The recent event which saw many people joining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State has put them into the dilemma of shopping for a unity candidate ahead of the 2019 elections, SUNDAY ISUWA writes.
Until recently, the number of people contesting for the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 gubernatorial election were few.
But the recent events which saw many people joining the PDP with others re-joining the party has made the number of contestants seeking for the number one seat in Kaduna under the platform of the PDP to skyrocket.
Since 1999, except for the incumbent governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, the PDP has produced all the governors in the state.
They are: Sen. Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi; Arch Namadi Sambo; late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa and Alhaji Muhktar Ramalan Yero.
The long years of leadership of the PDP in Kaduna has put them at a vantage position of having structures in all the nook and cranny of the state, it was gathered.
As the 2019 general election is getting closer, more politicians in Kaduna State under the platform of the PDP are vying for the ticket of the governorship, thereby putting the party officials in the dilemma of electing a credible candidate that will be acceptable by most Kaduna people.
“The way things are going, we only need a unity candidate,” said a politician from the Southern part of the state, Tanko Rossi.
According to Rossi, a good candidate acceptable by the majority will boost the chances of the PDP in the 2019 gubernatorial elections.
LEADERSHIP gathered that six people are currently vying for the gubernatorial ticket of the PDP in Kaduna State, with the number likely to increase as the country get more closer to the election year.
Amongst the politicians vying for the PDP ticket in Kaduna State are: Sarkin Bai Zazzau, Hon Isah Ashiru; Mainan Zazzau, Mohammed Sani Bello; Hon Bello Kagarko; Sani Sidi; Galadiman Ruwan Zazzau, Dr Jaafaru Sa’ad; Jonathan Kish Adamu and the former governor of the state, who is also the Dallatun Zazzau, Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero.
Adamu who is from Kaura LGA, is a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state. He served as commissioner during the tenure of Ibrahim Yakowa as governor.
Kish is also a former member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly. Kish, as he is fondly called, who now practises law in Abuja, will have to play his game well while waiting for the body language of his political party.
Kish, Sani Sidi and Bello Kagarko came from the Kaduna South senatorial district. Sidi and Kagarko have moved their voting rights to Kaduna Central because of political calculations.
Kish’s chances of clinching the PDP gubernatorial ticket, it was gathered, will depend on the party’s calculation and the way he mobilised the delegate especially from zone 3.
Kagarko is a former commissioner of Education during the Makarfi era. He was a very close ally to Makarfi. But to gather the political cloud that will enable him clinch the ticket of the party might be difficult.
Kagarko, named after a town in the Southern part of Kaduna has transferred his voting rights to Kaduna central because of political calculation.
Sidi who is said to be vying for the PDP’s ticket is a young politician who attained stardom from zone 3. It was gathered that Sidi has, just like Kagarko, transferred his voting right to zone 2.
Sidi is a former commissioner for works in the state. He also served as commissioner for health and environment before getting a national assignment as the Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and served for two terms.
As a young and brilliant politician, getting the PDP ticket will be based on his homework and how he can mobilise the delegates.
With the way and manner politicians are shifting base to the central zone, it was gathered, not unconnected with the calculation of the PDP which might zoned the governorship ticket to that part of the state.
Presently, the chairman of the PDP in Kaduna State, Felix Hassan Hyet is from Kaduna South Senatorial District.
Sani Bello who is the Mainan Zazzau, is a former commissioner in Kaduna State and a lecturer.
He is one of the earlier people that indicated interest to vie for the Kaduna governorship under the platform of the PDP. He has the task of forming structures that will endear delegates to his side.
Bello is from the same senatorial district with the three front-line contestants: Sarkin Bai Zazzau, Isah Ashiru, Galadiman Ruwan Zazzau, Jaafaru and the former governor of the state, Alhaji Muhktar Ramalan Yero.
Bello, Jaafaru and Yero are from the same Zaria Local Government Area.
Bello’s chances of clinching the ticket will depend on how he plays his game.
Muhktar Ramalan Yero is the immediate past governor of the state. He became governor following the death of his boss, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, in December 2012.
Yero has friends and people he worked with during his days as governor. He is a close ally of former Vice President and governor of the state, Namadi Sambo. Yero worked in Namadi’s company as an accountant and later became the commissioner of finance in Kaduna State. His chances of clinching the PDP ticket will also depend on his game.
Ashiru is a household name in Kaduna politics. His support base, it was gathered, spread across the three senatorial districts of the state not just the politicians but including the academia, students, business men, women and other professionals.
Ashiru is viewed as a grounded politician in Kaduna State politics.
He was a local government chairman, a House of Assembly member in Kaduna State, and a two term House of Representatives member who represented Kudan/ Makarfi.
Ashiru who holds the traditional tittle of Sarkin Bai Zazzau, is viewed as a philanthropist that has endeared many projects to his constituency which includes: Police Academy, Hunkuyi, Mini Dam, Solar Power, ICT Centre, Youth Development Centre, Police Station, Hospital, Stadium and Town Halls.
His initiatives also endeared numerous infrastructures in schools such as Hostels, Computer Centres, development of agricultural scheme, road construction and employment.
“Ashiru possessed all the qualities required from a good candidate to save the people of Kaduna State,” said comrade Danjuma Bello Sarki, an aspirant for the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Zonkwa Constituency.
“Ashiru is a man that is very interested in infrastructure and human capacity development. If PDP voted him as their candidate, and the people of Kaduna State vote him in 2019, I know he is going to transform Kaduna State,” Danjuma said.
According to him, having Ashiru in the PDP is a plus to the party because he has several structures and good followership.
“He will merged them with his PDP structure. He is not a candidate that can be wished away. He is an aspirant a lot of people in Kaduna State will want to identify with,” he said.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the unity candidate being sought for by the PDP in Kaduna State is someone who believes in team work and should be a politician of great repute.
“We are searching for a candidate that will carry everybody along irrespective of ethnicity, tribe or religion,” said an official of the PDP in Kaduna State.
“He should be a candidate who is a true politician. Kaduna State needs somebody who will appeal to the sensitivity of the people. A candidate who will work to provide the needed dividend of democracy to the people. He should be a candidate who also have the structure across the state,” he said.
A woman politician who is also an official of the PDP in Kaduna state said the party is looking for a candidate who is accessible, not arrogant and not full of himself.
“We need a candidate who will give every body a sense of belonging and respect everybody, every community and every side of the divide of Kaduna State.”
“As you know, Kaduna state is a highly sensitive place that you need somebody who can carry every body along and lead the PDP to victory in 2019,” She said, apparently referring to the quality of the candidate they are looking for.
“I have no doubt that Isah Ashiru has those qualities if given the needed support,” Danjuma who is vying for the Kaduna State House of Assembly under the platform of PDP said.