A Keen Pri­mary

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - POLITICS -

De­spite all his in­tim­i­dat­ing cre­den­tials and back­ground, Datti polled only five votes. This showed that win­ning elec­tion in Nige­ria is still far from be­ing an in­tel­lec­tual ex­er­cise or a mat­ter of how young or sound one is. It is all about hav­ing a heavy fi­nan­cial warch­est and po­lit­i­cal struc­tures es­pe­cially at the grass­roots.

Mark’s en­try into the pres­i­den­tial race was like an af­ter­thought. Just like Saraki, he joined the race late and has lit­tle chance to cam­paign far and wide. Un­like his co-as­pi­rants from North­cen­tral, Saraki and Jang, Mark never bought into the idea that it was the turn of his geopo­lit­i­cal zone to pro­duce pres­i­dent.

His po­si­tion was that the re­gion does mat­ter so far it is one Nige­ria and one peo­ple. This cam­paign slo­gan did not garner votes for him at the con­ven­tion as he polled a pal­try 35 votes.

Mark’s per­for­mance at the con­ven­tion showed that he lacks po­lit­i­cal fol­low­ing across the coun­try, even af­ter be­ing the long­est serv­ing se­na­tor and the long­est serv­ing Se­nate Pres­i­dent in Nige­ria since 1999. Hence­forth, it should be known that Mark is not as pop­u­lar as he may want, rather he has able to latch on op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­main po­lit­i­cally rel­e­vant since the re­turn of democ­racy in the coun­try.

The Kebbi-born renowned lawyer was not a heavy­weight politi­cian be­fore now. He was more of a pro­fes­sional, un­til his ap­point­ment as Min­is­ter of Spe­cial Du­ties dur­ing Good­luck Jonathan’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

He banked on the sup­port of the ex-min­is­ters, es­pe­cially those who served with him in Jonathan gov­ern­ment. He was touted to have en­joyed the bless­ings and sup­port of Jonathan and re­tired gen­er­als, but Atiku’s en­try into the race changed the equa­tion for him.

His per­for­mance was not a sur­prise to any­body, con­sid­er­ing that he was not among the favourite con­tenders for the ticket. He was among those as­pi­rants Wike re­ferred as APC moles in PDP, per­haps, be­cause of the pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship be­tween him and the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who cut been nurs­ing pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion be­fore now.

It would be re­called that in 2015, he tried to con­test against the in­cum­bent, Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan for the party’s ticket, but was blocked by the party lead­er­ship, who gave Jonathan right of first re­fusal and made him a sole can­di­date.

Hang­ing on his neck is the case of al­leged fraud by Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC). It was one thing, apart from lim­ited ed­u­ca­tion that ob­servers be­lieved worked against his in­ter­est. Be­sides, there were too many pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rants from North­west re­gion, which brought about split­ting of votes among them.

Ba­farawa is an ex-gov­er­nor of Sokoto State and a foun­da­tion mem­ber of the de­funct All Nige­rian Peo­ples Party

(ANPP). He was among those who worked for the suc­cess­ful merger of the ma­jor op­po­si­tion par­ties to form All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) in 2015. He left APC to PDP be­fore the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions, fol­low­ing the de­fec­tion of his suc­ces­sor, Aliyu Wam­mako to APC and the party lead­er­ship’s direc­tive, mak­ing Wam­mako the party leader in the state. That was how Ba­farawa joined PDP at twi­light of Jonathan’s ad­min­is­tra­tion. De­spite his de­fec­tion, APC won the gov­er­nor­ship and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Sokoto in 2015.

Be­fore join­ing the race for the PDP pres­i­den­tial ticket, Ba­farawa was dis­charged and ac­quit­ted of fraud charges lev­eled against him by the EFCC. Many be­lieved he joined the race to pose an ob­sta­cle to Tam­buwal’s am­bi­tion. Tam­buwal was at a time, Ba­farawa’s god­son be­fore they fell apart af­ter 2007 elec­tions. Since then, they have been on dif­fer­ent pages po­lit­i­cally.

With Tam­buwal’s de­fec­tion to PDP again, it is to be seen how both will work to­gether, hav­ing lost the pres­i­den­tial ticket. Ba­farawa’s per­for­mance dur­ing the pri­maries was not a sur­prise, be­cause he was not among the top con­tenders. Be­sides, he lacks the fi­nan­cial where­withal to pros­e­cute a se­ri­ous cam­paign, hav-

Dankwambo is the out­go­ing gov­er­nor of Gombe State and es­tranged god­son of his pre­de­ces­sor, Se­na­tor Dan­juma Goje. He was among the favourite con­tenders in the be­gin­ning of the race.

At a time, it was ru­moured that his col­leagues would adopt him as their con­sen­sus can­di­date for the ticket. But along the line, the whole noise about him fiz­zled out and Dankwambo’s chances be­gan to dim. That was why few days to the con­ven­tion, he was not counted among the fron­trun­ners. Now that he has lost the pres­i­den­tial ticket, he can pick the sen­a­to­rial ticket of Se­na­tor Bayero Nafada, who is the PDP gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date in the State.

Makarfi, an ex-gov­er­nor of Kaduna State and Se­na­tor was also ex- Na­tional Chair­man Care­taker Com­mit­tee of the PDP at the peak of pro­tracted lead­er­ship cri­sis that rocked the party. It was al­leged that the gov­er­nors had promised him the party’s pres­i­den­tial ticket for stand­ing firm dur­ing the lead­er­ship cri­sis.

But just like ev­ery other po­lit­i­cal prom­ise or agree­ment that was never cast in stone, the PDP gov­er­nors’ fail­ure to reach agree­ment on a con­sen­sus can­di­date af­fected Makarfi’s chances. Even at that, it was dis­ap­point­ing that when the gov­er­nors tried to agree on con­sen­sus can­di­date, Makarfi was not an op­tion. It was as if Makarfi was used to res­cue the party and his place in his­tory can­not be de­nied.

Kwankwaso was one of the as­pi­rants whose per­for­mance in the con­test sur­prised many peo­ple, con­sid­er­ing his seem­ing pop­u­lar­ity at the grass­roots. His Kwak­wan­siya move­ment has be­come a house­hold po­lit­i­cal group across the coun­try with red cap as their trade­mark.

The ba­sis of Kwankwaso’s cam­paign was that the North­west re­gion has the high­est num­ber of votes and should be al­lowed to pro­duce a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date that can match Buhari’s pop­u­lar­ity in the re­gion. But the sen­ti­ment did not sway votes in his favour. Be­sides, the North­west zone has the high­est num­ber of pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rants. Other fac­tors that worked against Kwankwaso were his per­ceived ir­re­den­tism, fa­nati­cism and ar­ro­gance, cou­pled with his fail­ure to work with Ibrahim Shek­erau and the im­po­si­tion of his son-in-law and ex­com­mis­sioner, Abba Kabir Yusuf as the PDP gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date in Kano State.

Ac­cord­ing one of Kwankwaso’s strong sup­port­ers, Mal­lam Buba Gal­adimma, the al­leged sup­port and en­dorse­ment of Atiku by the re­tired mil­i­tary gen­er­als in Port Har­court by the ap­pear­ance of Ma­jor Gen­eral Aliyu Gusua (rtd) at con­ven­tion venue af­fected Kwankwaso’s chance. But some po­lit­i­cal ob­servers are of the opin­ion that some of the as­pi­rants, in­clud­ing Kwankwaso and Tam­buwal were over­rated be­fore the con­ven­tion.






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