As the 2019 general election gathers momentum, the expectations of the electorate is to have a trustworthy governorship contender who would eventually emerge victorious to give them the real dividends of democracy.
So far in Bauchi State, many governorship hopefuls that cut across parties have sprang up including the incumbent governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, with their posters positioned at strategic areas for their supporters to make assessments.
Hon Murtala Abubakar, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) youth leader in the state told The Daily Times Correspondent that so far, about three contenders have officially indicated their interest for the governorship position on the party’s platform in the state.
Abubakar, however, added that others may follow, as according to him, PDP is a party that respects the aspirations of all its members.
“We have credible candidates that has indicated interest now and we are hoping for more to come because now at hand we have three credible candidates in the wagon, those we know that they have experience, they have verse experience in leadership, in every aspect of leading the state. These three candidates have verse experience in leadership and have held many leadership positions and we have seen their achievements,” the youth leader attested.
He named the three aspirants to include Senator Abdul Ningi from the central zone of the state, former FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed from the Bauchi south senatorial zone and Senator Adamu Ibrahim Gumba, who is also a former senator, Bauchi south senatorial district.
The State PDP youth leader said the three aspiring candidates have performed creditably well in all areas of their assignments in the past.
“Bala Mohammed was our senator here in Bauchi south senatorial district, he won the seat and he performed well towards the development of the state and the country at large. And when he was appointed the FCT minister by the then President Goodluck Jonathan, you yourself you saw how he transformed the FCT to the fastest growing city in Africa because of his efficiency in work and hardworking, his achievements are visible for everyone to see,” he stated.
He described the former FCT minister as an astute administrator who possessed the qualities to transform the state.
The second governorship hopeful who according to the PDP youth leader has shown interest for the Ramat House top position is Senator Ibrahim Adamu Gumba.
“Adamu Ibrahim Gumba was once a senator. When you look at his constituency projects, all seven local governments and all the electoral wards have witnessed one or two of his constituency projects. Not only that, he worked as a head of service here in Bauchi and the people of Bauchi saw his tremendous achievements,” he said.
On Senator Abdul Ningi, the PDP youth leader in the state said, “He worked for his constituency, which is the central zone. He was member House of Representatives for two or three terms, I think, he was the leader of the house. It is because of his good will and achievements that his people kept on reelecting him to that and they rose him up to the level of senator”.
He added that while at the Senate, Abdul Ningi held many committee chairmanship position including Senate committee on SURE-P, a programme that was designed to assist the youth realise their potentials by becoming self reliant. “So, in short, all the three candidates have worked towards the development of Bauchi state and the country at large,” he said.
Abubakar, who further stated that his party, PDP, will take the advantage of the poor performance of the APC-led administration in the state to take back power in 2019, added that even the internal wrangling in the APC is an attestation that they have failed the people of Bauchi State.
“The present administration has no plan to solve the problems of the people of this country now, they are now in dilemma, and they are in confusion thereby having no plan in developing this country because they were not prepared for leadership.
Even now you can see that those that are contesting for governor, they are more than five because they have seen that he has not perform credibly the way they are expecting, even within their own party, not to talk of other political parties.”, he explained.
Political pundits however believe that in all the PDP contestants for the Bauchi State Government House number one seat, former FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, stands a better chance to slug it out with governorship flag bearers from other political parties come 2019 going by his vast experience in the field of administration.
Checks revealed that so far, going by posters, several aspirants from the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) have indicated interest in the governorship seat including the incumbent governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, who is, going by his campaign posters seeking for re-election.
Although none of the APC governorship contenders have registered his intention officially at the party secretariat as revealed by an official in the party, but many believe that Governor Mohammed Abubakar who is the current governor in the state will enjoy the support of partymembers because of his laudable projects and programmes towards the development of the state.
“Since inception, the governor has embarked on quality health care delivery, payment of salaries as at when due, road projects in some parts of the state training of women and youth on various skills acquisition and many others”, a card carrying member in the APC said.
Adamu Audu, an APC supporter in the state, is of the view that the peace accord reached between APC federal lawmakers from the state, including the late Senator Ali Wakili, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and others will also pave way for the incumbent Governor Mohammed to get the party’s ticket without hitches.
No doubt, the battle for the seat of governor in Bauchi State will be a very difficult task for both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But observers believe that APC may face tough time, going by the political wrangling in the party, APC, among its strongest members who are also holders of elective offices.
Immediately after the 2015 general election, the state governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar had parted ways with some federal lawmakers from the state. This, according to observers, poses great challenge to the cohesiveness needed for the party to face the 2019 elections, particularly the governorship race.
Politicians who contested for governorship tickets in 2015 have been reportedly working either openly or underground to challenge Governor Abubakar in 2019.
Some of them, like the former Police Affairs minister, Yakubu Ibrahim Lame, retired Captain Bala Jibrin and ex- minister, Mohammed Ali Pate, have already indicated their interests to vie for the governorship ticket in 2019.
Moreover, the lawmakers are not immune to the political threats because, except for Yakubu Dogara who does not have a strong opponent in his Bogoro/TafawaBalewa/ Dass Federal Constituency, all the others, including the three senators may face challenges.
From opponents either in their party, the ruling APC or other opposition parties including the PDP that may present candidates with strong political and financial muscle to match their own.
Besides, PDP as the biggest opposition party in the state will also have its own share of challenges as the 2019 elections draws closer.
The Bauchi State chapter of the party almost disinte,grated immediately after the 2015 elections because of the strong rivalry between the camps of former Governor Isah Yuguda, former FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed and that of former governor and ex- national chairman of the party, Ahmed Mu’azu.
Former Governor Yuguda later left the party to join the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) where he was expected to run for the Bauchi South Senatorial seat to challenge Senator, late Ali Wakili who defeated him in 2019.
But Senator Ali Wakili’s death has totally changed the game altogether as Yuguda would now have to contest the seat along side a close ally of the late senator, Malam Aminu Tukur who is currently member representing Lere/Bula in the Bauchi State Assembly, Maryam Garba Bagel, member representing Dass constituency in the state Assembly amongst others who are seen as prospective contenders.
The exit of Yuguda left the stage for other strong PDP members like Bala Mohammed and Senator Abdul Ningi who are all desirous of contesting for the governorship ticket.
The growing political relevance being enjoyed by opposition parties like the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) People’s Democratic Movement (PDM)l; Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) and others will also pose a great challenge to both the ruling APC and the opposition PDP in the state.
Notwithstanding, what the ruling APC and the opposition PDP can do in the shortest possible time will determine whether or not it will be an easy ride for each of them and their candidates in the 2019 elections.
Although, at Speaker Dogara’s birthday held not long ago, there were signs of reconciliation between Governor Mohammed and some federal lawmakers who fell out with him shortly after the general election in 2015, but for many political observers, failure to genuinely reconcile members of the party ahead of the 2019 election may leave the party without focus to face the growing opposition within and outside, and that may spell doom for the party.
For the opposition PDP, it may be more epic as most of the forces within the party are not relenting to pursue their interests more than they did in 2015.
However, Engineer Faizu Abdullahi, a.k.a Malami, said the APC-led administration in the state does not deserve re-election as according him the party had failed the masses because they deliberately refused to fulfill their campaign promises in the last three years.
“I don’t think this party, the APC deserve any second chance, from the federal level down to ward levels, and they have been there for good three years with nothing to show. They have failed the electorate”, Malami fumed,” he said.
Some people are of the view that unseating Governor Mohammed may not be an easy task for any candidate, especially with the present political atmosphere in Bauchi where most of the opposition parties seems to be inactive.
Another political party to contend with in Bauchi State come 2019 is the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP.
A source at the party’s secretariat, who is the Sdmin Secretary, Mr. Joel Manji, revealed to our correspondent that about six aspirants have registered their ambition for the Bauchi State number one political position.
Manji said: “As far as our party is concerned, we are fully prepared to wrestle power from the current APC-led administration in the state. Let me tell you, if local government elections were to be held today in the state, NNPP will win all the 20 seats”.
He said former Senator Abubakar Maikafi, Mahmoud Maijamaa, Bala Gar and others have shown interest in contesting for governor in Bauchi.
Manji expressed optimisms that all the aspiring candidates on his party platform are tested and trusted persons because they have have occupied one political office or the other in the past and have performed very well.
The Daily Times observed that for now, the political atmosphere in the state is commendable as clashes between parties supporters have not been witnessed in the state. There are no cases of destruction of posters of political opponents as it used to be in the past.
Nevertheless, as the 2019 general election approaches so fast, only time can tell as to how fair politicians in the state will play the game.