With the emergence of governorship candidates from Nasarawa North senatorial zone, the battle has been shifted to the zone come 2019, writes DANJUMA JOSEPH
The primaries held by various political parties in Nasarawa State have come and gone, and the battleground for the governorship race in the statue has since shifted to Nasarawa North senatorial zone which has never governed the state since it was created in October, 1996.
Nasarawa Northern Senatorial zone believes that it is now its turn to produce Governor Umaru Almakura’s successor considering the fact that it is the only zone that has not occupied the number one seat of the state.
Preceding recent party primaries, the zone went with cap in hand appealing to the other two zones in the state, Nasarawa South and West senatorial zones, to allow her govern the state in the spirit of fairness, equity and justice.
Traditional rulers from Nasarawa North senatorial zone, who toured the nooks and crannies of the state to beg their colleagues from Nasarawa West and South, to prevail on their subjects,l to allow Nasarawa North, which has never tested power since the creation of the state in 1996, to do so.
Political analysts are of the opinion that it was the resilience of the royal fathers from Nasarawa North senatorial zone that yielded the positive results that made the governing All Progressives Party (APC) and others like PDP, APGA, ADC and YPP to zone the governorship seat to the zone.
Earlier, those from the Western zone had kicked against the idea of rotation, describing it as undemocratic and a contraption that contravenes the provisions of the Nigerian constitution which allows all interested and qualified citizens of the state to contest any elective position of their choice, irrespective of his or her senatorial district.
At the center of it all, Nasarawa North senatorial district has succeeded in producing the governorship candidates in the ruling All Progressives Congress- (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Rebuild Nigeria Party (RBNP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).
The governorship candidates of these political parties are Engr Abdulahi A. Sule (APC), David Emmanuel Ombugadu (PDP), Labaran Maku (APGA), Zakka Rabo (ADC), Mathew Avreson Ombugaku (RBNP) and Danju Mantani Kreni (YPP).
The Labour Party in Nasarawa State has Umar Abdulahi Angibi, who hails from Nasarawa South senatorial zone as its governorship candidate for 2019.
Engineer Abdullahi A. Sule (APC)
Engr. Sule, 60, is the immediate past Managing Director of Dangote Sugar in Lagos. He hails from Gudi in Akwanga Local Government area of the state in Nasarawa North senatorial district. He joined the race for a second time and got the APC governorship ticket.
Political pundits are of the opinion that he has the financial muscle to tackle any aspirant in the governorship race, but he has neither viable political structure nor genuine followers. It is also said that he lacks popularity in the state. But he is believed to be counting on Governor Al-Makura, to be victorious in 2019.
Political analysts also observed that his poor relationship with people, coupled with none demonstration of capacity and experience about governance remain the biggest obstacle standing against his governorship ambition.
Pundits are of the opinion that Sule has the financial capacity to give his rivals the fight for their money, more so that he is backed by his principal, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
Sule was born on 26 December 1959 in Gudi Station, Akwanga-west development area of Nasarawa state.
His father is the current traditional ruler, Hakimi of Gudi town.
David Ombugadu (PDP)
Hon. Ombugadu, 40, is the current member representing Akwanga/Wamba/Nasarawa Eggon Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
He beat other four aspirants in the October 1st PDP governorship primary, to emerge the party’s candidate.
Analysts said his chances of clinching the governorship seat are high based on his impressive performances and effective representation at the Green chamber. His youthful age and his narrative about governance and love for the youths have endeared him to the people of the state, especially at the grassroots where his projects, like the provision of water is noticeable.
Pundits observed that the young aspirant is too nervous when it comes to addressing the crowd and he is not easily assessable, be it physically or on phone.
Ombugadu is the current chairman, House of Representatives committee on HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
Labaran Maku (APGA)
He was a minister of Information during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Maku came to limelight during his students unionism days at the University of Jos.
He was one-time commissioner for Information in Nasarawa State and later he became deputy governor during Abdullahi Adamu’s second tenure in 2003.
The 56 years old Maku contested the governorship of state on the platform of PDP in 2007 and lost at the primary. He joined the race on APGA platform in the 2015 general elections but lost to the incumbent Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. He challenged Al-Makura’s victory at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal up to the Supreme Court, citing irregularities in the election but the court gave Almakura, the victory. Maku has persistently and publicly accused Al-Makura of stealing his mandate and has vowed to reclaim it.
Analysts have described Maku as a grassroots politician. His vast experience on issues of good governance, peace and social justice dates back to decades ago when he was a teacher. His belief in selfless service to humanity and leadership with fear of God have endeared him to both the old and young, particularly the youth and women who constitute the largest number of his followers in the state.
Pundits say Maku’s stand on peaceful co-existence and good neighborliness have attracted him goodwill from across party lines and across ethnicity and religious affiliation. He is believed to wield a lot of influence within and outside the state. Although power belongs to God, Maku’s chances of becoming governor of Nasarawa State are bright.
Group Capt. Zakka Rabo (Rtd.) (ADC)
Group Capt Zakka is a retired military personnel from Akwanga Local Government Area. This is the second time he is into the race. The first time was in 2015.
He is not well known in Nasarawa State. His party too in not that known. This, analysts believe will grossly affect his chances to clinch the governorship seat of the state.
He is said to a believer in democratic with accountability as a necessary tool to remove leakages, theft and greed in governance.
Danju Mantani Kreni (YPP)
Kreni, 52, is also from Akwanga Local Government Area. He was once elected councilor and he contested for house of assembly twice, but failed to obtain the ticket.
He is contesting the governorship on the platform of YPP, but analysts of the view the party is alien to Nasarawa State.
Umar Abdullahi Angibi (LP)
Umar Abdullahi Angibi, 49, hails from Chiroma Local Government of Nasarawa state. He won MTN “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Show” in 2009.
He believes everything that happens to him in life is destined by God.
Analysts are of the opinion that apart from the fact his Labour Party has minimal structure in the state, he is also not popular unlike his late father, who lived and died a politician.
Angibi was at a point a lecturer with the NTA College, Jos.
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