By Charles Agwam, Bauchi
The two major political parties in Bauchi State, All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP have their work cut out for them ahead of the governorship election.
Despite being the incumbent party in power, the APC which is fielding Governor Mohammed Abubakar as its candidate is challenged by internal discord with several party stakeholders still embittered over the process that threw up the governor as candidate.
The PDP which had a relatively peaceful governorship primary that produced the erstwhile minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed as candidate also has its own challenge; the bitterness some associate with 16 years of the party’s rule at the federal level.
Dr. Ali Pate and Dr. Ibrahim Lamai, who contested with the governor passed a vote of no confidence on the Election Committee from the party’s headquarters in Abuja.
They alleged that the governor, in connivance with the state executive compromised the process and that security agencies were used to intimidate members of the party with opposing views.
Even before Governor Abubakar emerged as the candidate, the two men, Lame and Pate in a joint resolution dismissed the process that enthroned him as the candidate of the party.
Indeed, they at that time called on their supporters to boycott the exercise given what they claimed as the compromise of the process. So, though the governor emerged as the candidate, his capacity to win the election turned into an issue for stakeholders given the many challenges he has had with many of them in the state.
It was perhaps in recognition of this that the governor hosted a reconciliation meeting shortly after the primaries, but it ended in a deadlock.
The PDP candidate, Senator Bala Mohammed on his part has a hard nut to crack considering the past perceptions about the PDP and the Buhari-factor in Bauchi and other northern states. However, there is a growing feeling that the Buhari factor has been seriously degraded over the last three years
Mohammed clearly is not leaving anything to chance as he is cashing in on the weakness of APC as he recently inaugurated a committee to woo aggrieved members of the APC to his side.
The former Minister while inaugurating the committee charged them to live up to the task.
“I hereby charge you to reconcile all the aggrieved party members who contested against the governor during their party’s primaries.
“Let them know that our party is open to all, and is willing to take anybody who has the best interest of the people of Bauchi at heart,” he said.
“I pray to God in his infinite mercy to give you the strength and courage to do this wonderful task ahead,” the former Minister added.
But how the former Minister will achieve his goal will depend on the capacity of the committee to deliver and the willingness of the aggrieved members of APC to leave their party which they help found.