Although 2019 appears far, politicians in Nasarawa state especially those who have their eyes fixed on the guber seat, have started covert moves aimed at having a shot on the number one seat in the state, MUAZU ELAZEH, reports
Unarguably, political activities have picked up in Nasarawa state with scores of politicians engaged in what could mildly be described as haywire meetings aimed at making consultations, building alignments and seeking frontiers with which they could realize their ambition come 2019 when the nation hope to hold another round of elections.
Already, different groups and association are said to be engaging in what analysts described as extensive meetings most of which are taking place within and outside the state.
But while the meetings continues, one thing that has continued to dominate discussions is the consultations over who will succeed the incumbent governor Umaru Tanko Almakura, widely referred to as TA’AL, an acronym for his name (Tanko Almakura), who is serving his second and constitutionally ordered final term.
Indeed, the talk of who should succeed TA’AL has been subjected to different factors including sectional, tribal and religion considerations, the trio of which are the dominant and often recurring features of the politics of Nasarawa state.
It was gathered that hotels and residential houses of some notable politicians in Lafia, Akwanga and Keffi, have continued to serve as venues for the meetings most of which are held at nocturnal hours.
…chronicling power equation in the state
To understand the current struggle over who succeeds the incumbent governor in the face of the dynamics of the politics of Nasarawa state which has been overtaken by three factors of ethnicity, religion and section, it is necessary to recall the fact that from the dawn of the current democratic dispensation, the state has had three governors.
From 1999 to 2003, the state was governed by Abdullahi Adamu who has the privileged of being voted twice as he spent eight years. Adamu is from the Nasarawa West senatorial district of the state often referred to as the Keffi zone.
After eight year rule, a rule characterized by mixed feelings depending on the prism with which one viewed him, Adamu handed over power to Aliyu Akwe Doma who is from Doma local government area of the state in the southern senatorial zone.
Adamu’s eight year rule which was seen largely by many as an opportunity for the western senatorial district of the state, was largely a tenure characterized by little to show in terms of development for the state. Lafia the state capital never witnessed any facelift befitting of its status through the eight year rule of Adamu who is currently a member of the upper chambers of the national assembly.
Even though he hailed from Keffi local government area and holds the traditional title of Sarkin Yakin Keffi, Adamu’eight year tenure saw very little infrastructural development for the ancient city of Keffi.
Of course he was succeeded by Aliyu Akwe Doma, seen largely as an elder statesman who was one of the leading lights and arrow heads of the movement for the creation of the state.
Despite being in the forefront for the creation of the state, a factor that made many to assume he knows the real problems of the state, Doma spent eight years as governor with nothing tangible to show in terms of infrastructural development.
Perhaps because he came at a time that the issue in vogue was “point agenda’ with the famous 7-point agenda of then president Yar’Adua, Doma enunciated an ambitious 13-point agenda which covers all the areas of concerns to the people of the state but unfortunately, throughout his four year rule, nothing tangible was achieved from the 13-point agenda.
Little wonder therefore that he lost when he sought to be re-elected. He was of course defeated by the incumbent Governor, Almakura, who hails from Kwandere village of Lafia council area, from the southern senatorial district of the state.
From the dawn of the current democratic dispensation, the northern senatorial zone which is made up of the council areas of Akwanga, Wamba and Nassarawa Eggon, has continued to produce occupant of the deputy governor’s seat.
So far, from 1999 to date, the three council areas of Nassarawa Eggon, Wamba and Akwanga which made up the northern senatorial zone has produced deputy governors who comprised of Solomon Ewuga, Professor Onjeh Gewado, Labaran Maku, Mike Abdul, Damishi Luka and now Silas Ali Agara.
…agitation for power shift continues
It is against the backdrop of the fact that the northern zone of the state is yet to produce an occupant of to the number one seat that the voice of the zone has continually been heard over agitation for power shift.
One fact which cannot be easily wished away is the fact that the agitation for power shift has been a recurring one hence it featured prominently in the build up to most elections beginning from the 2003 election.
As a matter of fact, the agitation gained more prominence in the build up to 2015 election where some renegades who pride themselves as ombatse, terrorized residence of the state and insisted that unless power shift, and an eggon man is elected governor, they would make the state ungovernable.
Although circumstances surrounding the crisis that engulfed the state following the mindless attacks and killings by the now proscribed ombatse militia are still fresh to be forgotten, it is widely alleged that the struggle for power shift played dominant role in the emergence of the group.
But then of course, residents of the zone, especially their political class, have been unrelenting in their clamour for power shift. As we draw closer to 2019 and as politicians engage in subtle struggle for power, the tones from their voices are getting louder by the day.
Already in the zone, names like those of former minister of information, Labaran Maku who is from Nassarawa Eggon and a member of the opposition APGA, Suleiman Nagogo, a prince from Wamba local government and a member of the ruling APC who retired as a director in the federal ministry of transport, and, others like those of Solomon Ewuga of the opposition PDP, have continued to receive wide mention.
Other persons from the nasarawa north zone said to be nursing the ambition to govern the state and are clamouring for power shift included the north central zonal vice chairman of APC, Zakari Idde, Halilu Envuluanza of the national judicial commission and, Dauda Shuaibu Kigbu, a retired perm sec.
As a matter of fact, posters and bill boards of Nagogo are already been pasted in strategic location while the likes of Labaran Maku and Solomon Ewuga both of whom had sought effortlessly, to govern the state but were variously defeated in the past, are said to be making ‘wide consultations’.
Advocates of power shift especially some hush voices from the zone insisted that since both the southern and western senatorial zones of the state have produced occupants of the seat, the time was ripe and it’s only proper, for the power to shift to the northern zone which is yet to taste the seat.
“The northern zone is being treated in an unfortunate manner as the Tivs are treating the Idoma’s in Benue state, as the then upper Plateau treated the area that made up the present Nasarawa state. This is not fair and all voice of reason must join the clamour for power to shift to the zone come 2019”, a youth leader, Musa Abdullahi said.
However, a youth leader from Nassarawa Eggon, Dominic Agbalaga told our reporter that those clamouring for power shift are lazy politicians as according to him, the struggle should centre on winning support across the state and not “merely asking for power on the basis that we have not provide an occupant of the number one seat”
“I get agitated whenever I hear someone talking about power shift. No let’s build bridges, seek support and pray for a level playing ground so that we can assume power like every other person not on the basis of a sentiment called power shift” he enthused.
… consultation widens
But even as the advocates of power shift continue to demand it, politicians across the state are making wide consultations. Again, scores have continue to describe as frivolous, baseless and unfounded, the clamour for power shift to the northern zone.
In an interview recently, an aide of governor Almakura, Engr. Mohammed Wada Yahaya said “am also aware that, there is agitation by the people of the western zone to occupy the position on the basis of the fact that, they are more populous with good hands and have 5 local governments against the Northern zone with only 3 local governments”.
Wada who hails from Keffi, declared emphatically that the western zone will produce Almakura’s successor.
Already, names that included those of Jaafaru Mohammed Ibrahim, member representing Toto/Nasarawa federal constituency, former House of Representatives member, Ahmed Wadada, former minister and university don, Dr Hassan Lawal and retired General Ahmed Abdullahi Aboki, are being tipped as persons who have reportedly indicated interest. All of them are of the ruling APC.
Perhaps for reasons best known to them including the fact that the party appears to be in disarray, no serious person has indicated interest from the fold of the opposition PDP. Politics watchers said members of the opposition PDP are skeptical of their party’s chances more so that the agitations for merger is still being heard, hence their decisions to tarry a while.
Unconfirmed report said the APC member representing Toto/Nasarawa federal constituency is being tipped for the plum job by former governor Abdullahi Adamu who has reportedly pledged to do all he can to ensure that the lawmaker clinch not just the APC guber ticket but emerge as the next governor of the state.
A source told our correspondent that former governor Adamu “is mentoring the member representing Toto/Nasarawa and has advised him to start consultations immediately”.
Among those who are tipped to be eyeing the seat is the former Nasarawa Reps member, Ahmed Wadada who recently dumped PDP for APC, allegedly in a bid to realize his long held ambition to govern the state.
Wadada, who served two terms under the platform of PDP from 2003 to 2011, recently joined APC and was received by the APC chairman of his Tudun Kofa ward, Tanko Sodangi, in Keffi town of Keffi Local Government area of the state.
Speaking shortly after his defection, Wadada said he decided to join the APC as a result of the disunity in his former party and the concern he had for his people. “What made me to leave PDP is the concern for my people and lack of unity in PDP; PDP is not united, hence the need for me to dump PDP for APC,” he said.
But even before Wadada made public his decision to part ways with the PDP, rumours were rife that he was ditching his party of long years for the ruling APC so as to seek the guber seat.
…southern zone appears silent, perfecting its moves
Understandably, APC politicians from the Southern senatorial zones, the zone which has upper hand as far as governing the state is concerned, appears to be silent. Interestingly, even those of the opposition PDP from the zone have been silent as none has overtly indicated interest on vying for the coveted seat yet.
By the end of Almakura’s tenure in 2019, the southern zone which comprises Obi, Awe, Doma, Lafia and Keana local government areas, would have produced two occupants of the seat who have jointly ruled the state for twelve years.
Pundits said it’s only proper for the zone to watch rather than insist on joining the guber race.
Whether the call will be hearkened or not, only time will tell.
But what appears certain is the fact that in Nasarawa state, the politicians, especially those from the APC flock, are absorbed in the struggle to succeed Governor Tanko Almakura.