31 March 2009

Nigeria: Battle Royale for Second Terms Govs' Seats


Lagos — There are five states in the country where their governors would be completing their second and final terms in 2011. They are Ogun, Gombe, Borno, Kano and Kwara. In these states, the battle over who takes over from the outgoing governors promise to be keen. Nosike Ogbuenyi, Hameed Shittu, Mike Olugbode, Segun Awofadeji, Jaiyeola Andrews and Ibrahim Shuaibu give state by state report

Kwara: Sarakis Are Undisputed Kingmakers

In Kwara State where Dr. Bukola Saraki is the outgoing governor, the race is very keen. It is taken as a fait accompli that whoever the Saraki clan, headed by septuagenarian Senator Abubakar Olusola Saraki, throws its awesome weight behind would carry the day. It is not gainsaying that the 2011 governorship race in Kwara state has commenced in earnest as various contenders in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state have been working underground to woo the power- that- be in the state for the plum position.

The political situation in the state is different from other states of the federation as the godfather of Kwara politics and former senate leader, Dr. Olusola Saraki remains a major factor in deciding who emerges as the sole candidate for the election. Even though he is not an active member of any political party but his "word" is final in Kwara politics.

Gbemisola Saraki- A chip of the old block

The daughter of the political icon, Senator Gbemisola Saraki is rumoured to be interested in the job but political pundits in the state believe that, the emergence of Senator Gbemisola Saraki may be very difficult considering the moral question and the Islamic point of view of the situation at hand now.

According to some stakeholders in the state, the Senator is a sister to the serving governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki and it will not be right for her to emerge again after her brother might have completed eight years in office as the governor of the state in year 2011.

In Islamic injunction, the Holy Quran, forbids women from occupying leadership position in the society, as some Islamic scholars in the state are already sending warning signals to her to stop her ambition of becoming the next governor of the state.

Hence, it will be a Herculean task for Senator Gemisola Saraki to occupy the number one position in the state after the exit of her brother who is currently the governor of the state.

Not only that, the senatorial district where she comes from, Kwara Central, would have produced the governor of the state for 12 years by the time the incumbent governor, Dr. Saraki might have completed his second term in office. The former governor, the late Muhammed Lawal also came from the same senatorial district and had ruled the state for four years from 1999 to 2003.

Abdulfatai Ahmed: A loyal servant

Another contender for the plum job is incumbent commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed. Alhaji Ahmed is said to be having a major backing of the state governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki because, he has remained a loyal and trusted personality that has been working with the state governor for almost six years now as the commissioner for Finance and Economic Development of the state. He has been in the Saraki cabinet since assumption office of Governor Saraki in 2003.

The commissioner who hails from Kwara South senatorial district of the state in a town called Share in Ifelodun local government council area of the state has been doing a lot of wonderful work for the Bukola administration especially in the area of policy formulation, finance management and developmental programmes and this was said to have endeared himself to the Saraki clan to stand him in good stead as the next governor of the state come 2011.

Ahmed remains the only commissioner under Saraki that has not been re-deployed since his appointment six years ago due to his wealth of experience in the banking industry and the way and manner he coordinates all the government finances.

A source close to the camp told THISDAY that, the governor was said to have been working round to ensure his full acceptance by the godfather of Kwara Politics and other stakeholders in the state. Source added that, the commissioner's name has been sent to all the political groups in the state with the hope of working for his emergence in the next elections in the state. Without mincing words, as things are now in the state, Ahmed remains the clear favourite for the top position.

Ogun State: Race is very Open as Daniel is Not in Firm Control

Though the 2011 governorship election is still two years away, but the question of who succeeds Governor Gbenga Daniel in Ogun State, has taken the front burner and has become a major issue in the state.

In the next two years, Daniel would have completed his second term tenure, except the tribunal decides otherwise as his victory at the 2007 election is still being challenged at the tribunal by the All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] governorship candidate, Senator

Ibikunle Amosun.

The race to the Oke Mosan Governor's Office in Abeokuta, in 2011, has pitched the West Senatorial district against the Central. The East senatorial district has been technically knocked out of the race, by virtue of fact that the incumbent, governor, Daniel is from that area.

The West has been canvassing that it should produce Daniel's successor come 2011 on the ground that, it has not produced the governor of the state since its creation 32 years ago. Stakeholders in the zone contend that the district has been playing the second fiddle of deputy governorship and was tired of that role. However, the Central Senatorial district, would not want to hear this line of argument by the West, as it is also claiming that the PDP hard marginalised the zone [Central] in the last 8 years, adding that in previous elections in the state, the race was thrown open and not zoned to any Senatorial district.

Gboyega Isiaka

Ogun State is presently ruled by the PDP, and one party member that may likely contest the governorship position from the West Senatorial district is Mr. Gboyega Isiaka, the Chairman of Gateway Holdings. Isiaka is being touted to have the support of Daniel. It is believed that the governor has been grooming Isiaka to replace him, and is doing so albeit discreetly.

Kola Bajomo

Senator Kola Bajomo who is also from the West district is also said to be eyeing the position come 2011. He is serving senator at the National Assembly representing Ogun West senatorial district. He is believed to be very loyal to the embattled governor.

Waliu Taiwo

The recently sacked Agriculture Commissioner, Waliu Taiwo also from the West District, is believed to be ready to take a shot at the position. He has positioned himself as an independent minded person and a possible favourite of Daniel's opponents if the consensus sails through that the next governor should come from the marginalized district.

Others from the West District

Unconfirmed sources also indicated that Mrs. Iyabo Apampa, commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Samuel, and host of others in PDP from the West, are gearing up for the Ogun governorship race come 2011.

Sarafa Tunji Isola

In the Central Senatorial district, the likes of former Minister of Mines and Steel development, Chief Sarafa Tunji Isola, a strong force in PDP, is being touted to be a strong contender for the post. He is strongly backed by some powerful forces in the party led by Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye, a Third Republic lawmaker. Kuye is believed to have a crony from Ijebu area that he wants to pair with Isola as his running mate. Isola was appointed Secretary to the State Government by Daniel in 2003. He was later appointed minister by Obasanjo after his relationship with Daniel became frosty.

Abayomi Majekodunmi

The Chief of Staff to the governor, Chief Abayomi Majekodunmi, is also said to be eyeing the plum position. He is among the few Egba politicians in the good books of Daniel. Analysts say he is being positioned as a possible fall back candidate by the governor in the event of the collapse of his current push for a candidate from Ogun West.

Femi Majekodunmi

Also strategising ahead 2011 in a bid to succeed Daniel in office, is Chief Femi Majekodunmi who is the Bagbile of Egbaland and one of the founding fathers of PDP in the state. He is an experienced politician from the Central district.

Dimeji Bankole

Governor Daniel's camp has consistently linked House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Dimeji Bankole with the governorship contest. He is allegedly working underground to perfect his chances to succeed Daniel come 2011. However, Bankole's camp has strenuously denied the claim saying nothing could be further from the truth.

Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello

The daughter of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello is yet another person said to be having governorship ambition. The incumbent chairman of Senate committee on health is from Ogun central. Again, sources close to Daniel's camp allege that her father is strongly backing her candidature. They allege that it was for this reason that he was opposed to the incumbent governor. If Daniel's plan to zone the seat to the West sails through, then the ambition of Obasanjo-Bello and others from the Central district would be gravely endangered. But checks by THISDAY revealed that Senator Obasanjo-Bello just like Bankole is swearing that she had no such ambition in 2011.

Kayode Soyinka

The Action Congress [AC] though not seriously on ground in the state, has Mr. Kayode Soyinka, a veterian journalist and publisher of African Today, a UK-based magazine, as one of its leading lights who may take a shot at the governorship position in 2011. He is from Central, and he contested in 2007, but lost at the party's primaries to Dipo Dina.

Ibikunle Amosun

Ogun All Ngeria Peoples Party [ANPP] is still challenging the victory of Daniel during the 2007 governorship election at the tribunal and until the final verdict, the party's candidature lies with Senator Ibikunle Amosun. But if the final verdict does not work in his favour, the party's governorship ticket may be automatic for him. He is from the Central District.

Kano State: Shekarau Holds the Ace in ANPP

In Kano State the race is keenest in the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). The greatest determining voice concerning who gets the ticket of the party is Governor Ibrahim Shekarau. Being a presidential hopeful, Governor Shekarau whom his tenure will end in 2011, is said to be not too fanatical about who his successor should be provided he comes from his party, the ANPP. But he is said to be insistent that the party presents a credible candidate that will match his (Shekarau's) credentials and effectively square up against the PDP at the poll. Here is a roll call of contenders on his party's platform.

Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo

The Deputy Governor of the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Tijjani Gwarzo has begun intense subterranean manoeuvres to ensure that he succeeds Governor Shekarau come 2011. there is however palpable fear in his camp concerning whether Governor Shekarau would give him power. The governor is said to be keen on anointing a candidate that would protect his legacies and his tracks. It is suspected that party members are not supportive of Gwarzo's ambition. However, he may likely part ways with Governor Shekarau if he fails to secure his nod, considering his attitude in politics. It was observed that the Deputy Governor might not be able to succeed Shekarau due to a lot of factors among which are inadequate exposure and lack of popular appeal in the state.

Kabiru Gaya

He was governor of the state during the Third Republic from 1991 to 1993. He is a popular politician in the state but it is feared that Shekarau may not back him due to his strong personality. He remains a top contender in the ANPP.

Mohammed Adamu Bello

Another formidable contender on the platform of ANPP is Senator Mohammad Adamu Bello. A lot has been said about the chances of Senator Bello because he seems to have all the qualities needed to be a governor. However one of Bello's problem is his relationship with the former presidential candidate of the party, General Muhammadu Buhari. Yet another drawback for him is that he hails from the same constituency with the present governor, Shekarau.

Farouk Lawan

One of the most notable contenders for the Kano governorship come 2011 under the PDP is Honourable Farouk Lawan, a third time member of the House of Representative. He represents Shanono/Bagwai constituency in the National Assembly. Hon. Lawan is considered as one of the most capable aspirants that may likely emerge as consensus candidate from the PDP.

Ibrahim Al-Amin

Another contender on the crest of PDP is Alhaji Ibrahim Al-Amin (aka Little). Just like Lawan, he is believed to have better chances in the party. He is seen as a dogged fighter and also a very humble politician who may clinch the party ticket considering his wide support base among the party faithful.

Abdullahi Umar Ganduje

Dr.Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is also interested in the governorship race. A lot of issues were raised against him which include his total loyalty to former Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. He was Dr. Kwankwaso's deputy.

Akilu Sani Indabawa

Another contender in the PDP is the special Assistant to President on political Affairs, Dr.Akilu Sani Indabawa. He is being considered as likely option even though he has not indicated any interest. What is also going for him is his aloofness in the crisis that has enveloped PDP in Kano as he is not openly taking side on the issue. Dr. Indabawa, being former national youth leader of the PDP, has widespread support from the youth, just like Alhaji Ibrahim Al-Amin whose appeal among the youth is legendary.

Gombe State: Goje is Insisting on a Totally Loyal Successor

In Gombe State, the undisputable kingmaker is Governor Mohammed Danjuma Goje who is a member of PDP. He became governor in 2003 and would complete his second and last tenure in 2011. Goje does not make secret of his determination to anoint his successor. For this reason, those whose ambition do not enjoy his support are being made to run the gauntlet. The state is virtually a one party state making the race for PDP governorship ticket very fierce. Below are those believed to be in the race.

Abdullahi Umar Idris

Barrister Abdullahi Umar Idris, a senator from Gombe central has since 2006 shown interest in the governorship seat before the PDP primaries in the state . Even though he rode on the popularity of Governor Muhammad Danjuma Goje to become senator in the 2007 general election, he's not adjudged a serious contender by many analysts in the state. His grassroots support base is suspect.

Ibrahim Dannkwambo

Alhaji Ibrahim Dannkwambo, the Accountant General of the Federation since 2004 has his eyes on the seat of the Government House, Gombe. One of his weaknesses is that he is not known to be a politician even though he is very generous and liked by the people. Anytime he is in town, his house is always a beehive of activities, like the politicians. But despite that, he is considered as Abuja politician.

Usman Bayero Nafada

Hon. Usman Bayero Nafada, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives is one time Speaker of the State House of Assembly and decampee of the ANPP. He is a politician of repute and is very popular in the state. He is relying on the political structure he has built over the years in the state. But he is believed not to be in good books of Governor Goje. It is not known why this is so as Nafada has been a friend of Goje who played key role in luring him to the PDP from the ANPP. And to forge ahead, he also needs existing government structure which political analysts believe may be an impediment. He is generous and has followership across the state.

Inuwa Yahaya

Inuwa Yahaya is from Gombe town and the current Commissioner of Finance in the state. Though an unknown politician, he has proved himself over the years having been commissioner of Finance in the state since 2003. He is thus seen as a trust worthy and reliable person. Yahaya is very quiet and calculating. So from all indications, if a government appointee will come out to aspire for the exalted office of governor of the state, he will definitely have the backing of government. Yahaya is one politician to watch especially with his close relationship with Goje who is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that a trustworthy and loyal person who will carry on with his legacy takes over from him.

Abubakar Habu Mu'azu

Alhaji Abubakar Habu Mu'azu,former youth leader of the PDP in the state is the only one so far that has publicly expressed his intention to vie for the gubernatorial seat under the PDP in 2011. He is presently having a soured relationship with Goje, his one time godfather. Watchers of Gombe politics are of the view that even though he exudes youthful exuberance, he has enough followership particularly among the youths across the state coupled with his skilss as a mobilizer that could make him to spring a surprise. He is believed to have the backing of some "powerful" politicians from the state who reside in the Federal Capital Territory and judging by the mammoth crowd that welcomed him to Gombe some analysts believed he cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand.

Aliyu Umar Modibbo

Dr. Aliyu Umar Modibbo, immediate past Minister of the FCT too is from Governor Goje's zone which has produced the state chief executive for two terms. He is more of an Abuja politician than Gombe. Even though, it was "remoured" that he has his eyes on the Government House seat, he has not declared publicly. Modibbo hardly comes home.

Tawa Umbi Wada

In Gombe South, apart from Senator Tawa Umbi Wada who has shown some interest (not public declaration anyway), no contender for now has expressed any intention and Senator Wada is not seen as a serious aspirant at all. He rode on the popularity of Governor Goje for his election victories in 2003 and 2007. He hardly comes home and even when he does, he hides himself, not attending many public functions. He is also a Christian minority.

Jamilu Gwamna

Alhaji Jamilu Gwamna, the defeated ANPP gubernatorial candidate in the 2007 general election recently decamped to PDP but is yet to tell the people of the state his intention for 2001.

Borno State: Sheriff is the Garrison Commander in ANPP

In Borno State, the battle is keenest in the ANPP which has been ruling the state since 1999, although there are also serious contenders in the PDP. With the ANPP whoever Governor Ali Modu Sheriff blesses would easily clinch the party's because his word has been law in the party since inception in the state. Within the Borno ANPP are the following contenders.

Kashim Shettima

Alhaji Kashim Shettima is currently on leave of absence with the Zenith Bank. He was appointed Commissioner for Finance by Sheriff in 2003. He is presently the Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs. It is rumoured that Governor Sheriff moved him to that portfolio to enable him get acquainted with local government and grassroots politics preparatory to the governorship race and governance proper. He is a Kanuri man from Borno Central Senatorial District.

Zubairu Maina Shani: If the agitation that Borno South Senatorial District should produce the next governor in 2011, then Maina Shani who is from Shani Local Government Area of Borno State would stand a bight chance. He has been with the Sheriff administration since 2003. He was once commissioner for Local Government Affairs. He was later appointed Commissioner for Health. He is believed to be very close with the Government.

Mohammed Imam

Alhaji Mohammed Imam was a former Chairman of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC). He later emerged the Chairman of ANPP in the state. In 2007, he was appointed Commissioner for Water Resources. He is the incumbent Commissioner for Education. He is rumoured to be having an affair with the governor's daughter, a factor that may put him in the range of a son in law of the out-going chief executive.

Maina Maaji Lawan

Senator Maina Maaji Lawan was a Third Republic governor of the state from 1991 to 1993. He was senator between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of PDP. He later decamped to ANPP after he failed to secure the PDP governorship ticket in 2003. He returned to Senate on the platform of the ANPP in 2007. He is from the Northern district of the state.

Kaka Mala Yali

Senator Kaka Mala Yali is the incumbent senator representing Borno Central. He was chairman of Konduga Local Government Area and former Commissioner for Education under Sheriff before his election to the Senate in 2007. There is doubt that the governor will support his candidature.

Alhaji Baba Ahmed Jidda

Alhaji Baba Ahmed Jidda like Senator Lawan is from the Northern district. He is a Shuwa by tribe and former Nigerian ambassador to Burkina Faso. He is the incumbent Secretary to the State Government. He contested the governorship in 1999 on the platform of PDP and lost to the ANPP candidate, late Alhaji Mala Kachala. He later decamped to ANPP. He believed to be a favourite for the ANPP ticket being a highly experienced politician.

Kashim Ibrahim Imam

The contenders on the platform of PDP include Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim Imam who contested on the platform of the party and lost consecutively in 2003 and 2007 to Sheriff. He was a former presidential Liaison Officer to the Senate between 1999 and 2003. He is urbane and educated. He is favoured to clinch the PDP again for a record third shot at the post. He is from the Central district.

Sanusi Daggash

Senator Sanusi Daggash is from the Northern district. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003 when he was elected to the Senate. He was the immediate past minister of National Planning.

Saidu Pinda

Ambassador Saidu Pinda is from the Southern district which has never produced a governor of the state. He was former ambassador to Sao Tome and Principe.

Abubakar Mahdi

Senator Abubakar Mahdi represented Borno South in the Senate in the Third Republic and between 1999 and 2003. He is a former Chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. His chances are said to be narrow as he is considered an outsider in PDP.

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