By Eric Elezuo
As the race for who rules Kogi and Bayelsa for the next four years kicks off, The Boss takes a peep into the world of the contestants. We serve you hot the very details of the men and women who wish to occupy the number positions of the two states. Enjoy:
Yahya Adoza Bello is the incumbent governor of Kogi State who was thrust unto the position by fate. He was declared winner of the 2015 Kogi gubernatorial election after he was chosen on the platform of the All Progressives Congress as the replacement for the late Abubakar Audu who originally won the election but died before the result was declared.
Born on June 18, 1975 in Okene, Kwara State, Bello is not only the youngest governor in Nigeria, he is also the youngest of six children. He started his early education at LGEA Primary School, Agassa in Okene LGA in 1984 where he first manifested his leadership qualities leading to his appointment as a class prefect of class two and later the school Head Boy in class six.
After his elementary education, he attended Agassa Community Secondary School, Anyava, Agassa-Okene for his secondary education and obtained his JSSCE and SSCE certificates from Government Secondary School, Suleja-Niger State in 1994.
He was admitted to Kaduna State Polytechnic Zaria in 1995 and obtained an Accounting degree from Ahmadu Bello University ABU Zaria in 1999. Yahaya Bello further enrolled for a Masters program in Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria where he obtained Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2002. Bello became a chartered fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria in 2004. He is a seasoned businessman.
Having served four years as the executive governor of Kogi State, Bello is seen by many as a failure; not a true representative of the much clamoured ‘not too young to run’ campaign. His administration has been characterised by unpopular policies, incessant political rivalries not forgetting backlog of debts owed the state’s workforce. It is also said that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is aware of his many faults, and that necessitated the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai kneeling before the people of Kogi to beg for forgiveness on his behalf at his campaign ground.
He is presumed to be the well beloved of President Muhammadu Buhari, and that singularly and allegedly presented him the ticket to run for a second term in office. Bello has faced serious opposition especially from the SDP candidate, and except for power of incumbency, his chances of retaining the governorship seat is very slim.
One of Nigeria’s foremost engineers, Engr. Musa Wada, PhD, FNIS was born on May 17 into the family of Alhaji Wada; a family deeply attached to Moslem values in Odu, Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State. His mother Hajia Awawo hails from Idah Local Government Area of Kogi State.
He began his education at LGEA Primary School, Okura-Olafia before attending Government Secondary School, Dekina, and thereafter proceeded to the School of Basic Studies at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
He had his first degree B.Sc in Building from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and his second degree M.Sc in Transport from Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University). He also obtained a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Civil Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure and a doctorate degree (PhD) in Environmental Science from the University of Calabar, Nigeria. He practically traversed the length and breath of the country in search of formal education.
His a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Shipping as well as a Member of many professional bodies including the Nigerian Society of Engineers and Institute of Building. He is an Officer of Igala Kingdom (OIK).
He worked with the Engineering Division of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and rose to become the Chief Port Engineer, Tin-Can Island Port between 2004 and 2007, in charge of general monitoring, overseeing and maintenance of the Tin-Can Island Port facilities and equipment. His zeal for all round performance catapulted him to a position where he was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the Capital Project of NPA Headquarters as a Principal Manager, Capital Project of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Headquarters in Lagos.
Wada is the younger brother of a former governor of Kogi State and may likely ride on the goodwill of his family to victory. He is contesting on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Natasha Hadiza Akpoti was born on December 9, 1979. She was educated variously at the University of Abuja and obtained a law degree. She also attended the University of Dundee.
An astute legal practitioner, Natasha also comes around as a determined politician who seems to know what she wants. She also is the Founder of Builders Hub Impact Investment Program and the only woman in the list of contenders for the Kogi government house.
Earlier in 2019, she ran for the post of Kogi Central Senatorial District seat under the Social Democratic Party, the same party she is representing in the governorship election.
Without a care of whose ox is gored, Akpoti calls a spade a spade, and will not spare anyone whose stock and trade is to take advantage of the gullibility of fellow Nigerians. In 2016, she exposed how information was withheld from Nigerians concerning the Ajaokuta Steel Complex as well as those supposedly sitting on the completion of the project.
In a 2016 interview with Kogi Reports, she described herself as follows:
“I am a lawyer, an MBA professional, social entrepreneur and the founder of Builders Hub Impact Investment Program. My father is from Okehi Local Government Area in Kogi State while my mother is a Ukrainian. I have three male siblings and three amazing children. I had my elementary education at Christ the King Nursery and Primary School, Okene and my junior secondary at Government Girls Unity Secondary School, Oboroke, both in Kogi state. Senior Secondary in Federal Government College Idoani, Ondo State; where I was the Head Girl. I obtained my Bachelor of Law from the University of Abuja, attended Nigerian Law school, Abuja and was called to the bar in 2005. Worked for a few years as a legal counsel at Brass LNG Lagos before proceeding to the United Kingdom for my MBA in Oil and Gas management and LLM Petroleum Law and Policies. I have an insatiable appetite for acquiring knowledge and thus, attended a number of international professional courses. However, of all my life achievements, nothing is dearer to me than my desire to impact socio-economically in the lives of poor and ordinary people.”
Akpoti in the run off to the election has put the major contestants on their toes, unleashing one fiery statement after another, suggesting she is not a candidate to toil with. Notwithstanding, it is only the sympathy of the people that can possible see her make a headway in the contest of winner takes all.
Douye Diri has been a seasoned administrator and prolific politician who has managed to remain in the corridors of power. He is the senator representing Bayelsa Central Senatorial District 9th National Assembly and is aiming to take over the state from Seriake Dickson under the umbrella of the PDP.
Diri, who was described as the best lawmaker in effective advocacy holds a Bachelors of Education in Political Science which he obtained in 1990 after a gaining a national Certificate in Education in 1985.
His pedigree in the political and general career landscape include