ISAIAH BENJAMIN writes on the possible chances viz-a-viz strengths and weaknesses of the contenders for the seat of Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly
The race for who represents the people of Kaduna Central at the Red Chamber come 2019 has become keener among the three major contenders, the incumbent Senator Shehu Sani of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), the political adviser to Kaduna state governor, Uba Sani, of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Lawal Adamu Usman of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The fight started from the primaries of the various political parties primaries that produced them as candidates.
While the flag bearer of the PDP had it much more easier to emerge, that of the APC was marred with lots of controversies. The incumbent senator, now of PRP was of the APC before his defection which was a fallout of the primaries. Initially, he was the only one cleared for the seat by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party but that was short lived as his main contender in the race, Uba Sani, who has the backing of the state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, eventually emerged Candidate.
Senator Sani was initially reported to have been rewarded for not defecting with his colleagues with the ticket, but there were protests for a primary to be conducted.
The said primary eventually held but the incumbent senator failed to participate on the ground that the congresses that produced the delegates was faulty.
However, the primary held and produced Uba Sani as winner. All efforts by Senator Sani to right the perceived wrong failed to yield any result as Uba Sani’s name was submitted as the APC senatorial candidate for Kaduna central.
This singular action forced Senator Sani to withdraw his membership of the APC, leading to his defection to the PRP and now its candidate for the same position.
Meanwhile, anybody who is conversant with the dynamics of Kaduna politics would confirm that 2019 is bound to see a fundamental overhaul in the voting pattern of the state at all levels.
For Senator Sani, his alleged first major blunder was his failure to leave the APC along with the other Akida crowd.
He opted to remain in the APC when his more politically exposed colleagues in the Senate were quitting.
While speaking on the development, Suleiman Abdulazeez of the Northern Emancipation Network (NEN) said: “Senator Sani is going into the race without a viable platform. PRP is no platform in the current equation of Kaduna politics. This is besides the fact that even in 2015, Shehu Sani was only able to win by riding on Buhari’s sweeping popularity at that time.
“On his part, Uba Sani shall also be going into the fight carrying the overwhelming burden of the government of el-Rufai in which he serves.
“All indicators show that the state is today fast slipping out of the control of el-Rufai.
“At stake here is not the continued suppression and oppression of critical political players in the state through manipulating what remains of the state’s party leadership, it is also about the implication of another four years under an el-Rufai government or even APC generally.
“In 2015, APC, on which Uba Sani is running, came with the promise of security, ending poverty, protecting the vulnerable, and improving the economy. But the gap between those rhetoric and reality keeps growing wider throughout the first three years of its first term, which may as well be its last with the likelihood of dragging Uba Sani and others down with it.
“Uba Sani would be haunted by the atrocities of the government he serves which has caused a drastic erosion of Kaduna State institutions. Traditional, religious, and socio-political dynamics have been scandalised by stressing absence of real representative government, broadening legislation that undermines rule of law, and increasing influence of sycophants.
“He would have to face the mounting voter anger about the restriction of freedom of association, press, and expression, the use of state power with impunity as depicted in the mass sack of workers and bastardisation of the revered traditional institution by the government which he is a part of.
“The currents are blowing in Mr LA’s favour primarily because of his rare blend of the wisdom of the old and the dynamism of the younger generation which give him the ability to represent the hopes, aspirations and the interests of both his admirers and opponents alike.
“His chief qualities are his characters that are natural, often backed by skills, experiences, intelligence, integrity, with instincts. All these afford him to achieve his goals in the interest of the people he aspires to represent in politics.
“Apart from his two major opponents, who see quest for political ascendancy as an end in itself rather than for public good, I believe Uba and Shehu are no match for Mr LA if character traits and grassroots support are anything to go by”.
On his part, however, the Special Adviser (Media) to Senator Shehu Sani, Abdulsamad Chima Amadi said: “In a free, fair and credible election, none of those contesting with Senator Shehu Sani will get half of his votes. In his three and half years stay at the Red Chamber, he has shown what quality representation should be. “Unlike the other candidates who are mere puppets of political god fathers, the people of Kaduna central see in Senator Shehu Sani as a man who will stand and defend their interest.
“They love him and see him as one of their own who treats everyone with respect and dignity. While the other contestants owe their allegiance to the rich and powerful, his allegiance is to the masses. Senator Sani’s grassroots influence is unmatched by any of his opponents. He dines, wines and interacts freely with the poorest among the poor. These are a few among the reasons the masses will re-elect him in 2019”.
There is no doubt that Senator Shehu Sani enjoys goodwill of the people, particularly those that feel he was not treated fairly by his former party, the APC and his performance at the Senate.
For Nasir Dambatta who spoke for the APC candidate, “Uba Sani’s chances are comparatively brighter because apart from being the most-experienced, he has built goodwill among the voters of Kaduna Central by assisting the unemployed with jobs, assisting the poor and aged in settling their medical bills. He has the respect of the community and opinion leaders and the clergymen of Kaduna Central.
“He is also the most popular candidate among women (who constitute majority of voters) in his constituency while being the most trending political figure of Kaduna Central on the social media platforms. He also has the advantage of the tens of thousands of members of a new ‘Kaduna State Campaign Council’ that will expectedly work jointly for the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir el-rufai in 2019”, he stated.
Inspite of what is being said about the candidates by their media aides, the chances of any of the candidates lies in the hands of the electorate, what they feel about them as individuals and their political parties, and it is in a matter of months.
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