The outcome of the governorship primaries in the two major political parties in Nasarawa State turned out to be anti-climax for the major tribes in the state.
By Abel Daniel
HOW did the majority ethnic group lose out in the two major political parties during the governorship election in Nasarwa State? That is the poser that is begging for answer in the state. It is a situation that runs contrary to the situation south of the border in Benue where the dominant Tiv population even with the weight of Senator David Mark, president of the Senate and the zoning prescriptions of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP refused to yield space to the long suffering Idoma ethnic group.
In the All Progressives Congress, APC, Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura, who is from the Gwandara, a minority tribe defeated his two opponents James Amgbazo and Engr. Reuben Audu who are both from one the dominant Eggon ethnic group.
Almakura polled 1630 votes, James Amgbazo scored 73 votes while Engr. Reuben Audu got 17 votes. A similar trend prevailed in the PDP where Yusuf Agabi, from Agye, a minor ethnic group wrestled with Senator Solomon Ewuga, Labaran Maku and Chris Mamman all from the Eggon tribe and Aliyu Akwe Doma, who is Alago, another large ethnic group next in ranking to the Eggon.
The situation is compounded by the fact that the Eggon ethnic group despite its placing as the largest ethnic group in the state has never held the governorship seat since the creation of the state. The other two zones have had their share of eight years in power.
By all calculations, Nasarawa North was expected to produce the governorship candidate for 2015 but unfortunately a minority tribe from Nasarawa South, a zone that has had it in the past eight years still clinched the ticket to run for another four years and probably eight years.
This is the reason analysts say Nasarawa is a state where the minority dominates the majority. What an irony?
The problem for the Eggons entering into the primary contests was the determination of all the Eggon aspirants to follow the process to the end leaving them to divide the votes among themselves.
Indeed, ahead of the PDP governorship primary which was the cynosure of most eyes, party officials and stakeholders had talked much of a consensus candidate as part of their resolve to win the state from the APC which is presently in control of the executive arm.
The idea was almost working as various aspirants gave their support, but behind the support was the restraint from nearly all of them that they would fully support it so long as it favoured the person.
The state chairman of the party Hon. Yunana Illiya did his best to persuade the aspirants to come up with the most popular candidate but it could not work because Labaran Maku, the former minister of information opted out and insisted that the candidate must be produced through the primaries.
Eight aspirants purchased the governorship form under the PDP. They included: Senator Solomon Ewuga (Nasarawa North), Labaran Maku (Nasarawa North), John Michael Abdul (Nasarawa North), Deputy Governor Dameshi Barau Luka (Nasarawa North), Chris Mamman (Nasarawa North), Agabi Yusuf (Nasarawa South), former Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma (Nasarawa South), Musa Husain (Nasarawa South) and Col. Jibril Bala, retd (Nasarawa South).
The PDP had earlier agreed that the seat of the governorship should rotate to Nasarawa North given the fact that the two other zones have had their eight years as governor respectively while Nasarawa North is yet to produce the governor since the creation of the state.
There was huge expectation that the 2015 PDP governorship candidate would emerge from Nasarawa North but it did not materialise as Nasarawa South still clinched it again.
Till the day of governorship primaries consultations were still ongoing on who should step down for the other but they could not reach a compromise.
The election was conducted in a free and fair atmosphere. Before the commencement, all the aspirants were made to sign an undertaking that they would accept the result in good faith as the election would be conducted in line with the rules of the game.
Accreditation and the voting
The accreditation and the voting started concurrently at about 4.20pm under the watchful eyes of the party electoral chairman, Senator Adolphus Wabara and some INEC officials and ended at about 11.30pm.
Announcing the result, Senator Wabara declared that Alhaji Yusuf Agabi polled 214 votes, Labaran Maku got 160 votes, Aliyu Akwe Doma scored 129 votes. The rest were Ewuga (31 votes), Mike Abdul (28), Col. Yakubu and Chris Mamman got a vote each.
Barr. Musa Husain stepped down for Akwe Doma earlier before the commencement of the election.
To win the ticket Agabi pulled 214 votes. All the aspirants with exception of Labaran Maku who left earlier when he observed that he had lost, congratulated the winner and promised to give him their support.
In his acceptance speech Agabi thanked his supporters and the party for the manner in which the election was conducted. He assured that if finally voted in he would make ensure that peace returns to the state.