Penultimate Thursday, October 4, 2018, the All Pogressives Congress (APC) conducted its Senatorial primaries for the Niger Statehood. As expected, in Niger State, following the All Progressive Congress senatorial primaries, it rained heavily, politically drowning in furious flow some political heavy weights. Three incumbent senators got drenched mercilessly in the primary elections by three new entrants who where hitherto unknown and overtly underrated. Leading the onslaught is Mohammed Sani Musa (313), who ended the senatorial expedition of Senator David Umaru representing Niger East Senatorial District. The APC declared Musa winner of the primary election after he polled over 39,000 votes as against over 5,100 votes recorded by Senator Umar. The result was announced by the returning officer for the primary election, Alhaji Saidu Akawu, who said the election was peaceful, free and fair and was conducted in a transparent and orderly manner.
Zakari Jikantoro dealt a political blow on Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi representing Niger North, with Senator Mohammed Sani Wadada of Niger South coming under the stunned defeat by Mohammed Bima Enagi. This development didn’t only alter the statusquo but changed the political calculations in Niger State. A new paradigm was created and an age long myth demystified- incumbent senators were sacked.
What would have led to the political annihilations of the trio who without doubt are tested political juggernauts in the politics of Niger State? Most dumbfounding is the case of Senator David Umaru, a ranking senator holding the senate chairmanship of the committee on judiciary who suffered crushing defeat in the hands of Mohammed Sani Musa, a businessman, grassroots mobiliser and philanthropist. Measured feelers attributed David Umaru’s misfortune in the concluded poll to his inability to identify with his people, so distant he was that only during elections that that he identifies with his constituency. His running battle with the governor of Niger State played hugely his uninspiring outing at the primaries.
Disillusioned by an uninspiring David Umaru, Mohammed Sani Musa strolled in with his attractive baggage of redemptive leadership, exuding hope and class. Known to be a generous giver, his candidacy swell high and in blink of the eyes, he was the darling of the people. Enmass did the people came to elect him as their party representative in the hallowed chamber of the National Assembly come 2019 during the general elections.
The enterprising business mogul pulled off the most astonishing victory in senatorial history, harnessing pained electorates to beat a serving senator. It is one of the most astonishing victories in political history, leaving political analysts in utter shock, wondering what led to the defeat of a serving senator.
Sani’s rekindled message of hope and optimism to reclaim the lost glory of the Niger East Senatorial District, restore the dignity of his people went wide and resounding in the heart of the electorates and became the catch of his strategy. His message hacks on a supposed window of greatness and implies that he is out to right the shortcomings of his opponent. It was a well-packaged strategy that worked well for his victory.
Did Sani’s message of running as a better alternative imbued with loftier ideals and more progressive ideas that will attract real and organic dividends of democracy to our long-suffering people gave him the edge over Senator David Umaru? This cannot be farfetched actually as Sani filled in the vacuum created by the lethargic leadership of the incumbent.
Reassuring echoes like this glued the people eventually to his aspirations, ‘We have suffered needless marginalisation in the past due to lack of strong voice that will bring our plights to the attention of government at the federal level. Where others sit on the table to take decisions of national and state importance, no one was there to register the minds and priorities of our people. If we don’t want to be at the mercy of leaders from other parts of the country, we must make conscious efforts to select and elect those who have the comparative ability and capacity to adequately represent our people in the Hallowed Chamber’.
Another major reason for the defeat of Senator David Umaru is that Senator Umaru has alienated himself from the electorate after his victory in 2015. The Senator has been accused of staying in Abuja and supporting Senate President Bukola Saraki against President Muhammadu Buhari. While other Senators from the other states go to their constituency to interface with the constituents regularly, Senator David Umaru never visited his constituency. He never initiates or executes any empowerment programme for the youths and women of his constituency as regularly done by his colleagues from the other states.
In a related development, Umar was accused of not participating in party activities in the senatorial zone and the state in general since he went to Abuja.
Is Mohammed Sani Musa the strong, and irrepressible voice that can be heard and respected on the hallowed chamber of the National Assembly come 2019? Only time can tell, until then, the struggle to the hallowed chamber continues. But we have seen the direction of Mohammed Sani Musa. According to him:
“I am going to give responsible and responsive representation; the people will begin to feel my impact immediately I am elected.
“I will not be in the Senate to ask why the Inspector General of Police did not appearedg before me. I will not be in the Senate to ask why the Controller General of Nigerian Customs is not wearing uniform.
“My first assignment when I become senator is to make sure the Hydro Power Producing Areas Development Commission takes off; the president has already signed the bill into law.”
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