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