NASSARAWA: A LONE PARTY AT WAR
In Nasarawa State the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dominates the political environment. Apart from having ruled the state for the past 12 years, it presently controls the majority of seats in the House of Assembly and majority of the National Assembly seats. It is therefore, not surprising that the party has within its fold the who-is-who in the politics of the state. They include the former governor of the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, and the incumbent governor, Aliyu Akwe Doma.
However, this has not always been so. At the inception of the present democratic dispensation, the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP) known then as the All Peoples Party (APP) had a visible presence in the state. Then, it had as one of its strongest members, Governor Doma, who is a former deputy governor of old Plateau State during the tenure of Chief Solomon Lar contested the 1999 governorship election on the platform of the party and lost to Adamu, who was the PDP candidate. In 2003, Doma contested again and still lost to the former governor.
Towards the twilight of the Adamu administration, Doma crossed over to the PDP. He clinched the governorship ticket of the party and later emerged as governor in the 2007 governorship election.
Informed sources said the defection of Doma to the ruling party was the end of the ANPP and by extension, the dead of opposition political parties in the state. After the 2007 election, opposition political parties fizzled away in the state until recently.
Preparatory to the 2011 general elections, all the leading politicians with the ambition of leading the state congregated in the PDP, which they believed would make their governorship dreams realizable. Notable among these politicians were Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura and Aboki. As the days drew near, Al-Makura and Aboki feared that they may not stand a chance against Doma in the PDP governorship primaries and defected to other political parties to pursue their dreams. While Al-Makura joined the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Aboki found a new political home in the Labour Party(LP).
Daily Sun gathered that the defection of Al-Makura to the CPC had given some force to the opposition in the state. Al-Makura emerged as the CPC gubernatorial candidate for the April 16 governorship polls. He has become a key opposition figure in the state and the rallying point of opposition political parties. Those in the know said that his emergence on the political scene has been giving the ruling PDP a serious concern.
The state government seemed frightened by the personality of Al-Makura. This is attributable to the acclaimed popularity of the CPC governorship candidate. But that is where the matter ends. Though Al-Makura is said to be popular in the state. Neither he nor his political party has a formidable structure. The CPC in Nasarawa State is seemingly a one-man party weaved round the person of the governorship candidate.
Commissioner for Information, Mr Mamman Alakayi, dismissed the CPC candidate. He said neither he, his new party or any party poses a threat to the PDP. According to him, there is no politician of note within the CPC.
But the party may, however, spring some surprises in the election. Recently, the former minister of works, Alhaji Hassan Lawal dumped the PDP for CPC. It is believed that aggrieved PDP members may join ranks with CPC in the next election.
Besides the PDP and the CPC, the other political parties in the state like the LP exist more in name. A recent visit to the state reveals that nothing suggests that the other parties are on ground in the state.
This situation has left the battle, virtually open for the PDP, and the PDP alone