Kebbi 2015: Struggle for power shift thickens
The determination for power shift to Kebbi South senatorial zone in Kebbi State, is gradually gaining ground with over 15 aspirants jostling for endorsement by the committee set up to screen and pick an acceptable candidate for the zone.
The zone had set up an 18-man committee to screen aspirants and come up with a consensus candidate, in its bid to actualize the zone’s agitation for the governorship come 2015.The agitation was boosted with the reconciliation of warring elites from Zuru Emirate. The committee also got a boost with an increase in their number from 18 to 28, following the inclusion of 10 members from Yauri Emirate, after a recent harmonization visit to the emirate.
The zone has two emirate councils, Yauri and Zuru, and consist of seven local governments, namely, Danko/ Wasagu, Fakai, Sakaba, Zuru, Ngaski , Shanga and Yauri.
Parts of the mandate of the 28-man committee, among other criteria, is to produce a credible aspirant that will be accepted in the state so as to give the zone the opportunity to rule for the first time since the creation of the state.
The committee headed by Alhaji Wakkala Diri, had recently visited the Gwandu emirate to persuade it to relinquish power in the spirit of zoning. The committee also said it intends to visit Argungu emirate where it is believed to have already gained support.
Those in the race from the southern zone are: Zubairu Abdullahi Turaki, retired Major General Muhammadu DanHanne Isah, the incumbent deputy governor Ibrahim K.Aliyu, Bala Sakaba, Hussaini Adamu, Isyaku Daudu, Tanko Ayuba, Bala Ubadawaki (Member Fakai Constituency in the Kebbi State House of Assembly), Bala Na’Allah, Senator Muhammadu Magoro, Benjamine Dikki, Abdullahi Durumbu and a new entrant, Sadiq Sule Ikoh.
Out of this, 12 are from the Zuru Emirate, with only the incumbent deputy governor being backed by Yauri Emirate.
The jostle from the Zuru emirate is however, gradually narrowing down to two contenders in the PDP, namely: Zubairu Turaki and Gen Muhammadu Dan-Hanne Isah.
While Isah is said to be the favorite of the incumbent governor, Zubairu Turaki is believed to be enjoying the support of the grassroots who feel it is time for the old brigade to remain in the rear seat of leadership.
The stance to produce a new breed seems to have offended some supporters of Senator Ayuba in Sakaba Local Government and those of Senator Magoro in Fakai Local Goverment. Adamu Hussaini, though from Zuru Emirate, is considered by the other aspirants from Gwandu as a distraction.
Investigations revealed that, Zubairu Turaki , who currently works in the presidency, was initially skeptical when some elders approached him to run as governor as he was said to have suspected that it was a trap to set him against very influential politicians in the state.
Turaki, who expressed worry over the development, later succumbed to pressure and was prevailed upon to allow the youths to champion the cause. The youths took over the campaign in the social media, as well as by using placards and flyers to drum up support for the aspirant. An appeal fund was later raised by some prominent politicians and youth groups who produced his campaign posters and stickers pasting them in many towns in the state.
Sources in the state PDP said Zubairu’s emergence has rattled many main stream clique of the PDP, who are afraid of his emergence as they suspect he may be enjoying the backing of the presidency which had promoted emergence of new breeds in most states of the PDP controlled states. Sources also said he has won the support of 15 out of the 18 members of the committee from Zuru. The claim was however dismissed by some members of the committee who spoke to Daily Trust. The source disclosed that, three members of the committee have been investigated and disciplined for double standard. “We shall not spare any member who is discovered to be working against the interest of the zone,” the source said.
Zubairu’s emergence has also made those opposed to him in the party to issue directives to elected party members and party officers restricting members from engaging in campaign activities. The Zuru LG chairman of the PDP, Maikudi Sale, while confirming the directives said, “party executives will not be allowed to take sides or participate in committees of aspirants until the party has decided on who should be its flag bearer. The executives can interact with aspirants , but not to be involved in campaigns.”
During the second elders meeting in Zuru, Benjamine Dikki had publicly declared that he does not have the intention to be in the race, but said he is ready to support anybody who emerges from the zone.
Dikki’s position has confirmed stakeholders’ opinion in Zuru, who believe that he will be better off at his current position as the DG, BPE than to go into an ‘adventure’.
Both Turaki and General Isah and some others in the race have expressed readiness to accept any candidate who emerges after the screening. They promised to rally round and support the emerging candidate in the interest of the zone.
Close aides of Senator Magoro said the politician is taking his time to study the situation before he makes his position public. “Our past experience has taught us a lesson; nevertheless, we shall make our plans open very soon”, the aide said.
Among the Gwandu front liners are retired Gen Sarkin Yaki Bello, Abubakar Shetima Malam, Mansur Shehu Mansa (state chairman of the PDP) , Sen Atiku Bagudu, Kabiru Tanimu Danmasani. The other likely Gwandu group includes; Bashir Sarkin Yakin Koko, Saidu Sambawa, Sen Faruk Bunza, Bello Turakin Gwandu, Prof Tijjani Bande, Sadisu Nataro. While former deputy governor Suleiman Argungu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) may likely emerge from Argungu Emirate. Both Bala Sakaba and Sadiq Sule Ikoh are to emerge from Zuru Emirate. Sakaba is believed to have the backing of Senator Adamu Aliero who still has his grip in the APC in Kebbi.
APC is also battling with its internal party crisis that has created two factional interim committee chairmen in the state. The camp of Ali Bature is said to be enjoying the support of Muhammad Bawale and a certain female APC national officer. He was also alleged to have been planted by the Aliero group in order to continue to maintain relevance in the opposition, in case the table turns against them in the PDP.
The other factional interim committee chairman , Atiku Bunu, is however said to be enjoying the support of Alhaji Suleiman Argungu , the former deputy governor to Aliero. But Argungu has denied this saying the reason he is perceived to be supporting one of the camp was because he had at a time raised an issue against the other camp, “so that was when they drew that conclusion,” he added.
The APC crisis has led to the nullification of its recent ward congress election, where the national body insisted on consensus. The reason given was that, one of the faction conducted the congress on the 10th April, 2014 without INEC supervision, while the other faction that conducted its own on 11th April,2014 was supervised by INEC.
There is a lot of talk that Governor Saidu Dakingari may succumb to pressure even within his emirate to anoint an aspirant from Kebbi South, preferably from Zuru Emirate against his deputy , Aliyu from Yauri emirate.
Christians, Muslims and Traditional worshippers in Zuru emirate had recently organized a prayer vigil, determined to send signal that come 2015, they will not take anything short of the governorship slot. The Christian prayer warriors who stormed the Emir of Zuru’s palace was led by the zonal chairman of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN),Musa Magaji. The Muslim prayers led by the Zuru Chief Imam , Sheikh Hamza Balarabe was conducted at the Central mosque, while the traditional worshipers in the six district of Dabai chiefdomDabai,Ushe,Senchi,Rikoto, Rafin Zuru,Manga-converged outside the palace of the Dabai chief, Alhaji Isah Sami.
Sources say, attempt to suggest a Bello Sarkin Yaki/ Durunbu ticket was resisted by the people of Kebbi South, which now forced the Gwandu Emirate to hatch another attempt to test the ground for the current state PDP chairman, Mansur Mansa to test if the kite will fly. The move was considered dangerous, going by the role the chairman was said to have played to scuttle the chance of appointing Gen Bitrus Ushe as minister.