IN YOBE, PDP VOWS TO UNSEAT GAIDAM
The 2011 battle for the gubernatorial seat in Yobe State is one between the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daily Sun can authoritatively reveal .Other political parties seemed to have either gone into oblivion, or tactically swallowed by the ruling party in the state, ANPP.
While ANPP insists that it would continue to rule because of its pact with the electorate in the state, PDP has vowed that the game is up and it would topple the ruling party at next year election.
ANPP which has been holding sway since 1999 has lost some of its stalwarts including, Senator Usman Albishir to internal wrangling, and of recent, the Commissioner for Integration, Mohammed Saleh, a former gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of ANPP to PDP.
Chairman of ANPP, Alhaji Inuwa Sani Nguru told Daily Sun that the movement of Senator Albishir and others would have no effect on the party's third journey to the Government House in Damaturu.
According to Alhaji Nguru, Yobe was an ANPP state and the people of the state would accept nothing less than the party adding that all other parties were alien. He said those who popularized the PDP were those who left ANPP, but since they left, they have lost relevance .
'The people no longer recognize them, and as such they will not get support from the people'.
Nguru mentioned that their movement to the opposition party was a normal thing pointing out that credible individuals have refused to defect. 'It was a big mistake for Senator Albishir, Architect Saleh, Ali Gadaka and Lawan Mai Goroma to have defected, the ANPP in the state is still one big family', he said.
The ANPP chief argued that the party was confident of cooperation and support unprecedented because of the performance of Gaidam since he took over the reign of leadership. He said Governor Gaidam has disappointed many critics who thought he would fail as a leader, stressing that the governor has constructed several roads and provided accommodation facilities among others in the state capital and all the headquarters of the 17 local government areas of the state. Gaidam's performance according to him would give the party a landslide victory in 2011.
ANPP has since given Governor Ibrahim Gaidam its flag to fly in 2011.
But some are of the opinion that the action would jeopardize the ANPP fortune, as people like the former Commissioner for Finance and a tactician under the government of late Senator Mamman Bello Ali, Alhaji Hassan Mohammed who has his eyes on the seat is aggrieved.
Mohammed had threatened that he would go to court to challenge the ticket that was given to Governor Gaidam without a consensus, but to the surprise of many, the same Mohammed last month showed up at the Government House in Damaturu to pledge loyalty to the incumbent governor and was full of praises for Gaidam.
Governor Gaidam was deputy to late Senator Mamman Ali until the demise of the latter on January 27, 2009 . Even the respected Senator Ahmad Lawan, Senate Chairman Public Accounts who stood by Senator Usman Albishir throughout the 3 year legal battle that followed the substitution of Albishir refused to join his confidant, Senator Albishir who defected to PDP after losing the 3 year court cases to the incumbent governor.
Senator Lawan said during his courtesy visit that he had not visited the state for the past 3 years because he was uncomfortable with the hostility of the previous government, but that Gaidam has proven himself as a worthy governor that was ready to accommodate all Yobeans for the development of the state. He said it was wrong for a member to defect because of differences pointing out that the courts have after all settled the matter that almost torn the party apart and that it was normal for all to come back together as one strong family to push for economic growth and development.
Alhaji Mohammed Juluri, former member of the National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC) who resigned as Special Adviser on Economics after the death of Senator Ali, has refused to join the camp of defectors. It was rumoured that the astute politician would defect to PDP, but he only recently renewed support for Governor Gaidam.
While the ANPP had settled for the incumbent governor as its candidate for 2011, PDP keeps its supporters guessing. But it has formidable aspirants in the likes of Engineer Yakubu Bello, Senator Usman Albishir and Alhaji Hassan Saleh who have shown interest in the exalted office.
Daily Sun investigation, however revealed that two time candidate and Minister for Police Affairs, Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri is also interested in the PDP ticket.
For Senator Albishir the PDP gubernatorial ticket could be a tall dream. Many members of the party, investigation revealed are against his ambition, but a few have the conviction that he could clinch the governorship seat for PDP, if he is allowed to be the candidate. Hassan Saleh was a former Secretary to the military government .
Since his retirement, the technocrat has been garnering support and has openly declared his interest in the race but a PDP source disclosed that “Saleh is still new in the party.“
Engineer Bello seemed to have been enjoying the support of majority of members of the party, but those sympathetic to his ambition have suddenly developed cold feet, when they learnt that the Minister of Police Affairs, Maina Waziri has shown interest.
Even as the people of Yobe know the PDP gladiators for the race, Chairman of the party, in the state , Alhaji Abba Gana Tata told Daily Sun that he was not aware of any aspirants for now. He said the state party was waiting for the release of guidelines from its national secretariat before forms would be open to aspirants to purchase.
Alhaji Tata explained that the party might agree on a consensus candidate when the guideline is out, or go for primaries. He said the party has no problem, and that every step has been taken to uproot ANPP come 2011.
But Chairman of the Action Congress (AC) in the state, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni informed Daily Sun that his party was in alliance with the state ANPP because of the performance of Governor Gaidam. He said his party which is the major opposition in the state would support a government that was living above board.
AC, according to him remains a factor in the state, and would continue to play politics in a manner that would bring development to the state for the benefit of all and sundry.