Yobe Zone A: How Bukar, Gaidam would slug it out for Se­nate

Sunday Trust - - ANALYSIS | INSIDE POLITICS -

From Hamisu Kabir Matazu, Da­maturu

As the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions draw nearer, po­lit­i­cal per­mu­ta­tions in­di­cate that the race for Se­nate in Yobe Zone A would be a sub­ject of se­ri­ous con­test.

A for­mer gov­er­nor of the state, now a sen­a­tor, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, has vowed that he would de­fend his seat till death do them apart.

It is the same seat the in­cum­bent gov­er­nor of the state, Al­haji Ibrahim Gaidam may likely seek be­cause the two are from the same sen­a­to­rial district.

The move for the change of guard should or­di­nar­ily come from the ac­tion of Gov­er­nor Gaidam, who has so far re­fused to make for­mal an­nounce­ment of his in­ten­tion to con­test against Bukar.

But his per­sis­tent at­tacks on the per­son­al­ity and char­ac­ter of who he called “Abuja-based politi­cians” or “elec­tion-time-politi­cians” shows how pre­pared he is to slug it out with Bukar for the Red Cham­ber in his sen­a­to­rial district and prob­a­bly sup­port some of his loy­al­ists to go for the seats of oth­ers.

Gov­er­nor Gaidam had, while re­ceiv­ing Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) de­fec­tors at the Gov­ern­ment House in Da­maturu re­cently, said, “My be­com­ing gov­er­nor is not by my power or the mak­ing of any other hu­man be­ing. It’s des­tiny be­cause some­body said I would not even be a coun­cil­lor in Yobe. To­day, God has made me the gov­er­nor, who knows where I will be to­mor­row?” He asked, rhetor­i­cally.

Some an­a­lysts con­cluded at the time that Gov­er­nor Gaidam was in­di­rectly mak­ing ref­er­ence to his scut­tled Se­nate am­bi­tion in 2003, when the ticket was given to his ri­val, a proxy can­di­date planted by Gov­er­nor Gaidam, who was then a gov­er­nor.

Bukar was serv­ing his third term in of­fice as gov­er­nor at the time. It was from there that he left for the Se­nate.

Gaidam’s state­ment, “Who knows where I will be to­mor­row?” was also in­ter­preted by same an­a­lysts as tac­itly pre­par­ing him­self to grab his scut­tled Se­nate am­bi­tion.

The whole un­der­ground moves came to the fore when Sen­a­tor Bukar was also quoted as say­ing at the Se­nate cham­bers dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of Nige­ria’s 57th In­de­pen­dence an­niver­sary, that he would be a sen­a­tor for life.

“I will stay in the Se­nate un­til death do us part. Ev­ery­body tells me that I’m sen­a­tor for life. I’m go­ing to be in the Se­nate for life...,” he said.

Some mem­bers of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) are of the be­lief that the cold war be­tween Bukar and Gaidam might cause in­cal­cu­la­ble for the APC.

“They are both strong; Bukar had served as gov­er­nor for 10 years. And by sheer prov­i­dence, by 2019, Gaidam would also be round­ing off his 10 years as gov­er­nor,” an APC chief­tain in Da­maturu, who does not want to be named be­cause of the sen­si­tive na­ture of the is­sue, said.

He said since its cre­ation, Yobe had re­mained an op­po­si­tion state, and so far, Bukar and Gaidam are the fron­trun­ners, house­hold names in the po­lit­i­cal equa­tion in the state.

“So, it’s bet­ter to set­tle this scores am­i­ca­bly for the party to hold its grip in the state. The PDP peo­ple are look­ing cu­ri­ously to take ad­van­tage of any un­healthy sit­u­a­tion,” an­other chief­tain said.

“Sen. Bukar is ‘the fa­ther of Yobe pol­i­tics’ while Gov­er­nor Gaidam is ‘the APC bridge builder’ who helped the party to ac­tu­alise its merger and de­feated the PDP to form the na­tional gov­ern­ment.

“They both have sup­port­ers, cronies and loy­al­ists that can con­vey real im­pres­sion of po­lit­i­cal su­pe­ri­or­ity, and in the long run, de­stroy the party,” he added. Strength and weak­ness Sen­a­tor Bukar He had served as Yobe gov­er­nor three times be­fore he went to the Se­nate in 2007. He was re-elected in 2011 and now serv­ing his third term as sen­a­tor af­ter be­ing re-elected in 2015.

He is one of the most ex­pe­ri­enced politi­cians with large fol­low­er­ship in the state. He has a solid po­lit­i­cal struc­ture, with a lot of ded­i­cated sup­port­ers that move with him in thick and thin.

Bukar never hides his am­bi­tion, and his abil­ity to main­tain and win con­tests in op­po­si­tion party ever since he took pol­i­tics as a ca­reer might prove his abil­ity to fight and re­tain his sen­a­to­rial ticket.

But con­sid­er­ing the time he has so far spent out of gov­er­nor’s of­fice, many from his foot sol­diers and strong sup­port­ers might have shifted loy­alty to Gov­er­nor Gaidam.

There­fore, an­a­lysts are of the opin­ion that it may be dif­fi­cult for Bukar to fly the APC ticket with­out sup­port from party of­fi­cials and del­e­gates, who are un­doubt­edly loyal to Gov­er­nor Gaidam.

How­ever, what is not cer­tain is whether Bukar would re­main in the APC or move to an­other party to de­fend the seat, in the event the pen­du­lum swings in favour of Gov­er­nor Gaidam. Gov­er­nor Gaidam He is an­other man that has a long stint as gov­er­nor.

As deputy gov­er­nor, he com­pleted the re­main­ing two years of his late boss, Sen­a­tor Mam­man Ali.

Gaidam con­tested on his own in 2011, and is cur­rently round­ing off his sec­ond term in the ex­alted of­fice.

His out­stand­ing per­for­mance in in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, with fo­cus on road net­work, wa­ter sup­ply and health care de­liv­ery, has An­a­lysts are of the be­lief that chal­leng­ing a pop­u­lar and po­lit­i­cally skil­ful Bukar needs a lot of po­lit­i­cal en­ergy. How­ever, the in­cum­bency fac­tor is ex­pected to work in Gaidam’s favour, mainly be­cause party del­e­gates, of­fi­cials and lo­cal coun­cil chair­men are all at his ser­vice en­deared him to the peo­ple.

Re­cently, the gov­er­nor spent most of his time clos­ing ranks and pulling strong politi­cians across the po­lit­i­cal par­ties into the APC to help him give a good fight.

But an­a­lysts are of the be­lief that chal­leng­ing a pop­u­lar and po­lit­i­cally skil­ful Bukar needs a lot of po­lit­i­cal en­ergy. How­ever, the in­cum­bency fac­tor is ex­pected to work in Gaidam’s favour, mainly be­cause party del­e­gates, of­fi­cials and lo­cal coun­cil chair­men are all at his ser­vice.

But hav­ing ex­hausted his ten­ure in of­fice, many an­a­lysts have ex­pressed fear of betrayal by some of his foot sol­diers that are still loyal to the Bukar.

Un­doubt­edly, the con­test be­tween the two glad­i­a­tors will go a long way in de­ter­min­ing their fates and that of the APC in the up­com­ing gen­eral elec­tions.

Sen­a­tor Bukar had, in an in­ter­view with Daily Trust some­time ago, said he would not con­test elec­tion with Gov­er­nor Gaidam, whom he de­scribed as his brother.

“If Gaidam wants to be­came sen­a­tor, he should take it, it’s all his. I will not con­test elec­tion with him,” he said.

But his lat­est out­burst at the Red Cham­ber has left no one in doubt that all is not well be­tween him and his “brother.” Po­lit­i­cal ob­servers are watch­ing to see how the con­test will end.

Yobe State Gov­er­nor, Al­haji Ibrahim Gaidam

Sen­a­tor Bukar Abba Ibrahim

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