BY ALIYU DANGIDA
The 2011 Senatorial contest in Jigawa quite unlike other states in the federation has the trapping of a big boxing bout with sharks of equal strength ready to prove their mettle in a contest that could make or mar political relevance in the New world.
The Senate contest in Jigawa is simply an extension of the battle of supremacy between the two leading gladiators in the State: Governor Sule Lamido and his predecessor in office, Senator Ibrahim Saminu Turaki.
Turaki’s line up are essentially men of valour reputed to have played a significant roles in his 8 year administration with their grassroot contacts going for them, while Lamido’s men consist of men who have lived among the people and are known for their philanthropic gestures.
Christened as ‘the big fight’ the impending clash is also seen as being propelled by ego.
Lamido’s confetti of trouble is also swelled by his radical nephew, Farouk Adamu Aliyu who appears to be leading a palace coup, and his team comprises mainly of people who had at one time or the other cohabited with Lamido in the same tent.
SENATOR IBRAHIM SAMINU TURAKI (ACN)
A sitting Senator representing Jigawa North-West, he was the immediate past governor of the state. A successful and International business man even before he ventured into politics and a dogged fighter with high record of benevolence he ruled the state for eight years and his influence cannot be wished away by mere wave of hand.
In his constituency, Senator Turaki remains a man to beat and despite the emergence of some home boys gunning for his seat, his followership in the 12 local councils that make up the Senatorial slot is phenomenal.
His advantages includes his amiable nature; his long cognate political experience and his human development efforts that suit the local politics. These make him a force to reckon with and will work in his favour.
However, Turaki has to contend with Lamido’s might in the zone. The circumstances that forced him out of PDP and his alleged non-performance in his four years at the Red chamber coupled with his pending case with the EFCC are worries for him.
SENATOR MUHAMMAD D. ALKALI (JIGAWA NORTH-WEST) CPC
A former Senator represented the Jigawa North-West from 1999-2003 on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Muhammad D. Alkali was a commissioner representing Jigawa state at the Federal Mobilization and Revenue Fiscal Allocation Commission.
He lost his traditional title of Sardaunan Gumel following a face up with his estranged political associate, Governor Sule Lamido.
Popularly known as ‘Baban Beta’, Senator Alkali’s paths in the political terrain had lately faced serious hiccups forcing him to crisscross the major political blocks in the state.
His decision to join the Buhari inspired Congress for Progressive Change, CPC perhaps explains the frustration he suffered in the hand of Turaki during their short political romance.
The Gumel born politician is relying on his political experience and his mass appeal to the electorate founded on his believe for giving out alms .
The wrangling political crises between Governor Sule Lamido of PDP and Senator Ibrahim Saminu Turaki of ACN may work in his favour.
SENATOR MUJITAFFA MALLAM KIYAWA, ACN (JIGAWA NORTH-CENTRAL)
Former Speaker, Jigawa State House of Assembly and unrepentant Turaki acolyte has demonstrated signs of his preparedness to swim and sink with his erstwhile boss.
A local breed intellectual, Mujitaffa had variously served Saminu Turaki as a Commissioner in the Ministry of Health and subsequently Ministry for local government and chieftaincy affairs before making it to the state Assembly where he was elected as Speaker against all odds. It is believed that his unquestionable loyalty to the Governor at that time saw him surrendering vibrancy of the house to the caprices of the executive.
He is simple, easy going and responsible and by all standards, a patriot who has been contributing his resources, time and energy to the development of the party in the state.
His support for Turaki who is in battle with Governor Lamido constitutes a serious threat to his second term bid, as well as his alleged non-performance in his constituency since his election as Senator representing Jigawa Central at the National Assembly.
SENATOR ABDULAZEEZ USMAN, PDP (JIGAWA NORTH-EAST)
Another Ex-Turaki boy in the Red chamber was a former member of the House of Representatives representing Guri /Birniwa/ Kirikasamma federal constituency for eight years.
His major advantages include his youthfulness, the channeling of Federal Government projects to his constituency as well as his sound relationship with the state party.
He is also a nephew to the Deputy Chairman of the state PDP whose political influence in Hadejia emirate is total.
AbdulAzeez has tried to maintain a delicate balance between his mentor and emerging political boss, and no doubt his closeness to his people will work in his favour.
DR. DANLADI A. SANKARA (JIGAWA NORTH-WEST) PDP
The erstwhile Vice National Chairman of the PDP of North-West and chairman of Hadejia River Basin Development Authority was a successful business man even before he ventured into politics.
His decision to enter the race was the second attempt over the last twelve years. He was defeated by Turaki’s candidate, Alhaji Dalha Danzomo in 2007.
Pundits see his second attempt against Turaki largely as a mere demonstration of uncommon courage for head or tail Dr Sankara needs prayers to lift an Olympus.
His greatest advantage however is the incumbency factor of the PDP administration in the state.
HON. ABDULMUMINU ZAREKU (JIGAWA CENTRAL) PDP
One of the trusted allys of Governor Lamido, he was a local government chairman of Miga and later appointed Commissioner at the National Poverty Eradication Programme, NAPEP in the Olusegun Obasanjo government. He is a grassroots politician and very loyal party man
His greatest advantage was his zeal and commitment in bringing people oriented projects to his local government and the state coupled with his relationship with his people.
His long standing political experience will add more support to his aspiration.
BARRISTER SANI HUSSAINI GARUNGABAS (JIGAWA NORTH-EAST) CPC
A sharp critic of Ex-Governor Saminu Turaki, he is a very brilliant lawyer and is currently chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA Jigawa state chapter.
He has changed parties severally starting with PDP as secretary in 1999, then to ANPP in 2003, and he lately found a home in the CPC. He seems to rely heavily on his grassroots connection.
The hurdle he may face in the race may be the incumbent Senator who has a stronger political structure.
HON. UBALE SHITTU (JIGAWA NORTH-EAST) ACN
Shittu was appointed deputy governor to Turaki in 2004, an appointment described by his then boss as a ‘stop gap measure’. It was no surprise then that he voluntarily resigned over irreconcilable differences.
Ubale Shittu was a candidate in the 2007 governorship election but lost to Governor Sule Lamido.
He was later appointed as board member in one of the federal government parastatals. He later joined the Turaki led ACN on whose platform he is now gunning for a senate seat. He is a jovial and active politician especially in his Senatorial district.
His chances of getting into the upper chamber may be helped by his simplicity and political experience, but his disadvantages may be absence of financial capability as well as incumbency factor that may work against him.