Let’s have a closer look at the race for Bauchi South senatorial district’s election, the strength of the candidates and their respective political platforms.
All is now set for the conduct of the Bauchi South senatorial by-election to fill the vacuum created by the death of late Senator Ali Wakili who was elected into the Upper chambers of the National Assembly under the banner of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2015.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) having received a communication from the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and in conformity with the relevant electoral laws, has fixed Saturday, August 11, 2018 as the date for the conduct of the by-election which is expected to produce the person who will complete the tenure of the late Ali Wakili who many believed gave effective representation of the area while his stay lasted before his sudden death on March 17, 2018.
Since his death, there has been declaration of intention by many politicians to replace him. Many of the politicians had traversed all the seven local government areas that make up the Bauchi South senatorial district canvassing for support from the people of the area in order to their mandate through political platforms and finally when the timetable was released by INEC, political parties swung into action to nominate their candidates at the end of which, candidates have emerged to fly the flags of the political parties that will contest the by-election.
To ensure a successful conduct of the by-election scheduled for August 11, 2018, Bauchi State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conclude arrangements to engage the services of 3500 ad-hoc staff for the exercise as was disclosed by the Director, Voters Education and Public Enlightenment, Yahaya Saliu, who said that the ad-hoc staff include, Collation Officers, Supervisory and Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers 1, 2 and 3.
He said that all the ad hoc staff will include civil servants of federal ministries, departments and agencies, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members as well as students of tertiary institutions in the state adding that the training of the ad-hoc staff will commence immediately after they are recruited.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Bauchi State, Ibrahim Abdullahi had, at a meeting with stakeholders which included representatives of various political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), security agencies and the media, announced that the commission received a letter from the Senate president on July, 13th declaring the Bauchi South senatorial seat vacant following the death of late Senator Ali Wakili, explaining that based on the Senate’s action and in line with Section 76 (2) and 25 (2) of the Electoral Act, INEC is mandated to conduct a by-election to fill the vacuum within 30 days and after due consultations with the stakeholders, August 11th, was announced as the date for the by-election.
According to the REC, the by-election will be held in 445 voting points, 1, 499 polling Units in the 75 wards of the seven local government areas of Bauchi, Toro, Dass, Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro, Alkaleri and Kirfi, which make up the senatorial district.
1. Muhammed Aminu Tukur
He is the member of the Bauchi State House Assembly presently representing Lere/Bula constituency of Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area elected on the paltform the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). After he could not achieve his aspiration to the Senate, he dumped his party to join the Action Peoples Party (APP) for what he described as lack of transparency in the selection process of the APC. After dumping the APC, he was given the ticket of the APP and he is confident of winning the by-election.
While addressing journalists on his reason for dumping the APC, the lawmaker explained that his decision was as a result of the party’s failure to conduct a credible party primary election through the direct voting system that would have allowed all card-carrying members to vote for a candidate of their choice as directed by the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomwhole.
According to him, all the aspirants had completed preparations for the exercise but were later around 5pm on Wednesday just few hours before the primaries, summoned by the leadership of the party a meeting at the party’s secretariat where they were that the primary election would be conducted through delegates, voting system and that he and others who withdrew from the race did not trust the delegates voting system.
Aminu Tukur who belongs to the camp of the party loyal to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, alleged that he did not know the delegates designated for the primary election and was sure there was going be a predetermined result of the exercise. Therefore, he decided to join another party be fair to him.
He is banking on the support of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, he has represented on many occasions coupled with the fact that he is from LereBula, the same constituency with the late Senator Ali Wakili. This he believes may give him an edge over others.
He claims that he is the right man for the job because new senator should emerge from late Ali Wakili’s home town on the ground of justice, fairness and equity. He also believes he is the most qualified for the job being a two-term member of the State Assembly where he had been able to acquaint himself with legislative works and procedures.
Aminu Tukur said that, “the abolition of the use of delegates at the party primary election is what inspired and motivated me to run. I believe that will provide a level playing ground to all aspirants.” The problem, however, is that he may not have enough time to sell his new political platform,the Action Peoples Party (APP).
2. Maryam Garba Bagel
Maryam Garba Bagel is the member representing Dass Constituency at the Bauchi State House of Assembly. She was elected under the banner of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) during the 2015 election but because she could not achieve her aspiration of contesting the Bauchi South senatorial district by-election under the APC, she dumped the party and pitched her tent with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and eventually got the party’s ticket to contest the by-election.
Maryam Garba Bagel belongs to the APC camp loyal to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara announced her decision to dump the party following what she described as irreconcilable political differences before and after the party congresses held recently.
“I want to use this medium to inform the general public and my teeming supporters, that I have officially changed my political party from the APC to the SDP,” she said.
She further explained: “My decision became necessary due to lack of internal democracy within the state chapter of the party which obvious during the last congresses, and which I and many others challenged through various official means but is yet to be resolved.
I fear that the current situation of the APC in the state will not provide me with a fair playing ground to participate in the current contest for the seat of the Senate in the by-election to be conducted soon. It has, therefore, become obligatory for me in the interest of the people I intent to represent and the development of my constituency, to move to another progressive party that can provide me with all the opportunities I require.”
“I also want to appeal to my constituents to mobilize votes for me and come out en masse to vote for me so that those that think they can manipulate party officials because they are in power, will remember where they came from and that in Bauchi we are smatter.”
She, however, has to contend with the ‘discrimination’ of feminism considering the fact that majority of the electorate are not so politically enlightened to want to elect a woman as a senator, even though she was able to scale that huddle to become the only female member of the House and a very vocal one for that matter.
3. Isa Yuguda
He is the immediate past governor of Bauchi State who governed for eight years after he had served as minister for five years in the eight years of the Olusegun Obasanjo led PDP administration. He emerged the candidate of the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN) for the Bauchi South senatorial by-election after dumping the PDP at the end of his eight-year tenure as Governor of the state.
Isa Yuguda emerged candidate of the GPN following a voice affirmation by all the delegates during the party primary held at its State secretariat in Tirwun area of Bauchi on Wednesday to meet the deadline given by the Independent Natinal Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct and submission of names of candidates for the by-election. Though he was the only constant at the primaries, in line with the guidelines of the party, there must be voice affirmation by the delegates that had gathered for the exercise.
While accepting his nomination, the former governor promised that he will provide effective representation of the area if eventually elected as the senator, calling on members of the party to work for its success at the polls. He however warned them to avoid campaign of violence but rather engage in campaign of issues and good governance, which he said the area requires. He then proceeded to Dass to open the office of the GPN and kick start his campaign for the by-election.
Though he lost the senatorial seat on the platform of the PDP in 2015 to late Ali Wakili who was elected under the APC, Isa Yuguda remains loved by the majority of the electorate in the state due to his generosity and friendly disposition to all thereby making him the candidate to beat in the by-election.
The only thing that may work against his aspiration is that he is coming under a new platform which is a new political party in the state, the GPN, of which he is believed to be the major financer. In spite of that, he is a crowd puller anytime anywhere in the state; but contesting against government in power may prove a difficult game for him even though he is not new to such considering how he won the governorship seat in 2007 few months after he left the PDP for the then All Nigeria Peoples Party and defeated the government in power then led by his predecessor, Ahmadu Adamu Muazu.
4. Hon. Lawal Gumau
He is the member presently representing Toro Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, and he emerged as the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the by-election due to what many believed was the preference of the party leadership in the state considering his unalloyed ‘loyalty’ to the state governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, in spite of the perceived ‘gang up’ against the governor by the ‘Abuja politicians’.
During the APC primary election, Lawal Gumau polled a total of 847 votes to defeat his closest contestants in Dr. Danjuma Adamu Dabo, who polled a total of 776 votes, Dr. Safiya Ilyasu Muhammad, who polled 519 votes; Alhaji Ahmad Shuaibu who polled 8 votes, Muhammad Hassan Tilde, who polled three votes, while Kabir Tahir polled one votes.
While speaking as he announced the results of the primaries, Chairman of the Election Committee, Mr. Phillip Shaibu, commended the delegates and the entire APC members in the state for exhibiting what he described as high sense of maturity, especially towards ensuring the peaceful conduct of the election.
Philip Shaibu who is the deputy governor of Edo State, called for mutual understanding and cooperation among the party members for the success of the candidate during the conduct of the by-election proper, because, according to him the party cannot afford to lose the seat to another party, particularly at this period when it needs people who will defend its ideology at the National Assembly.
While speaking with newsmen shortly after his election, Lawal Gumau pledged that if voted in as senator, he would improve the living condition of the people of the constituency through viable constituency projects, just as he commended the delegates and the entire APC members for giving him the opportunity.
His advantage is that he is a grassroots politician having served in various elective positions in the state. He was a member of the House of Assembly representing Toro constituency on two occasions before his elevation to the House of Representatives. However, the hurdles he may face is that he is not an all-rounder in the seven local government areas that make up the Bauchi South senatorial district, but will depend on the might of the Governor to do the magic for him.
5. Hussaini Umar
A lawyer, Mr Hussaini Umar holds the traditional title of MajiKiran Bauchi and is a young and passionate politician committed to helping the people of Bauchi in their quest to have a sustainable future a quest that has kept him in the political arena for a decade during which he has therefore amassed the requisite skill to usher in some positive change.
It has been a source of concern to him that Bauchi State is not counted as the most prosperous and economically vibrant in Nigeria in spite of the fact that it has all it takes to be in the forefront in the league of economic prosperity. This has spurred him to aspire for the Senate under the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP).
Hussein Umar is from Toro Local Government of Bauchi State. He was born on the 15th, March 1972. He attended Rinji Primary School, Rinjin Gaini Toro, Bauchi State between 1978 and proceeded to the Government Teachers College, Toro, from 1984 to 1990, and then Bauchi College of Arts & Science between 1990 and 1991, after which he gained admission into the prestigious University of Jos between 1991 and 1997.
He started his political tutelage when he was elected as national president of the National Union of Bauchi State Students (NUBASS) between 1996 and 1997 did his national service 1997-1998 after which he attended the Nigeria Law School 1999-2000.
He was a counsel at Ocheche & Ocheche Chambers between 2000-2003 and Counsel, Ibrahim Umar & Co Chambers between 2003-2004 before becoming a senior counsel at Musa Yamtah & Co Chambers between2004-2007 thereafter he became the proprietor and principal partner of The Capital Law Office 2007-date as well as Associate of Carllthon & Carllthon London, United Kingdom.
He also served as Deputy Head Corporate and Commercial Section, Turks & Serhatt Ankara, Republic of Turkey; associate and Head of International Law and Corporate Matters Section at Gultheriz & Salmon Law Firm, Federal Republic of Germany and chairman, NoonHam Group.
With all these in his kitty, the political nut he has to crack is how to effectively mobilize the electorate to his side, particularly considering that he is a young politician who is just coming into real political contest couple, with the fact that he is contesting with more mature politicians who have been there before and know how to swing the electorate to their sides.
6. Dr Ladan Salihu
He is the immediate former director-general of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) He was elected as the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Bauchi South senatorial by-election scheduled to hold on the 11th of August after he polled a total of 575 votes at the party primaries to defeat Garba Dahiru, a former Commissioner for Finance in the immediate past PDP administration led by former governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda.
While announcing the results of the primaries held at Command Guest House, Bauchi, chairman of PDP Bauchi South Senatorial by-election Committee, Victor Kwon, disclosed that a total of 772 delegates were accredited for the primaries out of which a total of 769 actually cast their votes. He announced that Hajara Yakubu Wanka polled a total of 35 votes while Dahiru Garba polled a total of 96 votes and Ladan Salihu polled a total of 575 votes just as 63 votes were voided.
The primaries committee chairman then declared that, “having scored the highest total number of votes cast and fulfilled all the requirements of the primaries, I, Victor Kwon, Chairman of the South senatorial by-election Primaries hereby declares. Dr Ladan Salihu as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the Bauchi South senatorial by-election scheduled to hold on the 11th of August, 2018.” and then appealed to the other contestants that lost in the primaries to rally round Ladan Salihu, remain resolute and work for the party to emerge victorious in the by-election.
In his post-election speech, Ladan Salihu thanked the delegates for considering him worthy to be the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the by-election, and pledged to do everything humanly possible to get victory for the party and declared that he would give a good representation for the Bauchi South senatorial district if eventually elected in the by-election, calling on those who contested with him but lost to see it as an of God and rally round the party to emerge victorious at the end.
Though he is popular and loved by the people, he is seen as a ‘green horn’ in the political scene of the state; but the support of big-time politicians like former Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Muhammad Abdulkadir, and others who were architects of his emergence as the candidate of the PDP are what he is relying on for the contest.
Going by the personalities of the candidates of the various political parties, the outcome of the by election will be a dress rehearsal for the 2019 general election in the state.
Bauchi Police ready the by-election
Meanwhile, the Bauchi State Police Command has assured that the forthcoming Bauchi South Senatorial by-election will be effectively policed to avoid breakdown of law and order before, during and after the exercise, as disclosed by the Command Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Kamal Datti Abubakar while fielding questions from news men. He said that the Command has put in place adequate security arrangements in collaboration with sister security agencies in the state.
The PPRO explained that, “since the by-election will take place in just one section of the state involving seven local government areas, we are going to mobilise officers and men from other divisions in order to have enough personnel for exercise” explaining that as test run, the command deployed all its officers and men to the various locations where the primaries were held saying that the deployed officers and men were there just to keep law and order and from the reports received by the command they did not meddle in the conduct of the exercises.
He, however, appealed to political parties, politicians and their supporters to conduct themselves in orderly manner in order to avoid breakdown of law and order during campaigns across the seven local government areas He warned that the command will not hesitate to arrest anyone found breaching the law, no matter his or her status.
The Police Spokesman said, “ politics is not war therefore, people should conduct themselves in orderly manner, accept defeat in good faith and ensure that things were done in a civilised manner. Our officers and men have been trained not to molest anyone but to maintain law and order “.
For those who have plans of using the conduct of the exercise to forment trouble, the PPRO assured that, “the long arms of the law will catch up with such people no matter who they are. Bauchi is known for political peace and it will remain so”.
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