Migori Governor's seat has attracted six hopefuls eyeing the ODM ticket ahead of next year's polls.
The number of hopefuls seeking to unseat Governor Okoth Obado seems to be rising, with three people from his Uriri sub-county backyard expressing their interest. They are George Oywer, Mark Nyamita and former Sony sugar company Managing Director Paul Odola.
Others include former Cabinet Minister Ochillo Ayacko and Anne Anyanga, wife to Nyatike legislator Edick Anyanga.
Asked whether he will ditch PDP for ODM, Mr Obado said he will follow the people’s will. “I work for the people and will respect their will. Where they want me to go is where I will go,” he said.
The governor has been meeting ODM delegates, a move that has not been received well by the party’s county leadership. Migori County ODM chair Philip Makabong’o says the governor needs to officially rejoin ODM before he meets the delegates.
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But Obado’s political advisor Dennis Orero says the governor is free to meet anyone by virtue of him being a leader.
Political pundits, including the governor’s ally and Kuria West parliamentary hopeful Matiko Bohoko, say the gubernatorial race will be decided during the ODM nominations.
Obado maintains that he won the Orange party nominations in 2012. “I won the certificate but it was given to Mrs Anyanga. I had to seek another party. My win shows I had won the ODM certificate and that I had the goodwill of the people,” he says.
Mrs Anyanga was Mr Oyugi Akong’o’s running mate in 2013 on the ODM ticket following the controversial nominations.
But even as the region gears up for another round of high stakes nominations, ODM National chairman John Mbadi has warned that loyalty will be a key prerequisite. This will most likely impact on Obado’s chances, as well as those of Ayacko, who once dumped ODM for Narc.
The choice of running mate will also play a big role in the elections. In 2013, Obado won the seat largely due to the votes from the Kuria community where his running mate Nelson Mwita hails from.
So will the governor stick with his deputy? “No one is going to be replaced,” says Orero, insinuating that Mwita will still be on the ballot box alongside the governor.
Ayacko has dismissed as speculations rumour that he was in talks with Senator Wilfred Machage to be his running mate. “We will cross the bridge when we get there. At the moment, I am focusing on getting my act together,” the former Energy Nuclear Board CEO said.