As the 2019 political activities unfold and with the recent release of elections timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political activities in the country will be fascinating and Nasarawa State will not be exceptional.
Investigations have revealed that there are persons, groups and associations, that have been making moves, preparatory to the 2019 general elections and from all indications, it will attract various interests that will shape the forthcoming elections in Nasarawa State.
While not removing the hands of God in the scheme of things, there are people who will certainly rock the boat of politics particular during the 2019 general elections in the state, especially the governorship election; not only will they work to present their choice(s) as flag bearers, but also who eventually emerges as governor of the state.
Investigations shows that such influence wielders have since started working across the length and breadth of the state, while aspirants have been running from pillar to post, to canvass for the support of those identified as power brokers or political king-makers in the state.
From feelers, politicians, traditional rulers, civil servants, community leaders, technocrats, stakeholders, tribal organizations, religious leaders, religious organizations and others have their eyes fixed towards the direction of the general elections come 2019 in the state.
Every political party has a very strong influence on who eventually emerges as its flag bearer and it also the primary responsibility of a political party to campaign for her flag bearer, for whatever elective position.
Although there are over 70 registered political parties in the country, in Nasarawa State, most of them are not functional. The major political parties in existence in the state are the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Labour party (LP). Though there are presence of other political parties that are not too rooted in the State.
These major political parties have been going round the state to mobilize support preparatory to the elections, because none of them want to be beaten hands down. There were reports in recent times of decamping going on from one party to another. Political parties are loosing membership, just as they are also gaining new ones.
Come 2019 in Nasarawa State, political parties have a very strong and indispensable obligatory roles to play in the emergence of their would be candidates and eventual election.
There are politicians that would play significant roles in the forth general elections in Nasarawa State and those seeking political offices at all levels, have been running to them to receive their blessings, endorsements and probably financial support.
Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura, who is completing his second term as the governor of the state, is one person to look out for in the forthcoming elections in the state. The governor seized power from a sitting governor, Aliyu Akwe Doma, in 2011 and is seeing as a very strong politician, couple with the power of incumbency.
At it is the tradition on Nigerian politics, a sitting governor determines who succeed him in office and who becomes what by appointment and election. The governor’s case cannot be different in forthcoming elections in the state.
Governor Almakura, is a very strong politician, since his hay days as the youth leader of the Defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN), in the then Plateau state. He is a strong man to watch in Nasarawa State come 2019.
The first executive governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, is one politician people must look out for come 2019. He has always been the seen and unseen hands that have been rocking the boat of politics in the state. His full participation in the next general elections is certain.
Ever since Abdullahi Adamu, served his two tenures as governor of the state, he has continued to be a major factor in the politics of the state, especially on the governorship race. Political pundits said Senator Adamu, will not remove his hands from the pie because of his growing influence and popularity, but some are of the opinion that he remained in politics to cover his track. Whatever it is, he is one of those to watch in the coming elections.
Some persons who will rock the boat of politics in Nasarawa State includes serving Senators, members of House of Representatives, members of the state assembly and their predecessors.
Senator Suleiman A. Adokwe, representing Nasarawa South, Senator Philip Aruwa Gyunka, representing Nasarawa North and Senator Abdullahi Adamu representing Nasarawa West senatorial districts, are people to watch in 2019.
The five members of House of representatives from the state namely Abubakar Sarki Dahiru, representing Lafia/Obi Federal Constituency, Mohammed Agoshi Onawo, Doma/Awe/Keana Federal Constituency, Davidmatics David Umbugadu, Akwanga/Nasarawa Eggon/Wamba Federal constituency, Gazza Gbwefi, representing Karu/Keffi/Kokona and Architect Mohammed Ja’afaru Ibrahim, Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency, are all political forces in their own rights.
Others are the immediate past members of the state and national assemblies, former deputy governors, former councilors and stakeholders, that matters in the political atmosphere. No doubt, they are not left out in the 2019 general elections in Nasarawa state.
Traditional rulers in Nasarawa State have a stake in the politics of the state. The higher the status of a traditional ruler, the greater the influence he wields on his subjects.
The people of Nasarawa State, including politicians, are known for high regards to their traditional rulers, so nobody would want to disrespect his traditional father. In recent times, traditional rulers from Nasarawa North senatorial zone, toured all the nooks and corners of the state to begged their colleagues from Nasarawa West and South, to prevail on their subjects, to allow Nasarawa North which has never tested power since the creation of the state in 1996, to do so.
Although the ruling party APC, is yet to zone its governorship seat to the zone, others like PDP and APGA, has since done that and political analyst concluded that it was the persistence of the royal fathers that from Nasarawa North senatorial zone that yielded that positive results.
NASARAWA SOUTH AND NASARAWA WEST SENATORIAL ZONES
So far, nobody has indicated interest to contest for the governorship seat from Nasarawa South in 2019, but may be with the recent release of elections timetable, some will show face. From Nasarawa West senatorial zone of the state, several names eyeing the governorship seat have been mentioned. They include Honourable Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, a former member of House of representatives and the Honourable Ja’afaru Mohammed Ibrahim, a serving House of Representatives member from Nasarawa/Toto Federal constituency. Of recent, the news about the governorship interest of Architect Shehu Tukur, who is the state governor project consultant are rife.
Honourable Wadada’s posters and bill boards have dotted the length and breadth of the state, announcing his interest to vie for the number one seat under APC, there is no doubt that he was joking. His recent visits to prominent persons in the state are manifestation of the level of his seriousness.
It was gathered that like Wadada, Hon. Ja’afaru Muhammed Ibrahim, has set up a very strong team of politicians in the state, that has since gone round to consult on his governorship interest and it is learnt that the consultation has yielded positive impact with the presence of his posters and bill boards across the state.
If an when votes actually count, civil servants in Nasarawa state are a potent force to reckon with in the forthcoming general elections, because some would serve as returning officers and other adhoc electionduties.
In this case, nobody should ignore the power of civil servants in the politics of the state, and considering the event of 2011 where the incumbent governor, Umaru Tanko Almakura, took advantage of the strike embarked upon by civil servants in the state and threw out Aliyu Akwe Doma, the then governor on seat.
From the campaigns to the elections the electorates are the ones to determine the final results. In this case therefore, they too cannot be wished away with a wave of the hand.
RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION AND LEADERS:
Over the years, the hands of religious leaders and organizations have been noticed in political activities in the state, cutting across the two major religions, Christianity and Islam.
Politicians and aspirants go to seek or solicit prayers from their spiritual fathers and religious bodies. Often times, they may claim not to belong to any such organization, but that is just for the sake of seeking the support of all.
At times they do not merely go for prayers and blessings, but would want them to prevail on their congregations to cast their votes for them. The pulpit has become a powerful platform to canvass votes for their choices. They may blare out their sermons via loud speakers to the whole world to hear, but when the loud speakers are silent, politics take over.
Tribal associations are very strong forces to work when it comes politics, though they are not political plat forms, they however have influence on their members.
Over the years many of such associations have been used to rally support for some candidates and as 2019 elections gets closer, some wise politicians have started reaching out to some of the tribal associations by giving them assistance. Some of these tribal associations, at their regular meetings, discussed issues pertaining to politics and the forth coming general elections in 2019. Such political discussions are tilted towards their identified interest.
The electoral body INEC, is central to the whole matter. The way and manner they conduct the elections matters a lot and if votes are allowed to count and are accurately counted by the umpire, electorates in the state will play a great role in the results that will produce the next governor and other elective positions in the state.
Security agencies and their agents are also key factor that make or mar elections. The place of security in the conduct of free and fair elections cannot be over emphasized.
Over the years, some contestants and voters have accused security agents of aiding and abetting electoral malpractices. In the build up to the 2019 general elections in Nasarawa State, the security agencies and their agents will be among the people and groups to watch.
With the recent release of elections timetable by INEC, electorates in Nasarawa State need to watch out for the above mentioned persons and groups and more, to ensure free and fair general elections in the state in 2019.
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