By Gbenga Oke
As the battle for the soul of Nasarawa State continues to rage, observers have continuedÂ to watch with keen interest where and how events will play out especially as we move closely to 2011 elections.
For Governor Aliu Akwe Doma, the incumbent governor of the state, the sky is the limit as he started moving from one local government to the other to commission some of his projects and thereby urging citizens of the state to vote him for a second term ticket while some of the other aspirants eyeing the governorship seat are still consulting far and wide before they finally kick off their campaigns.
As all these campaigns and consultations are going on, it is observed that another under-current playing out in the politics of the state now is the determination of the Christian community to throw their weight and support to one of their own in the build up to 2011.
This decision according to a source is because the Christian community felt marginalised since the creation ofÂ NasarawaÂ and had been looking forward to see one of their own becoming the next governor of the state.
Some of the Christian personalities who spoke on the condition of anonymity to Vanguard stated thatÂ this as an opportunity to give one of our own the full support to be the next governor of the state come 2011.
As this development is playing out inÂ the state, some stakeholders see it as an Herculean task that canâ€™t really hold sway while some see it as a welcome development since the population of the Christian community and that of the Muslim is almost equal.
WhileÂ this is playing out, the entrance of another PDP bigwig, Alhaji Tanko Almakura into the governorship race in the state is sending another signal to the Lafia government house. His entrance into the race has left mouth wagging and is seen as a welcome development to numbers of the PDP faithful in the state.
At present in theÂ capital, Lafia and other local governments areas, it is only the posters and billboards of the incumbent governor, Alhaji Akwe Doma, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura and Professor Onje Gye -Wado that are seen everywhere as major contenders for the governorship seat
However, pundits believed Governor DomaÂ might not have an easy ride back to Lafia government house except a true reconciliation is carried out within the PDP. As it is, some of the stakeholders who spoke with Vanguard stated that in any case Governor Doma is given a second term ticket by the PDP, party affiliation may be left out and a coalitionÂ formed to give an unflinching support to a particular candidate who will give the governor a run in 2011 elections.
While the PDP hasÂ more candidates showing interest in the governorship seat, the opposition in the state has only a candidate in person of Professor Onje Gye Wado.
The candidates and their zones
Governor Aliu Akwe Doma (Southern Zone, PDP)
Governor Aliu Akwe Doma is the current governor of theÂ state and he has started campaigning for his second term bid in office as his campaign train has been moving from one local government to the other commissioning someÂ projects embarked upon by his administration since inception.
Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. ( Southern Zone and PDP)
A business man of high repute and a well respected native of the state, he is seen as a formidable force and has what it takes to face Governor Doma in 2011. He was a member of National Party of Nigeria, (NPN) and was also part constitutional assembly.
Dr Hassan Lawal (Western Zone, PDP)
Dr Hassan Lawal was former minister of works and housing.Â HeÂ retired from NNPC before entering politics in 1999. He is believed to be a close ally of former governor of the state, Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi and that will be a plus for his ambition if he decides to contest.
Barrister Solomon Ewuga (Northern Zone, PDP)
He is one man whose name rings bell in all the nooks and crannies of Nasarawa. He left the PDP to contest under the ANPP in the build up to 2007 elections and only recently returned back into the party. His supporters believe he is the best man for the job if he decides to contest.
Senator John Damboyi (Northern Zone, PDP)
He was a Senator of the Federal Republic until 2007 when he lost his seat to Senator Patricia Akwashiki. A young, dynamic and astute politician, his popularity is not also in doubt in the politics of the state.
Professor Onje Gye- Wado (Northern Zone, AC)
A professor of Law and first deputy governor Nasarawa,(1999 -2003) under Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi. He is popularly regarded as the leader of the opposition in the state. His struggle dates back to the military incursion in Nigeria politics and the struggle to return country to democracy.