Friday’s governorship primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kogi took a dramatic turn on Thursday as the deputy governor, Edward Onoja, stepped down for the state’s Auditor-General, Ahmed Usman-Ododo.
Mr Onoja was considered the leading aspirant for the APC ticket and many had tipped him to win the primary.
Seven other aspirants, including a former Commissioner for Finance, David Adebanji-Jimoh, Ashiru Idris and Okala Yakubu, also stepped down following Mr Usman-Ododo’s endorsement by Governor Yahaya Bello.
Others are Abdulkareem Asuku, chief of staff to Governor Bello and the state’s Accountant-General, Momoh Jibrin.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that eight aspirants voluntarily withdrew from the race at a meeting held at the party’s secretariat in Lokoja on Thursday and presided over by Governor Bello.
The Chairman of the primary election committee, Governor Mohammed Bello-Matawale of Zamfara, confirmed the development after Thursday’s meeting.
“All other aspirants who have not withdrawn from the race are free to participate in Friday’s direct primary election to be held across the state.
“The gentlemanly agreement was reached and announced at a stakeholders meeting of the party held on Thursday in Lokoja,’’ he said.
Mr Matawalle said Governor Bello, who hosted the meeting, unveiled his anointed candidate in the person of Mr Usman-Ododo.
While announcing his withdrawal from the race, Mr Onoja thanked his leader, Governor Bello and all his supporters for their love and prayers.
Mr Onoja enjoined his supporters to allow love, patience and perseverance to lead at Friday’s primary election and at the 11 November governorship election in the state.
The main opposition party in Kogi, PDP, is expected to also hold its primary on Friday.
A report from PREMIUM TIMES says that the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Thursday dismissed a suit seeking the nullification of the PDP’s delegates lists for the primary.