Jibrin Isah, the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Kogi East district, was on Thursday, booed by hundreds of youths during a campaign rally at Ankpa Local Government Area of the state.
Isah, popularly known as Echocho, who is the incumbent senator representing the district had attended the campaign rally in company of Edward Onoja, the Kogi State deputy governor, and the House of Representatives candidate for Ankpa Federal Constituency in the state.
The obviously displeased constituents who came out in their numbers jeered at the senator while he tried to solicit their support for his reelection bid, with many asking him to return to Yahaya Bello, governor of the state, whom he reportedly claimed, single-handedly made him senator in 2019.
Amid the boos and loud jeers, the evidently infuriated senator attempted to physically engage some of the youths, but was restrained by his aides who subsequently whisked him away to prevent further escalation.
The Ankpa incident was not the first time Isah, who it appears, has clearly lost the support of his people, would be jeered during a campaign rally.
A day earlier on Wednesday, he had similar rejection in Ogodu, Abejukolo, Olla and OjiAji – all in Omala Local Government Area – and even a more terrible outing in Ogugu, Okpo and Imane in Olamaboro Local Government Areas of the state, localities that should ordinarily have been the stronghold of the deputy governor, Onoja.
Senator Isah had long ago adopted Onoja as his preferred candidate to replace Bello as governor, having committed to obliging him with other benefits based on an evolving arrangement.
This is perhaps the reason for the lack of support from the APC members from Kogi East who clearly prefer the chief of staff to the governor, Pharm. Abdulkareem Asuku as the next governor with the current Dekina LG council chairman, Hon Isyak Shaibu as his running mate.
Last year, Senator Isah had a similar experience with the Bassa and Ibaji people who were outright in their rejection to what they termed his “use-and-dump behaviour”. This happened on the heels of his donation of 10 cartons of noddles and 24 loaves of bread to flood-ravaged victims in Kogi East.
Recall that controversy trailed the outcome of the APC primary election that produced Senator Isah as party’s candidate over alleged irregularities.
Isah had secured 472 votes to beat his rival, Prince Yahaya Audu, brother of the former Governor of the state, late Abubakar Audu who got only six votes, while one vote was declared invalid. Prince Audu had rejected and disagreed with the outcome of the primaries held in Idah, noting that he was denied entry into the venue to witness the process. He had added that his agent was equally denied entry into the venue, saying the primary election was a sham. Audu, however, vowed to challenge the outcome, as according to him, it didn’t meet the requirements and guidelines for the conduct of APC primaries.
In a similar vein, APC seems to be experiencing a very bad season in the state of late. On January 14, thousands of their members defected to the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), prominent among whom were a former deputy governor of the state, Chief Simon Achuba, a leading political giant from the central area of the state; Alhaji Yahaya Karaku, and a former speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Alfa Imam.
Jibrin Isah reacts, says he wasn’t booed
The senator representing Kogi East in the national Assembly has described his recent campaign tour of the three Local Government Areas in Ankpa Federal Constituency ahead of the February 25th Senatorial election as a huge success.
The electorate in the Federal Constituency he said were so elated that they have pledged to vote overwhelmingly for him and the other APC candidates at the upcoming general elections.
“Echocho’s achievements are all over in the public domain, and the people of Kogi East are prepared to say thank you Echocho on the 25th of February 2023.”
He however, described as a distration some of the social media fake news and misinformation being peddled by his opponents who are having an uphill task trying to convince the people who have seen, felt and enjoyed real dividends of democracy.
While making reference to a social media fake news titled “Senator Jibrin Isah A. K. A. Echocho Disgraced in Ankpa Local Government’ he said, he is too busy to be distracted now that his achievements are being appreciated by the people of Kogi East.
A statement from his campaign council signed by Ojoachene Christian, Deputy Director of Protocol, Kogi APC campaign Council said, “While we consider the subject article laughable, we are compelled to respond to ensure that the reading public is not misled.
“Senator Jibrin Isah undertook a tour of the 3 Local Government Areas in Ankpa Federal Constituency in the company of the Deptuty Governor of Kogi State, His Excellency Chief Edward Onoja, the Deputy Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, who is also the Director general of the Campaign council for Kogi East, the respective Local Government Executive Chairmen and Party Chairmen, as well as various other stakeholders.
“Omala was the first port of call on Tuesday, followed by Olamaboro on Wednesday, and Ankpa on Thursday.
The people in the three Local Government Areas were full of commendations for Echocho, for his milestone achievements, ranging from sponsoring of Bills, Motions, to infrastructural developments, and various empowerment programs.
“With specific reference to Ankpa Local Government Area, when the programme ended, Echocho headed to his vehicle after exchanging pleasantries with the very excited audience. When he sat down in his vehicle, he noticed that a young man was trying to reach out to him but was blocked, and had no choice than to hit Echocho’s vehicle for attention.
Echocho decided to come out of the vehicle to address the young man, but he was equally being blocked. Echocho asked for the identity of the young man, who was obviously looking for favour. The senator has since promised to assist the young man.
The incident had no bearing with the misinformation being peddled by the author who can be best described as an artful fiction writer.
“We have traced the said article to Victor Alewo Adoji and his co-dreamers. Adoji is drowning and looking for whatever he can hold on to whip public sentiments. We try as much as possible to ignore him, but silence may not be golden all the times.
“On the issue of Parliatives for flood victims in Ibaji, Idah, Bassa, Igalamela Odolu, Omala, and Ofu Local Government Areas, Echocho provided thousands of food items worth hundreds of thousands of Naira to the affected Local Government Areas, with cash backing of N1m each. “Thereafter, he facilitated provision of various relief materials worth over N100m through NEMA to the affected Local Government Areas. All these are verifiable at the respective Local Government Areas .
On the issue of use and dump , “Echocho has built many people in Kogi East, right back in his days in the banking industry, to his various interventions in Kogi East as the Senator representing the district.
“With regards to who succeeds His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, it is equally misleading to say Echocho has adopted His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State. Echocho is prepared to work for whoever emerges as the Party’s flag bearer in the upcoming Primary election.
“We strongly advise Victor Adoji to stop ridiculing himself in the public space by manufacturing stories to suit his purpose , and mislead the reading public.
“Adoji should go and market himself to the electorate. But he seem to have nothing to offer, and has been openly rejected by his party, while trying unsuccessfully to penetrate the APC through his Woman friend.
“While Victor is busy entertaining himself on the social media, Echocho is busy visiting the electorate, informing them on his plans for them in his second tenure, God willing.”