Vanguard (Lagos)

27 January 2011

Nigeria: 2011 - Gaidam, Albishir Rekindle ANPP-PDP Rivalry in Yobe

GOVERNOR Ibrahim Gaidam, initially was not among the top contenders for the top job in Yobe State on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

When the struggle for succession to former Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim, now a senator, began at the tail end of Ibrahim's tenure in 2007, Gaidam was not among the contenders. In fact it could be safe to say that the former permanent secretary was not envisaging the role of Yobe chief executive that he currently finds himself playing.

The major contenders then were Sen Usman Albishir and the late Sen Mamman Ali, who eventually became the governor.

The race for the ANPP ticket then keenly contested. Albishir was said to have won but the ANPP leadership later dropped his name and nominated Sen Ali for reasons best known to the party.

This development did not go down well with Albishir, who fought and lost a long legal battle for the ticket.

For the polls proper, Ali picked Gaidam as his running mate. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Action Congress (AC) and other political parties mounted a challenge but the people of Yobe State voted for the ANPP.

When Ali died in office, the constitutional provision which stipulates that an incumbent deputy should assume office came into play, Gaidam then became the chief executive and he has been leading Yobe State ever since.

Now, the interesting scenario playing out in Yobe again is that Sen Albishir, who had defected to the PDP following his series of legal losses at the courts is now back in the race. He won the PDP Yobe guber ticket after beating Adamu Maina Waziri, a former minister of Police Affairs. So, he would be slugging it out at the polls with Governor Gaidam , who has so far proved himself as an astute administrator and a good manager of men and resources.

Albishir, the two-time senator from Nguru is an astute politician in his own right and surely his emergence as the PDP flag bearer is said to be giving Governor Gaidam some sleepless nights.

As the April Governorship elections draw nearer, the people of Yobe State, the leading candidates are perfecting strategies to outwit each other at the polls. It is to be seen who the Yobe electorate will cast their lots with.

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