No fewer than four ministers currently serving in President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, have indicated their interest to contest the governorship position in their respective states, barely six months to the much anticipated 2019 general elections, there are indications that some of the ministers serving in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari are eyeing the governorship seats of their respective states.
LEADERSHIP investigation revealed that since the timetable and schedule of activities were released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the ministers and their supporters have moved heavily into the political stage with series of intrigues, and are gradually getting prepared for campaigns.
It was also learnt that since the former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, won the July 14th governorship election in Ekiti state, those who were initiallly scared of throwing their hats into the ring, have summoned courage to have a taste.
The ministers are Adebayo Shittu (Oyo state), Solomon Dalung (Plateau state), Muhammad Dan-Ali, (Zamfara state) and Hajiya Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan (Taraba state).
Interestingly, most of them are not on the same page with the governors of their respective states.
Despite his disagreement with the Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state, the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, who has not officially declared his intention to run for the apex office in the state, has signified interest to contest in 2019.
LEADERSHIP gathered that Shittu has been holding consultation meetings with the leadership of the All Progressieves Congress (APC) and would-be delegates of the party across the state.
The legal icon who has been moving from one radio station to another, displaying his credentials, was said to have been consulting traditional leaders on his ambition to be the next governor of the state.
Shittu, a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly in the Second Republic contested for governorship on the platform of the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in 2011. He lost the primary election to the incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi, in 2015.
However, the seemingly unresolved crisis between him and Ajimobi, coupled with his controversial outburst against traditional rulers and other notable politicians in the state, may work against his ambition.
In the same vein, it was gathered that supporters of Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung are making efforts to convince him to join the race to the Government House in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
Although the minister has not openly declared interest to run, probably because of his frosty relationship with Governor Simon Lalong; his actions speak volume.
According to the information, the minister has been donating essential materials to the electorate and securing jobs for many people in his state, hanging it on dividends of democracy, and not for political reasons.
Dalung had a fierce battle with Lalong for the APC ticket ahead of the 2015 elections.
It is believed that if the minister contests against the governor in the primary election, he may not win, but he would definitely add colour to the exercise.
Also, the Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali (retired), is yet to openly declare for the race to Zamfara Government House, but sources said he is interested in the exalted seat. He is from Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of the state.
Dan-Ali joined active politics in 2013, shortly after his retirement from the military, pitching his tent with the ruling APC. He declared an intention to represent his zone, Zamfara North in the Senate, but he was made to step down for the current Senator Tijjani Yahaya Kaura.
He was also a member of the Buhari Campaign Organisation in 2015 and chairman of the Security Committee of Governor Abdulaziz Yari Campaign Organisation, also in 2015.
After the 2015 general elections, President Buhari appointed him as Nigeria’s Defence Minister. His appointment surprised many in the state, considering the fact that his foray into politics was not all that long even though he is a grassroots mobilizer.
Within three years as minister of defense, Dan-Ali influenced the establishment of command science secondary schools in each of the three senatorial zones of his state. Apart from that, he was instrumental in the establishment of different military formations to curb banditry in Zamfara.
It was gathered that such gestures may be connected to his ambition to rule the state. However, many people in the state are not counting him among possible successors of Governor Abdulaziz Yari.
Sources close to the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba, said she has not given up her ambition to rule Taraba State.
In 2015, she was probably the most popular gubernatorial candidate, being a female contender. As the candidate of the then strongest opposition party, the APC, she gave Darius Ishaku, the then PDP candidate a tough time.
Although Ishaku was declared a winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mama Taraba has later declared the authentic governor by an election petition tribunal in Abuja. However, the judgment was upturned by the Court of Appeal, also in Abuja.
As a dogged fighter, Mama Taraba moved to the Supreme Court, all in an effort to reclaim what she called her mandate, but she was not lucky.
Her outing in the contest was, however, seen as commendable in a difficult political terrain dominated by men.
As far as the race to Taraba Government House is concerned, analysts believe she has a moral dilemma to contend with. In 2017, she had vowed that she would withdraw her support for President Buhari once he declared for a second term. She reiterated her loyalty to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who have already defected to the PDP.
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