By Suzan Edeh
Political strategists of the president may have conceived plans of using Bauchi as a linchpin to enter the core conservative states in the north ahead of 2015. The opposition is, however, not indifferent to the plans.
With political activities gathering momentum to herald the 2015 election, supporters of a fresh term for President Goodluck Jonathan are obviously strategizing to win the hearts of the northern electorate. That strategy of winning confidence of the people was recently played out in Bauchi State when Vice-president Namadi Sambo paid a three day working visit to the state. The purpose of the official visit was to commission some projects embarked upon by the Isa Yuguda administration.
Prior to his visit, there was intensive publicity in the electronic and print media, announcing the coming of the vice-President to the state as well as the deployment of heavy security personnel.
Some of the projects the vice-president commissioned in the state included the three Tsangaya Model Schools built by the Federal Government to keep street boys popularly called Almajiri off the streets and give them basic western education, the Bauchi State University, community radio stations, Bauchi Specialist Hospital, the state fertilizers blending plants, amongst other projects.
The Vice President also inspected facilities at the newly constructed N9 billion Bauchi International Airport and Zaki-Kafin dam.
It was not far-fetched that Sambo’s official visit to the state was another effort to underpin the 2015 re-election plans of the president. It was more so, a plan to consolidate the relationship between Abuja and one of its most loyal governors, Yuguda.
It was no wonder, that the vice-president received a rousing ovation at the airport as he was welcomed by Governor Yuguda, representative of the Minister of Education, Prof Charles Onocha, Senator Abdul Ningi representing Bauchi central, Senator Babayo Gamawa representing Bauchi North, former Governor Adamu Muazu, and Chairman of TETFund, Musa Babayo among several other dignitaries.
One critical area of concern in the north that President Jonathan is trying to put an end to, is the problem of insecurity. He is not ignorant of the fact that the people of the north will not give him their mandate when this monster of insecurity keeps claiming the lives of innocent citizens of the region.
While commissioning one of the Almajari schools in Buzaye village in Bauchi, Sambo said that the Federal Government established the Almajiri school system to make basic education accessible to every child because no nation can develop without education.
According to him, “any development plan that does not include education into its system cannot achieve any meaningful socio-economic growth and the federal government is committed to ensuring that every Nigerian child accesses basic education”.
Also while inaugurating the Bauchi State University, Gadau, the Vice-President appealed passionately to the Academic Staff Union of Universities to call off its four month old strike in the interest of the nation and the students.
He said, “the federal government has already shifted grounds in response to the union demands, so ASUU should reciprocate the gesture by calling off the strike”.
With the clocking ticking everyday, the ruling PDP, under the leadership of President Jonathan knows that nothing must be left to chance in capturing the northern states where he is presently in good standing with the political elite.
Another intriguing aspect of the vice-president’s visit was that it seemed to showcase the reconciliation between Yuguda and the former governor of the state, Mu’azu as Yuguda on several occasions during the visit referred to his predecessor and one time bitter antagonist, as “my brother”.
It has been alleged that Yuguda and Mu’azu may have joined forces to install a common choice for the governorship of the state.
That development it was learnt is part of the common agenda of delivering the state to President Jonathan in 2015.
That plan is, however, everyday being countered by the opposition in the north.
One example of the plans of the opposition was played out recently when the recently registered political party, People Democratic Movement (PDM), organized a three-day North-East zonal stakeholders’ retreat to harmonize the interim structure of the party in the state, local governments and wards.?
The second reason for the retreat was to appraise the party members of the importance of online and manual registration in the 8,823 wards in the country so that it can produce credible candidates that will represent the party in the 2015 election.
Speaking with newsmen during the zonal stakeholders retreat, the National Chairman of the party Bashir Yusuf used the opportunity to berate the PDP and showcase what he alleged to be the party’s inherent lack of internal democracy.
He said, “many of you know that from 2003 to date, there have been internal struggles within the PDP for the last ten years between people who believed in democracy, in the rule of law, in giving members their choice and those who believed in imposition, this struggle has been going on for the last ten years and we are not going anywhere, we are not making progress.
“So we realized that if we had used these 10 years of constant struggle within the party in building our party, the party that believes in internal democracy which is the reason why PDM came into PDP in the first place. If we had done this in these last ten years, PDM would have taken over the leadership of this country a long time ago”. He said.