By Suzan Edeh
THE question of who succeeds Bauchi State governor, Isa Yuguda has become the central issue ahead the 2015 gubernatorial elections in the state.
It is no longer news that the Federal Capital Territory ,FCT, Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed and a female lawmaker representing Bogoro constituency Mrs. Rifkatu Danna, have now joined forces to battle Yuguda’s ‘anointed’ candidate come 2015.
The governor is believed to be instrumental to Mohammed’s political relevance today. It was Yuguda who appointed him as a special assistant during his days as Minister of Transport and Aviation. Mohammed later defeated former governor Adamu Mua’zu at the 2007 senatorial election, where he emerged as the senator representing Bauchi South senatorial district .
He was appointed minister in the present administration,a development believed to be against the interest of Yuguda. Hence, a battle line was drawn between the duo.
According to a source,their political fisticuffs started playing out when the governor defected from ANPP to PDP, claiming that it was done attract federal presence to the state.
The source also said that the rift between Danna and Yuguda started when she paid homage to Sayawa Chiefdom’s Air Commander Ishaku Komo in Tafawa-Balewa and her political romance with Mua’zu and the FCT minister.
This development did not go down well with the state government. Also her stand against the purported relocation of Tafawa-Balewa Council headquarters to Bununu at the floor of the State House of Assembly led to her indefinite suspension since June,2012.
Even though the table turned against her in the House, her constituency, has continued to demand for the lifting of the suspension.
Nonetheless, eminent personalities in the state and the presidency have tried to reconcile the three gladiators, yet things are going from bad to worse.
As it stands now, the FCT minister seems to be more favoured to emerge stronger from the battle. At the moment, his campaign posters and billboards are common sight on the streets of Bauchi. There is also another strategy called ”Project Bala 2015″, which was primarily put together to mobilize women across the state to support Mohammed’s ambition.
It was gathered that the female lawmaker has assured the FCT minister of massive votes from her constituency. Instructively, Bogoro constitute 90 percent of the population in Bogoro and Tafawa-Balewa Local government areas.
This political drama has attracted public sympathy in favour of the suspended female House member and Mohammed.
Speaking on the matter, a stakeholder, who pleaded anonymity said: ‘” As it seems now, the only strong Bauchi gubernatorial contender is the FCT minister.
Besides winning the favour of major political stalwarts in the state, he has the backing of the Presidency. Apart from Alhaji Nadada Umar, a former SSG, Dr.Musa Babayo former PDP National secretary and father in-law to Yuguda and Barrister Ahmed Dandija, who are considered as Yuguda’s leading anointed candidates, the FCT minister has more advantage .”
Simplicity and benevolence
Senator Bala’s popularity which was attributed to his charity works and simplicity, appears to constitute a strong challange to Yuguda’s camp.
It was gathered that the political realignments were raising dust in the Government House.
This informed claims that political machinery has been put in place to deny the FCT minister the gubernatorial ticket in favour of secretary to the state government Mr. Ahmed Dandija.
However, some observers have opined that selling Dandija to the electorate, might be a herculean task.
Though the FCT Minister is yet to declare his ambition, he is beileved to be busy lobbying the presidency for the ticket.
When asked about his ambition during a recent unscheduled visit to Bauchi, he said time shall tell if he will be contesting.
Meanwhile, there are reports that some Yuguda’s loyalists have defected to the minister’s camp. This is in addition to ongoing media war between the supporters of the duo.
While Yuguda was accused of retarding development in the state unlike his predecessor Mu’azu, critics of the FCT minister accused him of enriching his Jarawa kinsmen from Duguri District in Alkaleri LGA through juicy contracts and land deals in Abuja, without carrying other ethnic groups along.
Perhaps, it is on the strenght of this allegation that Yuguda appointed Mohammed’s kinsmen as key players in the government.
The Head of Service, Chief of Staff and some commissioners , hail from the minister’s Jarawa ethnic group. Regardless of that, some people are said to have vowed to support the minister.
With the determination of Mohammed to realize his gubernatorial ambition through his renewed partnership with Danna, only time will tell how far he will go.