The search for a deputy governor for Kaduna State heightened on Friday as various groups intensified the lobby for the plum job.
The position became vacant after the exit of Governor Patrick Yakowa, who died in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa State on Saturday.
Yakowa, alongside his friend, Dauda Tsoho, died with ex-National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi and three others.
The then deputy governor of the state, Mukhtar Yero, was immediately sworn in as the substantive governor to replace the late Yakowa. The development left the deputy governor’s seat vacant.
As a result of the death of Yakowa, the position of the deputy governor automatically goes to the Southern Kaduna after the swearing-in of Yero as required by the constitution.
The situation has already pitted the various groups in the southern part of the state against one another.
But it was learnt that Yero prefers working with a young man as his deputy than picking anybody from the league of old politicians in the state.
Our correspondent gathered that since the death of the former governor, a number of names had been shortlisted for the job.
Initially, the name of Yakowa’s widow, Amina, was touted as one of those being tipped to be the new deputy governor of the state, but there is a fresh indication that other names have emerged following the rejection of the job by the late governor’s wife.
It was gathered that Yakowa’s wife declined the offer outright and instead nominated the Chef of Staff and a childhood friend of her late husband, Mr. Aboki Galadima.
“In fact, when some people, based on their selfish interest, flew the kite that the Presidency and traditional rulers in the North met with the governor and the vice-president for the late governor’s wife to be made the deputy governor, madam was actually not happy. She felt that those pushing for her nomination as the deputy governor were not doing her any good.
“But she was requested to nominate a candidate for the position and she decided on her late husband’s friend. (Aboki) Galadima was the best man for the late governor during his wedding about 34 years back. So, they were really close friends. That is why madam chose him,” a source told our correspondent.
However, it was gathered that the governor rejected Yakowa’s nominee, saying that he would prefer to work with young men like himself.
Therefore, the battle now, according to the Saturday PUNCH’s investigations, is between the young and the old schools.
The names of the young men being tipped for the deputy governorship position are Jonathan Asake, Umar Barde, Danjuma Lar, Mark Jacob, Allamagani Yohana and Charity Shekari.
In the ‘old school’ league are a former Nigerian Ambassador to Poland and the current state PDP chairman, Nuhu Bajoga; Mr. Hassan Hyet, Aboki Galadima and Nuhu Wya
But it was learnt that the governor may likely go for those that he regards as his peers among Asake, Barde, Jacob and Yohana.
If the governor maintains his stance of picking a young man as the deputy governor, the odds seem to favour Asake.
This is because he played a prominent role in the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election.
He was a key member of the President’s campaign team – the ‘Neighbour-to-Neighbour’ campaign outfit.
Also, his closeness to the vice-president, as well as the former governor of the state, Ahmed Makarfi, might work for him.
The new governor may count on his wealth of experience as a former member of the House of Representatives, but his only minus, according to a source, is his radical posture.
Barde is a current member of the House of Representatives representing Chikun Federal Constituency.
He is said to be close to the former governor Makarfi but the odd against him is that the natives see him as half-Yoruba.
Another nominee, Jacob, who is currently in the Aviation ministry, was the state Attorney-General under the Makarfi Administration.
He is considered to be one of the ‘Makarfi boys.’
His chances seem to be slim. According to a source, at the inception of the Namadi Sambo Administration in the state, “he was so critical of that administration.”
Yohana was the Principal Private Secretary to the late Yakowa. He was also a commissioner in both the Sambo and Makarfi administrations. He seems to be in the good books of the two.
Also in the race is the widow of the late deputy governor of the state, Stephen Shekari, Charity.
She is said to be in the good book of the powers that be in the state.
The source said that the political camp of the vice-president, where the governor (Yero) belongs, who initially rooted for the former Minister of State for Power, Nuhu Wya, may settle for the former ambassador to Poland, Bajoga, who happens to be a personal friend to the vice-president.
“But the governor feels uncomfortable with his political godfather’s choice,” the source said.
It was learnt that all things being equal, the governor may send the names of his choice of deputy to the House of Assembly on Friday and “most probably, they may sit over the names on Monday after the final burial of the Yakowa.”
Meanwhile, the elders of Southern Kaduna said they were ready to work with the new governor in order to move the state forward after the death of their son.
The elders comprise the Board of Trustees of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, the Southern Kaduna Elders Consultative Forum, and the National Executive body, Port Harcourt branch.
They prayed that God will grant the new governor the wisdom and the courage to govern the state.