Still Many Rivers to Cross

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Al-Makura

Emmanuel Ukumba writes that Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State is faced with an uphill task in the bid to sell his favoured governorship candidate, on one hand, as well as, realise his dream to become a senator

Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura may have successfully managed the feud between
him and the erstwhile governor of the state, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, over his (Al-Makura) choice of Abdullahi Sule as governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, while positioning himself for a senatorial seat. However, it is not yet ‘Uhuru’. Apparently, there are still obstacles in the way of his anointed candidate for the 2019 Nasarawa State governorship race, ditto his quest to serve in the National Assembly as a senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district; when his tenure elapses on May 29, 2019.

THISDAY checks reveal that the feud between the two political heavyweights in the state started over the alleged refusal of the Senator Adamu to support the Al-Makura’s anointed candidate for APC governorship ticket, Abdullahi Sule. The ex-governor who is regarded as the father of Nasarawa state politics was alleged to have opposed the candidature of Sule on the basis that it was not in the interest of the people of the state.

Adamu’s stand was fuelled by the notion that the candidature of Sule may hamper the chances of the APC and President Buhari in the state, since the predominant tribes in the state such as the Eggons, Alagos, Madas, and the Tivs will vote against the APC
governorship candidate in favour of any opposition party that fields one of their own from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) or the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). He also posited that Sule was not popular among the people and majority of them have vowed to vote against Sule who is believed to have a deep pocket, but had a bad reputation for being stingy.
Speaking in Keffi recently with ward and local government officials of the APC, Adamu vowed to teach the governor the political lesson of his life for attempting to dethrone him from the senate and as well trying to impose an unpopular candidate on the people of the state, insisting that such will not happen. He said that any attempt to foist a candidate on the people will be rebuffed, noting that was not unelectable. He predicted that an opposition party will humiliate the APC in Nasarawa state if Sule remained the governorship candidate of the APC.

But Al-Makura immediately fired back at Senator Adamu saying that his outburst was a misreading of history and vowed to retire the ex-governor from politics, noting further that the state does not have two political leaders. He said Nasarawa state was no longer interested in political godfathers and that if the senator attempted anything funny, he would demystify and retire him from politics.

The governor who spoke through his Director General Strategic Communications and Press Affairs, Yakubu Laimai, claimed the right to support any candidate of his choice, noting that though he respected the ex-governor, it was time to demystify his political credentials.

As the candidature of Sules continue to generate ripples in and outside Nasarawa State, Al-Makura recently noted with shock the remarks made by the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, who alleged that the
APC governorship primaries were conducted in Nasarawa State to favour a foreigner and to deny the people of Nasarawa State an opportunity to be governed by a bona fide son rather than a non-indigene who was a sugar cane seller from Kano State.

Again, Al-Makura’s spokesman cautioned Mailafia that his utterances were unbecoming of one vying to become Nigeria’s president. He reminded him that his task was to bring greater understanding and shape the attitude of ordinary citizens to collectively build the country on the basis of unity and faith, peace and progress instead of whipping up primordial sentiments to heat up the polity.

The statement read in part: “The position of Governor Al-Makura is clear. And we make no apology for it! The old order of igniting indigenes versus settlers or excavating vestiges of tribe and religion as political campaign issue to divide people, must be swept aside for
the sake of equity and justice.”

Amidst the recent haggling over who becomes the torchbearer of the party in the 2019 general elections, a coalition of Directors General of APC governorship aspirants in the state, led by the campaign organizations of Hon. Arch Ja’afar Mohammed and Barrister Danladi Envuluanza, said on behalf of all the APC governorship aspirants in the state, that they completely reject the candidature of Sule as proposed by the outgoing governor of
the state.

The APC governorship aspirants who were represented by their campaign DGs said that they have discovered a grand plan by the governor to impose Sule on the party as its governorship candidate and if the governor does not rescind his decision, they will be forced to act in a collective manner.

While Al-Makura battles to sell his anointed governorship candidate to the Nasarawa electorates, his recent victory at the primary election to contest for the Nasarawa South senatorial zone’s seat at the National Assembly on the platform of the APC also has peculiar challenges staring at him.

Al-Makura’s candidature was dismissed with the wave of the hand by the state chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Francis Orogu, He said, “Governor Al-Makura is not a legislative material. He (Al-Makura) knows that he is contesting for the zone’s senatorial seat predominantly against the Alago people. I will use everything in
the constitution to fight and win the senatorial seat for PDP.”

Against this backdrop, watchers of political events in the state envisage the brick of wall already erected by the Alago ethnic nationality; who are the majority tribe and currently occupying the seat of the senatorial zone at the National Assembly, to vehemently checkmate the emergence of Al-Makura as senator representing the zone by 2019.

The Alagos claimed that they were short-changed in 2011 governorship poll of the state when their own, late Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma, was defeated at the poll by the incumbent governor thereby stopping them (Alagos) from completing their eight-year tenure as governor of the state. Therefore, they have vowed to hold the senatorial seat of the zone; come rain, come shine.

The other ethnic group which could have reached worked with the governor, but is set to part ways with him is the Tiv ethnic nationality. Observers allege that the governor has failed
grossly in his campaign promises to the Tiv people of the state, who are said to be the second largest ethnic nationality in the zone after the Alago.

Watchers of political events in the state posit that the bone of contention between the Tiv ethnic group and Al-Makura was the failure of the governor to fulfil his major campaign promise of creating a traditional chiefdom, district and village areas in order to emancipate the ethnic nationality from the shackles of marginalisation meted against them for decades.

Also, the Koro (Migili) ethnic group, whose influence on the political landscape of the zone remains indelible considering their numerical strength. Analysts say the Koro people are uncomfortable with the governor’s ambition to represent them at the National Assembly. Consequently the Koros are equally determined to truncate Al-Makura’s journey to the senate.

The Koros are still very bitter over the beating of their kinsmen by political thugs from Lafia during the Lafia/Obi House of Representatives APC primary election. This unfortunate treatment was allegedly meted to them for voting their Koro kinsman, Sonny Agassi, who also aspired for the same seat on the platform of the APC.

The inability of the Nasarawa state government to return the Eggon displaced persons back to their ancestral abodes, even when the crisis that engulfed parts of the senatorial zone was far over, to enable them vote during the 2015 general election was also counted as a negative factor against the governor’s senatorial dream.

QUOTE:

While Al-Makura battles to sell his anointed governorship candidate to the Nasarawa electorates, his recent victory at the primary election to contest for the Nasarawa South senatorial zone’s seat at the National Assembly on the platform of the APC also has peculiar challenges staring at him