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Bauchi: How PDP disappeared

By Suzan Edeh

THE saying that victory is sweet to the one that has once tasted failure reflects the political events that heralded last Saturday’s  Governorship and State House Assembly election in Bauchi State.

The outcome of the election has become the topic of virtually every political discourse in the state as it has proved to political watchers how the mighty can fall while underdogs run the affairs of the state. One question political analysts are still asking is: how did an opposition party has been relegated to the background for many years edge out a ruling party that has held sway for long? Is it miracle, magic or just sheer luck that gave the opposition the advantage this time around?

A critical assessment of the victory of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Governorship Candidate, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar over Auwal Jatau, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) showed that the PDP made some dangerous moves that led to its failure.

Pointer of defeat

Besides the fact that the calculations of the PDP in Bauchi state went wrong this time around at the governorship and State House Assembly elections, the pointers of defeat were glaring even before the conduct of the election. The mistakes of the party were to grievous that it is now learning it’s lessons through the hard way.

Many factors that shot the PDP down have been identified. They include imposition of unpopular candidate

Gov Yuguda & Muazu
Gov Yuguda & Muazu

During the conduct of the PDP’s governorship primary, Auwal Jatau contested alongside four prominent politicians in the state which include former Minister of State for Health, Dr Ali Pate; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Yayale Ahmed; Senator Adamu Gumba and Senator Babayo Gamawa.

The result of the election did not go down well with the people of the state because they felt that Jatau was not only a neophyte in the politics affairs of the state, he had no experience at the national level when compared with other contestants. There were also allegations of rigging of the primaries in favour Jatau, said to be Governor Isa Yuguda’s anointed candidate.

So, the choice of Jatau did not go down well with many PDP stakeholders and heavyweights, who  defected to opposition parties, especially the APC and thereby weakening the ruling party.

Govt’s alleged insensitivity and poor performance

Many observers see Governor Yuguda’s performance as poor. In the last eight years, they said he did not do enough to address a series of economic and social challenges which range from poverty, unemployment, insecurity, poor workers’ salary and deteriorating state of companies. So, the people felt that it was only a change of government that could address their challenges and when they got that opportunity at the polls, they effected the change swiftly.

The Buhari factor

The emergence Muhammadu Buhari as the APC presidential candidate and subsequently the president-elect was a major factor that led to the defeat of the PDP at the governorship and State House Assembly election in Bauchi State. During his campaign visits, Buhari urged his supporters to vote out the PDP government and vote for only APC candidates to usher in a new government that will deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. The people obeyed as reflected in the results, where the APC swept the polls.

APC’s credible candidate

The governor-elect completed his law studies in 1978, attended the Nigeria Law School from 1978 to 1979, had his mandatory National Youth Service Corps and joined the services of Bauchi state government as a Pupil State Council, Ministry of Justice. The key positions he held while serving with the state government were Head of Legal Drafting Department, Bauchi State House of Assembly (1983), Director, Public Prosecution, Ministry of Justice (1988) and Commissioner of Justice (1990 to 1993.)He was also the Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, Bauchi State, from 1996 to 1998.After leaving the services of the state government, Abubakar was at different times, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kogi, Delta, Plateau and Rivers, and afterwards elevated to the position of National Commissioner in charge of Borno, Jigawa and Yobe.

Jatau on the other hand, was a member of the Zaki Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. Jatau, with his 16 years experience in politics, has held various positions in the State House of Assembly, including his emergence as the Speaker and served in many committees in the House of Representatives.

A comparison of their portfolios by political pundits in the state showed that Abubakar is more experienced, educated and has held leadership positions in and outside the state. They said he possesses what it takes to lead the state than Jatau.

Fears that Jatau will be another Yuguda

One of the greatest fears of people of Bauchi was that if Auwal Jatau emerged as the governor of the state, he will continue with the legacies of Yuguda and the state will be further underdeveloped. With this mind, the people were determined that every trace of PDP must go for change to come.

So, it was not shocking that Jatau lost in his zone, Katagum, which consists of Katagum, Shira, Giade, Jama’are, Itas Gadau, Zaki, Gamawa, Misau, Damba. Some stakeholders have been agitating that the next governor should come from Katagum zone because both Yuguda and Mu’azu are from Bauchi South Zone, making the zone to have had governors of the state since 1999.


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