- The contest to replace late Senator Mustapha Bukar is getting intense by the day
- Late Senator Bukar was representing Katsina North in the Senate before he passed on last month
- Over 21 politicians are said to be interested in replacing him
A report by Daily Trust indicates that there has been an intense politicking among aspirants bidding to replace late Senator Mustapha Bukar in the Nigerian Senate.
According to the report, so far, over 21 persons have indicated interest directly or indirectly their intention to vie for the office, with majority of the aspirants coming from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the party of the deceased senator.
High-level consultations and nocturnal meetings are reportedly taking place daily in the zone which has 12 local governments to determine who gets selected.
Billboards, posters and banners have also been placed at strategic places while some aspirants have gone further, issuing intent letters to stakeholders, declaring their intention to seek the vacant Senate seat.
Politicians are said to be making moves to seek the support of their constituents even though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to issue a statement for a by-election.
According to the spokesperson of INEC in Katsina state, Buhari Abashe, no date has been fixed for the by-election.
A closer look at the prospective aspirant from the APC shows that former speaker, Katsina state House of Assembly, Umar Ya’u Gwajo Gwajo, who recently decamped to the APC is among the top contenders. He contested against the late Bukar in 2015 under his former party, the PDP.
The two House of Representatives members from the zone, namely Ahmed Babba Kaita ( representing Kankia, Kusada, Ingawa) and Nasir Zangon Daura ( representing Baure and Zango) are also among top contenders.
Also, among those being touted as gunning for the seat are the state commissioner of justice, Ahmed El- Marzuq, and that of resource development and son of a former senator who commands respect in the zone, Mustapha Mahmud Kanti.
The special adviser of science and technology to the governor, Dr. Rabe Nasir, and that of investment and international relation, Ibrahim Zakari Talba, are also said to be in the race. Their close ties with the state governor for being members of his cabinet may pull surprises for them.
A businessman, Dr. Salisu Ahmad Ingawa, and Arch A.K. Ahmed, who in 2011 contested the APC gubernatorial primary, are also seen as possible contenders. Ahmed, who heads water control agency in Lagos, is said have gone far ahead in his bid, sending letters intimating stakeholders on the need to give him a chance to carry on with the late Bukar’s legacies.
Others include Honourable Musa Haro, a Buhari staunched supporter, Alhaji Abdullahi Bukar, AIG Sani Ahmed (rtd), former House of Reps member, Professor Umar Adam Katsayal, as well as Honourable Lawal Garba.
Some of the critical factors that may play out in the emergence of the senator include the Daura Emirate council factor. The Daura zone, with 12 local government areas has five key councils that are strategic and they are: Daura, Zango, Baure, Sandamu and Maiadua.
They determine things in the zone. Any candidate that is not from one of the councils is seen as an outcast. The late senator belonged to one of the five councils, hence the speculations that they may insist on getting his replacement from one of the councils.
Also, a candidate who is a member of the Daura Emirate council will enjoy an added advantage. The late Senator Bukar held the title of Madawakin Daura and was jealously guarded by the “powers” of the council.
The recently conducted APC congresses will also be a determinant. The elected officials will form the electoral bodies for the party primaries ahead of the by-election. The ability of each of the prospective aspirants to get more delegates shall be a plus to him in getting the ticket.
Also one’s closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari, can swing the contest in his favour.
However, for the PDP only two persons are believed to have indicated interest to seek the party’s ticket in the by-election. They are Mani Nasarawa, a former House of Reps member, and Kabir Babba Kaita, a strong opposition politician.
Meanwhile, INEC yesterday said it was awaiting the formal declaration of the Senate seat vacant by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, before it could start the process of holding a by-election.
The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, said:
“We are still waiting for a declaration of vacancy from the presiding officer (Senate President) in order to kick start the by-election in Katsina state,” Oyekanmi said.
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the APC, Comrade Timi Frank, has warned his party and President Muhammadu Buhari not to overlook a 7- day ultimatum given by the leader of defunct new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) in the ruling party.
In a statement sent to NAIJ.com on Thursday, May 10, Comrade Frank, a member of the nPDP, said if the letter is not addressed, that will give impression that “we are no longer needed in the APC.”
Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje had on Wednesday, May 9 led a delegation on behalf of the nPDP bloc to protest what he described as 'maltreatment and exclusion' of his members in the scheme of things by the leaders of APC.
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