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Northwest 2019 Guber race: Who calls the shots

BEN AGANDE, Kaduna; ALIYU DANGIDA, Jigawa; BASHIR BELLO, Katsina & Abdulmumin Murtala, Kano

With just a few months to the conduct of the 2019 governorship elections, the political field in the northwestern states of Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, and Zamfara have is bristling with a plethora of candidates seeking to take over from incumbent governors or succeeding those who have completed their term in office.

Though the contest is fiercely between aspirants from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party against candidates of the All Progressive Congress, some APC governors are also facing stiff opposition from members of their party who feel that the incumbents have not done enough to warrant their being fielded by the party in 2019.

In Zamfara State for instance where the incumbent, Abdulazeez Yari is at the threshold of completing his second term, there is a coalition of opposition from members of the APC who have rejected his preferred choice of successor. The opposition in the PDP is not as strong as it is from the APC.

In Katsina, the president’s home state, though the majority of the aspirants seeking to dethrone the incumbent governor, Aminu Masari are from the opposition PDP, the APC presents a sizeable number of aspirants, signposting that all is not well with the party in Katsina State.

While some of the states in the North West parade a sizeable number of people from the ruling party seeking to unseat the incumbents, Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State has systematically decimated the internal opposition against his candidacy in his state. The APC field has been left alone for him, and his traducers in the PDP are also not having it easy.

Forces Behind Governor Badaru‘s Second Term Bid In Jigawa

Unlike the 2015 General Election which unveiled factors that stood in their favour as well as the odds against them, 2019 will be unpredictable as Buhari’s wind of change may not work in favour of under-performing politicians.

Governor Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State is facing a difficult task as the state is already agog with the profiles of those working hard to unseat him.

Posters of aspirants adorn billboards and buildings across Jigawa State, signifying that consultations are ongoing and that the aspirants may be taking their time to put their houses in order.

KATSINA

The battle line in the race to unseat the incumbent governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari has been drawn.

In the Masari’s closest challenger is Abubakar Isma’ila Isa Funtua.

However, the governor’s major problem is likely to come from the opposition,   PDP which parades such heavyweights like   Engr. Musa Nashuni, Senator Yakubu Lado Danmarke, Abdullahi Garba Faskari, Umar Abdullahi Tsauri (Tata), Ahmed Aminu Yar’Adua, Sada Ilu and Kabir Ahmed Kofa.

THE OPPOSITION WITHIN.

Isa Funtua, is the chairman of the factional group, APC Akida (APC Principle). He is seen as the group’s arrowhead and its chief financier after the exit of Sada Ilu to the PDP in the state.

He commands respect as a top challenger of Masari. This is not because of the position he occupies as the chairman of the faction of APC in the state but because of his pedigree. He is the son of Samaila Isa Funtua, a trusted ally of President Muhammadu Buhari as well as son-in-law to the president. His aspiration has continued to irritate the governor.

SENATOR LADO YAKUBU DANMARKE

Is perhaps the most potent challenger of Masari in the ranks of the PDP. A grassroots politician of immense resources, Lado started his political career as a ward councillor, who later became a two-term local government chairman. He proceeded to House of Representatives and later occupied the seat of a Senator under the PDP platform.

He later joined the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and in 2011 aspired for the governorship ticket of the party but a court disqualified him and made Masari the CPC governorship candidate against Shema. However, Masari then failed to stop Shema’s re-election.

Many people believe that if Lado emerges as the candidate of the PDP, safe for Buhari’s influence, Masari’s chances of remaining in the Government House in Katsina may be threatened.

ABDULLAHI GARBA FASKARI

He was a one-time Deputy Governor to the former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema in his second term in 2011. He was first appointed Attorney General in 2003 by late Governor Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the then governor of Katsina state. Shema emerged Governor in 2007 and re-appointed him in the same capacity and midway to the first term appointed him, Commissioner of Education. And in 2011, he was appointed running mate and Deputy Governor.

Faskari, after their tenure in 2015 went ahead to contest for the Senatorial seat but lost out.

Other challengers in the PDP are Engr Musa Nashuni, Abdullahi Umar Tsauri, Aminu Ahmed Yaradua Sada Ilu, Kabir, and Ahmed Tofa

JIGAWA STATE

The incumbent governor, Abubakar Badaru was not in contention at the early stages of the governorship contest in 2015. He was considered as an ‘alien’ for he was born and brought up outside Jigawa. It should be noted that Badaru is not the usual Nigerian politician. It was, therefore, a surprise that he obtained the APC primaries ticket despite the influence of power brokers including Ubale Hashim a retired Director with NAFDAC and Farouk Adamu Aliyu, a two-time member of the National Assembly, a close confidant of   Buhari and acknowledged kingmaker in the party.

Many believe that the Buhari wind of Change brought him to the seat he presently occupies as the 4th Executive Governor of Jigawa State.

Given the circumstances of his emergence, not many members of the APC were ready to forgive him and have vowed to challenge him in 2019. One of these is Hashim Ubale Yusuf, a retired director with the NAFDAC and a member of the APC.

He recently announced during a press briefing that he had withdrawn his support for Badaru because of what he said was a betrayal of trust and failure in governance.

HON. BASHIR ADAMU JUMBO (SDP)

Is one of those who want to lock horns with Governor Badaru in the governorship election. In 2015 he led a mass defection of 370, 000 people from the PDP to the ruling APC. He was the longest serving member of the House of Representatives (1999 to 2015) who represented Kazaure/Roni/Gwiwa/Yankwashi federal constituency.

He claims that, apart from his determination and willingness to make life more meaningful to the society, he strives at all times to offer services to humanity.   Honourable Jumbo or Bashir Matasa as he is dotingly called was the youth secretary of the defunct NPN in Kazaure local government during the second republic.

SENATOR UBALE SHITU (APC)

Is the current Senator representing Jigawa North-East, a grassroots politician.

Shittu served as deputy governor to Saminu Turaki in 2004, an appointment described by his boss as a ‘stop-gap measure,’ after he voluntarily resigned over irreconcilable differences.

KADUNA

Though Mallam Nasir El Rufai appears to be the only candidate of the APC so far, he has a retinue of challengers in the PDP.

Among those set to challenge El Rufai are Senator Othman Hunkuyi, Hon Isa Ashiru, Sidi Sani and others. Senator Hunkuyi was El Rufai’s campaign Director in 2015, and Honourable Isa Ashiru are seen as leading contenders that are capable of upstaging the governor. But for a man that is known to brook no opposition and is never half-hearted in his fights, Mallam El Rufai will no doubt deploy all means, fair and otherwise, to ensure that he effectively neutralises the challenge posed by whoever may emerge as the candidate of the PDP in the 2019 governorship election in Kaduna state.

Ganduje coasting home in Kano

The Kano state governor Dr Abdullahi Ganduje under the leading All Progressive Congress (APC) is the leading contender for the governorship of the state.

Meanwhile, even as the party has adopted the direct ballot system for its primaries in the state, it is only the incumbent governor that has bought the nomination form so far.

The implication here is that any contestant from the opposition will face him in the general elections.

The camp of the governor has been strengthened by supporters of the former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau who   joined APC recently.     Posters are all over Kano that Shekarau will be contesting for the Senate seat of Kano Central, the position currently held by Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, a presidential aspirant and leader of the Kwakwasiyya Movement.

It was early in this week that the Kano deputy governor, Dr Nasir Yusuf Gawuna was sworn-in     after the seat had been vacant since the resignation of Prof. Hafiz Abubakar who joined Sen Kwankwaso in the People’s Democratic Party PDP. It is said that the selection of the new deputy further confirms Shekarau as being prepared for the senatorial position of Kano Central in 2019, a position position that would have been contested for by the selected deputy governor.

On the side of the opposition PDP, the party, now being led by the Kwakwasiyya, is yet to anoint an individual.

The most rumored contender, Alhaji Rabiu Sulaiman Bichi, a former SSG, is now the interim chairman of the party in the state.

More so, it is also rumored that the former deputy governor Dr Hafiz might also be the anointed candidate for the party.

Other popular persons include Alh Salisu Sagir Takai and Alh Aminu Dabo.

Sources close to the party informed Vanguard that the anointed candidate of the party might be made public next week.

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