Litmus Test for a Governor Abdullahi Sule

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Prior to the election of Governor Abdullahi Sule as the fourth democratically elected governor of Nasarawa State in 2019, it was on record in the annals of Nasarawa State that since creation of the state in 1996, the northern senatorial zone, where Governor Sule hails from, had never governed the state; whereas the southern and western senatorial zones of the state have governed the state right from the inception of the present democratic dispensation.

However, a move by the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, in 2018 broke the jinx of political marginalization of the Northern Senatorial Zone of the state, which subsequently paved the way for Governor Sule to finally emerge victorious at the polls in 2019 as governor of the state. He had initially met a brick wall from some political gladiators from the Western Senatorial Zone of the state insisting that the seat of the governor of the state for the 2019 general election should be zoned to their western zone.

Despite the agitations from the Western Zone to have the governor’s seat back after governing the state for eight years, Ex-governor Al-Makura, like other governors in the county, remained resolute and consequently produced his successor, Abdullahi Sule, on the platform of his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 polls.

Therefore, following the death of a member of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Late Adamu Suleiman, who represented Nasarawa Central State Constituency, by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed August 8, 2020 for a bye-election to fill the vacuum. Here lies the task ahead of the governor to prove his worth.

Be that as it may, Governor Sule had met with APC stakeholders in Nasarawa Local Government Area for the nomination of the party’s flagbearer which paid off for a hitch free primaries of the APC, whereas the main opposition political party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on the other hand was engulfed in an internal crisis. However it was gathered  that the party had agreed on a consensus flagbearer for the August 8 bye-election.

Nevertheless, the APC selection process, in compliance with the instruction handed down by Governor Sule, produced Mr. Ismaila Ibrahim Danbaba as winner of the primary election. Danbaba polled a total votes of 106 to defeat his close rival, Hajiya Hajara Danyaro who scored 59 votes, with Jibrin Abdullahi coming behind with 37 votes, while Adamu Awaje got 1 vote in that order.

On the other hand, the main opposition political party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was engulfed in an internal crisis, also reached a similar consensus arrangement  to nominate Mr Nuhu Bage Bawa as its flagbearer to the August 8 bye-election.

Sadly, the PDP may be going to the polls for the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election with a divided house following a judgement by a state High Court sitting in Akwanga, the headquarters of Akwanga Local Government Area of the state, that annulled the congresses conducted by the PDP in the state.

Presiding Judge of the court, Justice Mustapha Rahamat, had annulled the PDP congresses while delivering judgement in the case brought before the court by some members of the party challenging the congresses held on March 21, 2020. The PDP Chairman of Akwanga Local Government, Alhaji Idris Jidde; and 14 others, had approached the court seeking the court to stop the party from conducting the congresses.

It was on record that the court granted the injunction pending the determination of the matter, but it was alleged that the PDP went ahead and conducted the congresses in violation to the order of the court, hence Justice Mustapha Rahamat said that the wards and Local Government congresses conducted on March 7th and 21st by the party were done in violation of the order of the court.

Justice Rahamat said: “The congresses were done in violation to the order of the court and contrary to the laws of the party. As such, it is therefore illegal and unconstitutional and the party should put machinery in motion to conduct a fresh congresses.”

As the crisis rocking the Nasarawa State chapter of People Democratic Party (PDP) over party congress soars, some concerned members of the party from Nasarawa Eggon Local Goveenment Area of the state had rejected the suspension of Senator Solomon Ewuga from the party for the sake of peace and progress of the party in the state.

In a press statement, chairman of the Concerned PDP Support Group, Adamu Ali Embugu, said the suspension of Senator Ewuga and some party stalwart from the party will cause more crisis and disunity instead of repositioning the party to regain its lost glory. He said the Concerned Members of the PDP in Nassarawa Eggon were committed about returning the party to power; adding that state leadership of the party should allow full participation of people in deciding who spearheads the affairs of the party in the state.

According to the statement, “in the best interest of democracy and constitutional means we proposed that the national leadership should dissolve the Francis Orogu led Exco and constitute a caretaker committee to oversee the affairs of the subsequent congress in the state.”

“We are calling for fresh ward congress so as to have a harmonious party structure at all levels in Nasarawa State. Any attempt to hold on to the suspension of Senator Solomon Ewuga, Honourable Elayo, and Honourable Onawo would suffer resistance and possibly collapse of the PDP in Nasarawa State.”

Meanwhile, devastated by an envisaged collapse of Nigeria’s former ruling political party in Nasarawa State, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Senator Walid Jibrin, stood up to his responsibility in order to contain any possible exit of party stalwarts from the political scene of the state as he assured all members that he will work hard with the National Working Committee (NWC) of PDP to see to an end of the crisis rocking the party.

“May I assure all members that I will work hard with the NWC to see to the end of this crisis. Meanwhile we should remain law abiding citizens,” said Senator Walid Jibrin at Nasarawa town in Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.

He continued: “May I appeal to all members of PDP in Nasarawa State to be calm, steadfast and very strong despite the internal crisis engulfing our party, coupled by recent court judgement. What is happening in the state is a pointer to all of us to properly re-examine ourselves on ways to sincerely manage our party. We must therefore remain united and remove all personal interests.”

According to Walid Jibrin, “as a BoT Chairman and indigene of the state, I earlier advised the two parties to withdraw the cases in court and lift all suspensions to give elders the opportunities to settle the mater amicably

Senator Jibrin added that he was not happy that his earlier advise fell on deaf ears, hence his next plan was to call respected members and elders for a meeting with the concerned members to consider his earlier advise as to how to end the crisis and thereafter submit recommendations to NWC.”

Notwithstanding, the inability of the BoT chairman of the PDP to resolve the lingering crisis which has bedeviled his party, the National Organizing Secretary of the PDP, Col Austin Akobundu (rtd), directed the North Central vZonal Chairman of the party, Theophilus Dakas Shan, to oversee the affairs of the party in Nasarawa State.

In a letter to that effect, the National Organizing Secretary of the PDP said: “This is, to formally, inform you that the National Working Committee of our great party (PDP) has directed that you and your Zonal Working Committee should perform your constitutional duty by overseeing the Nasarawa State chapter of our party until further notice, pursuant to section 26 (2) (a) &:(b) of our party’s constitution (2017 as amended) and other functions that may be assigned to you by the National Executive Committee through the National Working Committee.

Acccording to Akobundu, “Shan is therefore to continue running the Nasarawa State chapter of the PDP until the National Working Committee directs otherwise.

As the PDP is nursing the injuries it sustained in the crisis which has engulfed its household, the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, was basking in the euphoria of the peaceful conduct of the APC primary election with optimism that the people of Nasarawa Central will massively vote the candidate of the APC in the bye-election scheduled for next month. This according to the Speaker was achievable because it will consolidate on the transformational drive of Governor Abdullahi Sule in the state.
He was speaking when Mr Ismaila Danbaba Suleiman, the APC candidate for the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election paid him a solidarity visit in Lafia.

Acccording to the state assembly speaker, “I must say that your victory at the just concluded primary election was overwhelmed and it shows your general acceptance by your people. Leadership is an act of God. It is not by power, strength, wealth or any kind of favour but the will of God.”

“That I want you to understand and appreciate what God did to you and embrace all that contested with you because we are all equal before the giver. So carry all of them along and God will see you through. It will be a victory all through by His grace.

Meanwhile, ahead of the August 8, 2020 bye-election of the Nasarawa Central State Constituency, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the commission will observe COVID-19 protocols set up by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) during the bye-election and any other elections that would be conducted while the pandemic lasts.

The Nasarawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Uthman Ajidagba, gave the instruction at a stakeholders meeting in Lafia. According to him, “the commission is determine to observe COVID-19 protocols setup by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) during the bye-election and any other elections that would be conducted while the pandemic last.”

On his part, the Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, who spoke on behalf of other security agencies, said they would be neutral and would do their job without fear or favour.

QUOTE:

Sadly, the PDP may be going to the polls for the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election with a divided house following a judgement by a state High Court sitting in Akwanga, the headquarters of Akwanga Local Government Area of the state, that annulled the congresses conducted by the PDP in the state. Presiding Judge of the court, Justice Mustapha Rahamat, had annulled the PDP congresses while delivering judgement in the case brought before the court by some members of the party challenging the congresses held on March 21, 2020

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