In the political landscape of Nigeria, three states often dubbed as the ‘Axis of Political Evil’ – Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi – stand at the center of attention. As voters gear up to elect governors, the historical and controversial events that have unfolded in these states warrant a closer look. This article delves into the intricate political web woven in these regions, exploring the key players, unprecedented incidents, and the upcoming elections that hold the promise of shaping Nigeria’s political future.
Kogi: A Historical Quandary
The 2015 Election Drama
Kogi State gained notoriety in 2015 during the governorship election when the unexpected demise of APC candidate Prince Abubakar Audu threw the political arena into chaos. The constitutional challenges that ensued, involving key figures like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, left an indelible mark on Nigeria’s political history.
The Lingering Controversy
The aftermath of the 2015 election in Kogi continued to reverberate, particularly in the strained relationship between the Tinubu/Faleke camp and Governor Bello. It wasn’t until the 2022 convention that the rift seemingly healed, paving the way for Bello’s support of Tinubu in the 2023 presidential election.
Shadows of Violence
Kogi, however, remains etched in memory for the 2019 election marked by violence, famously known as ‘Tatatatata.’ The tragic killing of PDP Woman Leader, Mrs. Salome Abuh, cast a shadow over Bello’s governance, despite his efforts in curbing sectarian and religious violence.
Bayelsa: The Miracle Governor and Political Reshuffling
Bayelsa State, seemingly less controversial, has its own share of political upheavals.
Douye Diri’s Unconventional Rise
Governor Douye Diri, self-styled as the ‘miracle governor,’ ascended to power in an unconventional manner, pronounced by the Supreme Court just days before the handover from the previous administration. His second-place finish in the 2019 election, overshadowed by the annulment of David Lyon’s victory, added a layer of complexity to Bayelsa’s political narrative.
Timipre Sylva’s Dominance
In the current political landscape, Timipre Sylva, a former governor and minister of state for petroleum, has taken the APC ticket for himself. This move has caused dissent within the party, with some questioning the decision not to reconsider David Lyon for the candidacy.
Tragedy in Nembe
Bayelsa’s political history is marred by the brutality of the 2019 election, with allegations of PDP supporters being thrown into the sea in the Nembe area. The scars of this bloodiest election continue to influence the state’s political dynamics.
Imo: Supreme Court Governor and Political Turmoil
Imo State stands out with its recent political savagery and controversies.
Hope Uzodimma’s Controversial Ascent
Governor Hope Uzodimma’s controversial rise to power in 2020, propelled by a Supreme Court decision, earned him the moniker ‘Supreme Court Governor.’ Accusations of using force to establish credibility have contributed to a surge in violence, tarnishing the once-peaceful heartland of Ndigbo.
Senate Contenders and Electoral Distrust
The upcoming election in Imo involves three senators who shared the Senate floor in 2015. Despite this, confidence in the electoral system is at its lowest, especially after the shambles of the previous February elections.
The Common Thread: Electoral Distrust
As the three states gear up for elections, a prevailing theme emerges – electoral distrust. Confidence in the electoral system is at its nadir, worsened by the tumultuous histories of Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi. The specter of violence, constitutional crises, and political maneuvering continues to cast a pall over the democratic process.
In unraveling the complexities of Nigeria’s ‘Axis of Political Evil,’ it becomes evident that these states are not merely battlegrounds for electoral victories but hotbeds of historical, constitutional, and political intricacies. The upcoming elections hold the promise of either solidifying the existing narratives or ushering in a new era, challenging the prevailing skepticism surrounding the democratic process.