While on the one hand political gladiators are warming -up and talks have commenced in top gear at different levels on the prospects on forming political alliances and realignments ahead of 2019. The future still remains pregnant with different permutations going round.
On the other hand the average voter is keenly watching and waiting for election. Already they have attained the highest level of sophistication. Voters in Kaduna state are usually progressive in nature and are now more conscious of the power of their ballot than they had ever been before, thus; a clear indication that politics in 2019 would be tough. The key voter consideration might just be the quality of candidates and not political parties.
A careful review of the current situation in the Kaduna political landscape, analysts have came -up wth the following political scenarios in the APC:
That the APC will implode into two (2) factions, namely;
*I). The main stream APC*
This group is comprised of the retinue of the governor’s aids, some party executives, their families and supporters.
The leader of this group is governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufa’i. Some critics however referred to them *as ‘APC Government House and El-Rufa’i as the Garrison Commandant”.* This is probably because of the way governance and party activities are carried out in the state. It is no longer about what the citizens want but what the governor wants. The group has the advantage of the incumbency factor, they have the state machinery and have at its disposal huge financial resources.
El- Rufa’i is rumoured to be nursing 3 different political ambitions depending on the circumstances.
Earlier it was that of becoming the Vice President for Professor Yemi Osibanjo at the time insinuations were ripe that President Muhammadu Buhari would be permanently indisposed. With that hope being dashed for El-Rufa’i, it is now about becoming the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the event that PMB will not seek re-election in 2019, however, El-Rufa’i is hoping that based on his closeness with Mr. President, he will call and direct him to contest for the Presidency with his full support. It is also possible based on El-Rufa’is believe that PMB may sponsor Professor Yemi Osibanjo to contest the presidency with Nasir El-Rufa’I as his running mate. Lastly, El-Rufa’i will desires to run for the governorship office for a second term in the event that the first 2 ambitions failed.
*II). The aggrieved APC*
There is every likelihood of an implosion within the APC in Kaduna State, presently, there is a merger in progress of the different groups within APC that felt betrayed by El-Rufa’i. They include members of Kaduna Restoration Group KRG, APC Akida, APC Tagumi etc. The major stakeholders are Senator Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, Senator Shehu Sani, Hon. Isa Ashiru, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Alhaji Tijjani Ramalan and Alhaji Haruna Sa’eed.
Although the merger of these aggrieved members is still in its formative stage, but their primary objective is to stop El-Rufa’i at any cost. They are being driven by the spirit *_“let any one be governor amongst them with the popular support base, but certainly not El-Rufa’i”_* this in their claim is to free Kaduna State from the shackles of bad governance. They opined that their primary responsibility is the collective good of Kaduna State citizens.
This group may be working on an alternative political platform along with the majority of serving members of state and National Assemblies sympathetic to the Group and or haven fallen victims of El-Rufa’i betrayal themselves. The group may chart its own dummy political structure of all the available national and state elective positions in preparation for a showdown.
Events of the coming months in the center may significantly influence the direction of this group.
The group realised early though that this is a battle for survival, and as such would not be willing to allow El-Rufa’i to send them to extinction in their prime. A good example is in the two (2) Senatorial Zones I and II, where it is common knowledge that if truce failed to reconcile El-Rufa’i with the aggrieved members, it then means both Senators Hunkuyi and Sani would be denied APC tickets. Already Uba Sani, who is the Political Adviser to the governor is eyeing Senator Shehu Sani’s seat in Zone II; Equally, Hon Sulaiman Abdu Kwari, the commissioner of Finance and Bashir Saidu the Chief of Staff either of them may be asked by El-Rufa’i to contest against Senator Hunkuyi in Zone . Several members of house of reps, that are considered to be ” hostile ” to the governor, may also hv their seats challenged by government sponsored candidates. The likes of Barrister Muhammad Musa Soba of Soba Federal constituency, Dr Muhammad Usman of Makarfi/Kudan Federal Constituency, Alh Hassan Adamu Shekarau of Birnin Gwari /Giwa federal constituency and others are perceived to be in this category. In Kaduna North Federal constituency, two “government apologists” are likely going to slug it out . The incumbent, Hon Samaila Suleman and the immidiate past member , Alh Shehu ABG. Although, the incumbent is said to have done tremendously well in terms of constituency projects, securing of employments to over 30 indigens , his opponent’s record as a cheerful giver to political juggernauts and party executives may be his own “joker”.
The APC in kaduna state, is no doubt dancing on the brink and may exit the political scene, if adequate steps are not taken in containing the intra party squabbles that may consume the party. Already, The state is the ONLY state in the North West, that PDP made a significant outing in 2015, with the ONLY PDP Senator in the whole of the North West,coming from the state. Another Factor that may likely pose a threat to APC in kaduna state, is the fact that the PDP National Chairman and the Immidiate past Vice president, comes from the state and may deploy huge human and material resources in reclaiming the state.
Muhammad Lawal Shehu is a member of the Kaduna Restoration Group.