The question of who succeeds Governor Isa Yuguda has become the topical issue in Bauchi State among political stakeholders. Apparently constrained by new political permutations arising from the emergence of his predecessor, Adamu Muazu as national chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Yuguda seems determined to hold his succession desires to his chest.
By Suzan Edeh
The emergence of Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu as the People’s Democratic Party national Chairman, the political equation of the governorship race in the state seemed to take a turn. Until this year when Muazu returned from political oblivion, Yuguda was largely seen as the major determinant on who would get the governorship ticket.
That has not stopped many aspirants to come out to show interest in the contest. Besides displaying their posters at every nook and cranny of the state metropolis, they are also consulting with key stakeholders in the state who have the power to influence the electorate and turn things in their favour.
It was, however, gathered that just as the governor and some of his associates were keeping their plans for 2015 close to their chests, some of the gladiators are also bent on ensuring that the governor is not allowed to choose his successor on his own. Those in this league are also mapping out strategies on how to actualize their dreams.
The coming of the All Progressives Congress, APC as the major opposition party in the state, has been a help to those in this category, more so as the APC has started gathering momentum through intensified political activities.
A political analyst, Buba Abdullahi, however, lamented that the lack of unity and factions within the party could pose setback as was the case during the 2011 general election in the state.
“What APC needs this time around is to consolidate and have strong party structures. They need to have internal party discipline and at the same time prepare ahead of time so that the injustice that was meted on them in the judicial system during 2011 general election does not reoccur”. Buba said
One of the burning issues that has been generating controversy among stakeholders is rotation of the governorship seat among the three senatorial zones: Bauchi South, Bauchi Central and Bauchi North.
Bauchi North and South have produced governors in the past leaving only Bauchi Central. Bauchi South alone has produced the two governors in the current democratic dispensation while Bauchi North produced four deputy governors, Abdulmalik Mahmud, Garba Muhammad Gadi and Babayo Garba Gamawa and the incumbent Sagir Aminu Saleh, while Bauchi Central produced three secretaries to the State Government, Muhammed Nadada Umar, Alhaji Shu’aibu Ahmed and Barrister Ahmed Ibrahim Dandija. The position of Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly was shared among Bauchi North and Bauchi Central while Bauchi South always gets the deputy speaker.
Recently, the state was abuzz with the rumour that the governor may have settled for Ahmed Ibrahim Dandija, the current Secretary to the State Government (SSG), as his anointed successor. The SSG from Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi Central Senatorial District, who is perceived as Yuguda’s most dependable associate in many quarters, has been in office since Yuguda’s emergence as governor in 2007.
Associates of the SSG say he has declared his governorship ambition to his supporters and political allies, seeking their support to help him prevail on the governor to endorse him. But contrary to insinuations that the governor may have secretly endorsed a particular person for the job, the governor seems to be finding it difficult to make up his mind over who to support among his array of allies and political associates.
Sources close to him say he is under immense pressure from many quarters over the issue.
“In all these, I can tell you that the governor is yet to endorse anybody. He is studying the situation critically with a view to determining what is best for the state. Those saying he has endorsed them are merely flying political kites,” an associate of the governor said.
The inability of the gladiators to reach an agreement on how the zoning issue should be approached has given rise to a scenario where all the three zones are currently fielding aspirants who are viewed as serious contenders for Yuguda’s job.
Adamu Tatari, a chieftain of the ruling party and a leading campaigner for one of the aspirants from the southern zone said that it is wrong for the central zone to say it has never produced a governor for the state. “Dahiru Deba from Old Bauchi Central, now Gombe State, was governor in 1983 in the old Bauchi State. He was elected as governor when Gombe was still part of Bauchi Central. This fact must not be swept under the carpet. This is why we are saying all the zones have had their fair share and it is time to start all over again,” he said.
In spite of producing both the incumbent governor and his predecessor, Bauchi South is currently parading aspirants that include the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed; Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame, a former Minister of Police Affairs; Senator Abubakar Maikafi and Mallam Ali Wakili.
From Bauchi North are Senator Babayo Garba Gamawa; Alhaji Muhammadu Garba Gadi; Alhaji Baba Tela; Alhaji Yayale Ahmed,;Dr Musa Babayo; Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Tuggar; Senator Nazif Muhammad Gamawa; Engineer Sadiq Mahmud and Engineer Nuhu Gidado. Bauchi Central Senatorial District has in the race: Alhaji Ibrahim Makama; Deputy Senate Leader, Abdul Ningi (PDP); Barrister Dandija and Alhaji Nadada Umar, amongst others. Offering what analysts say may be the mindset of the ruling party in the state, a state official of the PDP in Bauchi State, Alhaji Bashir Bukar Rimin Zayam, said it is wrong to zone the position to one zone.
According to him, the party must avoid repeating the mistake made by former Governor Mu’azu in 2007. “Although we have not started talking about 2015, the best interest of democracy is to allow whoever is eligible to contest from any zone because Tatari Ali, who ruled in 1979, came from Bauchi North and ruled under the then NPN. After him, Dahiru Deba from Old Bauchi Central, now Gombe State, was governor in 1983 in the old Bauchi State. Mu’azu and Yuguda are from the south,” he said to further compound the many uncertainties about 2015 in the state.
While the inability of the governor to make up his mind about who succeeds him and other issues within the ruling party are directly or indirectly responsible for the cloudy nature of politics in the state ahead of the 2015 general election, feelers have it that the emergence of the APC as a formidable opposition party is another factor currently heating up the political landscape of Bauchi State.
Already, chieftains of the opposition party are vowing that the APC has what it takes to dislodge the ruling PDP during the next election. According to Nasiru Ibrahim Darazo, spokesperson of the party in Bauchi State, whatever is the calculation within the PDP, the party will not win the election in 2015 because the party has failed the people.
“PDP has failed to address the problems of insecurity, poverty, water, electricity, infrastructure, unemployment during its 16-year rule. So, Bauchi people need positive change in 2015,” Darazo said.