was believed to have given him the House of Assembly seat. He is also believed to be in the race to test his popularity. He is the youngest among the contestants.As it is, it remains to be seen who among the five contestants will emerge victorious during the senatorial district election.
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