Dandija’s exit and the Bauchi guber race
Former secretary to the Bauchi State Government Barrister Ahmed Ibrahim Dandija, whose disengagement from public service was announced early this month, has added to the growing tension in Bauchi over who will get the nod of Governor Isa Yuguda to succeed him in 2015.
Dandija had worked closely with Governor Yuguda for close to eight years that nobody had thought he would be made to leave the administration he has been part of since 2007.
His disengagement early this month has, predictably, caused uproar among people in the state. While his opponents allege he was sacked due to disagreement with the governor, others say his removal was politically motivated and is part of an arrangement between Dandija and Yuguda to give the former a leeway to contest the governorship seat in 2015.
Observers of political events in the state believe that Dandija might have been asked to resign in order for him to have enough time to pursue his political ambition which many believe is to succeed Yuguda.
The speculation is bolstered by the fact that a fromer SSG in the state, Alhaji Nadada Umar, had towards the end of the Ahmadu Adamu Muazu administration, resigned to contest the Bauchi guber seat in 2007.
Chief press secretary to the Bauchi State Governor, Mr Ishola Michael Adeyemi, while explaining the circumstances that led to the resignation of the SSG insisted that the former SSG voluntarily resigned to pursue his future endeavor.
Adeyemi said Dandija resigned voluntarily and that there was no quarrel between him and the governor. “He just feels it’s time to go and he put down his resignation,” he stated.
The former SSG is believed to be one of those seeking to take over from Governor Yuguda, whose second and final term in office will lapse in May next year.
Dandija had been the SSG for nearly seven years and had been one of the close associates of the incumbent governor.
But there are those who believe that Dandija resigned not for political reasons, but to pursue his personal interests.
There are speculations that both the PDP national chairman and Governor Yuguda may support a candidate from Bauchi Central and that both of them may have settled for Dandija because of his amicable disposition.
Though the blessing of the governor is being sought by the likely contenders, analysts say the fact that Dandija’s name is openly being associated with the incumbent may affect his chances.
They say his exit from government at this time, if proven to be for the purpose of contesting election, will give the impression that he cannot stand for himself.
Though Yuguda seems to be keeping political actors in suspense over who succeeds him, it is expected that he may have a soft spot for one or two out of the many planning to succeed him. The governor has recently declared that he has no anointed candidate while the PDP national chairman on his part said the party will support only persons who win in primaries.
Insinuations that Yuguda was grooming the former SSG to succeed him so that the governor may move to the Senate by 2015, started early in the life of the Yuguda administration.
The intention it is said was so that the SSG will sustain the legacies of the Governor.
Some however say this calculation may have collapsed due to a rumored disagreement between the former SSG and his Yuguda. Their associates have however denied that saying there is no disagreement between the two.
As analysis on who will be the PDP flag bearer has centered around the former SSG, his chances have also been put on a scale.
Being from the Bauchi Central senatorial zone, the argument is that based on the PDP zoning arrangement, the next PDP governorship candidate should come either from Bauchi North or Bauchi Central Senatorial zone since Bauchi South would by 2015, complete 16 years on the seat.
Some wager that even if the guber slot is zoned to the Bauchi North or Central Senatorial district under the PDP zoning arrangement, the former SSG will not find it easy since there are dozens of aspirants from the two zones.
Other prominent politicians eying the seat from the zone include Deputy Senate Leader Abdul Ahmed Ningi, a close associate of the former SSG, Alhaji Abubakar Ahmed Garkuwan Misau, a one time ADC to Muazu, Ibrahim Makama, and Alhaji Nadada Umar.
Dandija it is obvious even at this stage, will face a tough battle if he decides to run as there are strong politicians like former SGF Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, his close ally Senator Baba Tela, National Chairman Tertiary Education fund TETFUND, Dr Musa Babayo, as well as former deputy governors, Senator Babayo Gamawa and Abdulmalik Mahmud and many others.
It is also not clear if people from Bauchi South will agree to leave the seat to Bauchi North or Bauchi Central to produce the next governor.
The FCT Minister Senator Bala Mohammed who is from the zone is believed to be seriously eyeing the seat and his posters are everywhere in the state. Zonal Publicity Secretary of PDP Al’amin Sani Muhammad, also from the zone is said to be interested.
There are rumours and that the newly appointed Chief of Staff to the governor, Abdulkadir Ibrahim may likely contest as well as the incumbent finance commissioner, Alhaji Mahmud Maijama’a. Both of them it is said, are expecting to get the nod of the governor before they finally come out.
Political analysts believe there are many hurdles before the former SSG and that even if Dandija becomes the choice of the state political leaders, they might find it difficult to convince many of the contestants to withdraw for him, as many of the aspirants have influence both at state and at the national levels as well as the resources to pursue their ambitions.
Still, a lot would depend on whether the man is actually interested in the seat.
Apart from the task of securing the PDP ticket, Dandija will also face dozens of aspirants from the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other parties like Senator Muhammad Nazif Gamawa, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, Engineer Nuhu Gidado, Engineer Sadiq Mahmud, Alhaji Sadiq Arabi and many others.