Kebbi 2015: Aliero, Sambawa Battle Governor Over Choice of Successor
Kebbi State Governor Saidu Nasamu Dakingari is locked in a political battle with his predecessor, Senator Adamu Aliero and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Samaila Sambawa over who succeeds him.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that the refusal by the three political heavyweights to yield ground has heightened fears that rival All Progressives' Congress (APC) might exploit the crisis to produce the next governor.
Dakingari, Aliero and Sambawa all belong to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to PDP sources, Aliero, who was governor between 1999 and 2007, and who anointed Dakingari successor, wants the governor to allow him produce the next governor.
Dakingari has, however, called Aliero's bluff, insisting that as a man who has outlived his political usefulness, the former governor should allow brighter minds steer the ship of state, a mutual friend of the warring politicians told Pointblanknews.com.
On the other hand, Sambawa, who lost out to Aliero in 2003, reportedly believes he has paid his dues in PDP, and should without question be Dakingari's successor.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that the only point of agreement between Aliero and Governor Dakingari is to stop Sambawa, a very wealthy businessman, from becoming governor.
Dakingari and Aliero, who are both retired Customs' officers, are so intimidated by Sambawa's profile in banking, politics and business, and fear that as governor he could become very difficult to manage, sources told Pointblanknews.com.
One of the strategies deployed by the duo is the promise of an automatic senatorial ticket to Sambawa in exchange for dropping his governorship ambition, disclosed a source.
The source however said the former minister, who feels he has suffered sufficient political humiliation in Kebbi PDP, “has refused to accept what he considers a Greek gift.
The Sambawa-Aliero rivalry dates back to 2002 when the former resigned from Inland Bank, seeking to stop Aliero, then a member of the then All Peoples Party (APP), from getting a second term as governor.
Aliero floored PDP's Sambawa.
As compensation, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Sambawa Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. He was later redeployed to the Ministry of Interior, before moving to head the ministry of youth and sports development.
On his part, Aliero served out his second term and negotiated a deal with President Obasanjo to deliver PDP. The payback was Obasanjo's successor, the late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua compensating Aliero with an appointment as Minister of Federal Capital Territory.
Dakingari has been facing mounting criticism from stake holder who list the newly commissioned airport as his only achievement in eight years.
Nothing daunted, the governor has reportedly
stacked an array of possible successors.
The candidates include retired Major General Sarkin Yaki Bello, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and the state PDP chairman Alhaji Mansiru Sheahu.
Other cards believed to be close to the governor's chest are a former Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Mallam Bello Ibrahim Gwandu, a professor at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Bande Besse and Abubakar Mallam, who also enjoys the support of Aliero.
Some elders in Northwest PDP are however worried that some candidates believed to enjoy the support of the governor parade tainted credentials.
They listed Bagudu, who with Dakingari's support stopped Aliero from returning as senator representing Kebbi Central senatorial district as one of the “tainted candidates.”
Scion of a very wealthy father, Bagudu was a family friend of the late maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha. He was involved in a deal with the Nigerian government to return $300 million stolen money. In exchange, government dropped all criminal charges against him.
Maj. Gen. Sarkin Bello had served as Commander, Joint Task Force (Operation Restore Hope) and later, General Officer Commanding 82 Division of Nigerian Army.
Bello's retirement from the Army in December 2012 alongside that of Commander, Infantry Corps, Jaji, Major General Mohammed D. Isah, had seen the northern political establishment accusing the Goodluck Jonathan administration of ethnic cleansing in the army.
“The concern in Kebbi PDP is if the (Jonathan) administration would be comfortable with a retired general who left service with so much bitterness returning as an elected governor,” a party official in the state told Pointblanknews.com.
A few months ago, the state PDP chairman Sheahu, who is believed to be the governor's leg man, reportedly hosted officials of the state wing of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN).
Shortly after the meeting, the council chairman Cheseo Nayhaya addressed a press conference urging Sheahu to contest the 2015 governorship election.
An official of the party in the state described the call as “scandalous.”
He said, “We know Government House, Birnin-Kebbi sponsored the sham endorsement. We, as party executives, cannot be referee and player in the same game. As an insider, it is morally wrong for a party chairman to contest in a primary election of the same party.
“It is not for nothing that blue-chip companies often forbid their employees and their families from participating in competitions involving their products. You cannot be a judge and prosecutor in the same matter,” he submitted.
A top PDP official in Abuja who didn't want to be mention admitted there was a mounting worry that the political rivalry in Kebbi PDP might tear the party apart.
“Kebbi is one state we cannot afford to lose. Be assured that we shall get all the stake holders to agree on how to deliver the party. If need be, we shall look for a neutral candidate who isn't tied to the apron strings of any of the three political godfathers,” he offered, stressing, “don't forget, no single individual can be greater than the party.”
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