Echocho: The end of a frantic quest to govern Kogi, By Tijani Abubakar


“Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”

I used to think that Alhaji Jibrin Isah Echocho, a former director of the defunct Afribank, was an intelligent politician. Buthis demystification at the PDP primaries conducted on September 14, after a series of petitions from Echocho, proved the exact opposite.

On June 30, 2015, in my article titled ‘Kogi Gov Race: Echocho Stranded in PDP’ which was published on Kogi, I highlighted themain attribute that has been Echocho’s Achilles’ Heels – CONFUSEDDECISIONS.

His main and sincere supporters had all left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),for the All Progressives Congress (APC), and today, they are all doing fine in theirnew abode. His erstwhile running mate, Clarence Olafemi Obembe, isnow a Board of Trustees member in the APC. Hon Benjamin Ikani Okolo is now inthe House of Representatives. Hon. Hassan Baiwa (who bought and branded for Echocho’s campaign in 2011) is now a member of the Kogi House ofAssembly.

All these lucky guys are enjoying APC to the fullest at themoment. Why did Echocho decide to remain in PDP? Could it be because he knew the truth that his popularity is fabled and it could not withstand the tussle in PDP? Hence he remained in PDP to battle with the purportedly weaker Wada. Today, my prophecy hasbeen fulfilled – ECHOCHO IS FINALLY STRANDED IN PDP and Wada has proved to his detractors that he is no pushover and that his gentlemanly approach to governance is a strength, not a weakness.

Echocho, we learnt, was allegedly prodded on to contest by Smart Adeyemi , Chief Jide Omokore and former Governor IbrahimIdris. and his son, Mohammed Ibrahim Idris. Curiously, these political ‘magicians’ did not show up at the venue of the PDPprimary in Lokoja even when we learnt they were in town. Hmmmm! Fool meonce, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

I thought Echocho would have been wise enough to play up the same stunt heplayed in September 2011 by evading the primaries, call for a pressconference and announce his non-participation for cooked-up reasons. Afterthis huge defeat, he has only successfully reduced his image to where itrightfully belongs.

His hired media mercenaries and spin doctors cooked up series of lies that hewas ‘the candidate to beat’. That ‘Wada had stepped down for Echocho’. That ‘Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari, Obama, Jacob Zuma and even angels are insupport of Echocho’. At the end, they only succeeded in making him a national symbol of shame, a paper-weight politician!

I have reviewed the results of the PDP primaries and I saw that he put up agood fight in Omala -Ibro’s LGA; Yagba East, Omokore’s LGA; Ijumu, Smart Adeyemi’s LGA and won Yagba West, where Omokore also holds sway. This isthe best his godfathers could do for him. Na wah ooo! He lost his own local government woefully to the incumbent. Can there be a better testimony that his ‘popularity’ is more a creation of media hype than of reality.

What next for the stranded Echocho? I learnt he left the stadiumbefore the end of the ballot counting when he realized that the game was up. I must however commend him for doing something totally out of his character- which was concede defeat and pledge to work with Wada.

In his own words: “Wada can win, I will work with him”. I expected that he would contest the results of the primaries in all the courts of the land as he usually does, but I was shocked at his conciliatory gesture.

He must have rushed to Abuja to meethis godfathers who left him alone to bear the shame. The cunny duo rushed out of town after pushing him insidethe pit. Hmmmm! ‘Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

Well, all hope is not lost. October 7 is the deadline for submission of names ofcandidates by political parties. I will not be surprised to see his handlers convince him to pickthe ticket of another party where he will obviously be stranded again.

Already, I hear plans are in the works for him to support his in-law, Abubakar Audu, in his quest to return to Lugard House in return for the gubernatorial ticket in 2019. If that happens, that will be the Echocho, Kogites have grown to know — a man whose quest to govern Kogi state is insatiable.


Tijani Abubakar wrote in from Lokoja