Kebbi 2019: Power shift is clarion call

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Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu

• As Other Emirates Battle Gwandu For Governorship
• Gwandu In Power Since 1999
• Kebbi Elders Support Power Shift, Equity

There are four Emirates in Kebbi State. They are Gwandu, Arugungu, Yauri and Zuru. So far, Gwandu emirate, which comprise of Kebbi Central has produced more governors. While Yauri emirate produced a civilian governor in the person of Abubakar Musa of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in the Third Republic, Gwandu emirate has produced all governors from 1999 to date.

Adamu Aliero was governor in1999 under the platform of All Peoples Party (APP), later All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), before he defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In 2007, Aliero ensured that Usman Dakingari succeeded him and was in office between 2007 and 2015. The two hail from Gwandu emirate in Kebbi Central. Prior to 2015 general elections, the relationship between Aliero and Dakingari went sour, prompting Aliero to dump PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Aliero subsequently teamed up with Senator Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, after the latter failed to secure the PDP governorship ticket.

Together, they decamped to APC, where Bagudu emerged the governorship standard bearer and subsequently won the election. Atiku Bagudu, Dakingari, Aliero are from Gwandu emirate in Kebbi Central.Although the incumbent governor has not formally indicated interest to contest in 2019, the signs are there that he might run for a second term.

Whereas governorship is usually zoned on the basis of senatorial districts in other states of the federation, in Kebbi, rotation among the four emirate councils in the state takes prominence over senatorial considerations.Incidentally, Gwandu in Kebbi Central is the largest emirate in the state. As if by default, Kebbi Central has cornered the governorship slot since the creation of the state, yet, fairness dictates that the other two senatorial districts, North and South are given a chance to govern the state. But as it were, there seems no fairness in politics.

Hence, groups and individuals are now angling to ensure that either the North or South senatorial districts are allowed to produce the next governor of the state. They want zoning used in determining the governorship seat of the henceforth.The Kebbi State Elders’ Forum has appealed to citizens of the state to shift the governorship position to either Kebbi North or South senatorial district to make for equity and fair play.

Leader of the forum, Alhaji Usman Mohammed Nma contended that kebbi North, which comprise Arugungu, Augie, Arewa and Kamba local government areas have not been fortunate to produce a governor.He said: “It is better to give the people from Arugungu emirate a chance to govern the state. I am from Gwandu emirate and we have produced governors. Kebbi South, which has Yauri, Zuru emirates, has also produced a governor. We need to support Kebbi North.”

He enjoined all stakeholders in the state, not only to pass the message but also ensure that they work towards achieving it. “About 24 of us have endorsed this position and we have to communicate it to the others who were not in the meeting,” he added.However, three aspirants from Arugungu emirate have shown interest in contesting for the governorship position. Senator Issa Galaudu, and Senator Tafida Arugungu are running on the platform of the PDP, while Ibrahim Mera, a retired customs controller and a younger brother to the Emir of Arugungu has also declared interest to contest the primary of the APC with the incumbent. The two are from the same zone.

Indeed, in kebbi Central, Gali Mallam, also a retired customs controller has declared intention to contest under the PDP, and also Buhari Bala, a former National Treasurer of the PDP.

Speaking on the issue, the state chairman of APC, Arc. Bala Sani Kangiwa said anyone who is interested is welcome, as a primary will be conducted.Meanwhile, one of the aspirants in APC, Alhaji Ibrahim Mera has accused security agencies of conniving with the state government to destroy campaign billboards across the state. He stated this while addressing newsmen in his country home, through his Campaign Manager, Hon. Abubakar Musa Dan Malik.He lamented the ugly act, explaining that some of his billboards in Arugungu, Yauri, Augie and in other parts of the state were destroyed by agents of the government, which security agents refused to act upon, rather they denied the allegation.

“We are ready to contest with the incumbent in the same party (APC) at the primary and I assure you we are going to defeat him,” he added. When contacted, the Police Public Relation (PPRO) ASP Suleiman Yusuf denied the allegation, saying that none of the security agencies has hand in the destruction of campaign billboards.He explained that what he is aware of is that the Kebbi Urban Development Authority (KUDA) is demolishing some places.

When contacted on phone, General Manager KUDA, Alhaji Jika Mallami said the issue is not peculiar to any party candidate, that even businesses that fix billboards without the knowledge of the KUDA usually get demolished. “You most come to us and get permission before putting up a billboard.

Former Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Senator Issa Galadu also wants to run on the PDP platform. Issa Galadu said: “My mission is to rescued the state from the ruling party, I’m going to develop kebbi State, and provide all social amenities, ” he said. Issa Galadu defected from APC to PDP two months ago.

A prominent politician in the state and PDP stalwart, Alhaji Alhaji Zuru, who is from Zuru emirate said it is high time Kebbi South produced the governor of the state.He disclosed that plans were on by Zuru people to enter into alliance with the other emirates like Yauri and Arugungu to enable them get the chance to govern the state.

“Since the creation of Kebbi State we have not produced deputy or even Secretary to the State Government (SSG), not to talk of governor from our zone (Zuru). We have been left behind,” he lamented.Observers also noted that people from Arugungu emirate in Kebbi North are working hard to ensure that the governorship goes to them in the 2019 election. At a recent meeting in Birnin Kebbbi and attended by prominent opposition politicians, it was resolved that the perceived injustice in the state should be contained.

The public relations officer (PRO) of PDP, Ibrahim Omen informed that despite the little crisis affecting the party, he was optimistic that they would win the next election.He claimed that this would be achieved through proper zoning to give every part of the state a sense of belonging. From all indications, the governorship in 2019 will be a tough one, even though the incumbent stands a good chance of fighting the opposition with material resources and support from Abuja.

For the opposition to give the Governor a good run, they have to form a better coalition than the present disparate and individualistic approach they have adopted. The leaders of Kebbi North and South have to sit down and plan how to narrow down on their interests and aspirants.

Indeed this is the time to even the imbalance in the state’s political and bureaucratic structure.Agitators for power shift justified their claims by citing acts of injustice done to minority sections in the state. They listed: the Federal University, State University, National Open University, Federal Polytechnic, State Polytechnic, Federal Medical Centre, the Governorship, Ministerial appointments, Ambassadorial, Police Training School, School of Nursing, School of Health, the two Command schools and the NYSC orientation camp, all sited in Gwandu Emirate (Kebbi Central) in the state.

While speaking to journalists, the Chairman of the Zuru, Argungu, Yauri Emirates Association, Sani Haliru Maiwa said: “The import of our agitation is that we are seeking for equity, justice and fairness because we have been left behind. The injustice done to the emirates of Argungu, Zuru and Yauri is too much. All the federal and state appointments are only centralized in Gwandu Emirate”. He added that without Zuru, Argungu and Yauri, there wouldn’t be Kebbi State because only Gwandu does not constitute the state.

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