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SAMBO'S EXIT IN KADUNA

By NBF News
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'Yes, there exists a memorandum of understanding that governorshipwould rotate within the three Senatorial zones. That's why when I served two terms from zone one, nobody from zone one aspired for it in 2007.

Now, Central (zone two) is serving its first term. Of course, anybody from zone three (Southern Kaduna) has the right to go for it. But, like I said, the PDP like a party, except for a situation in Anambra, in 2003, where an incumbent didn't get the party's ticket for second term, and maybe future developments will determine that. But, naturally, you expect an incumbent to be favoured for a second term,' those were the words of Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi, immediate past Kaduna State governor, when he spoke exclusively with Daily Sun, sometime last year.

Interestingly, Makarfi granted the interview before the cosmetic reconciliation between him and his successor, Vice President Namadi Sambo took place early this year.

And expectedly, the interview, which the Sambo's group saw as an affront on the government, rattled the Sambo's camp, as it was taken to mean Makarfi's camp's readiness and determination to stop Sambo from securing a second term in office, a challenge the Sambo group did not take lightly, as it took several pages on the newspapers to throw mud at the person of Makarfi, insisting that he was not being fair to the governor.

The crisis reached its peak with the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, (ALGON), Kaduna State chapter and the State House of Assembly taking sides with the governor, threatening to sanction Makarfi for daring to 'disparage' the governor on the pages of newspaper.

If the Southern Kaduna people had known that a day like penultimate Thursday would come, they would have wished someone else, and not Yakowa, incumbent governor, was Sambo's running mate in 2007. Yakowa, Sunday Sun learnt cannot be said to be among the best 11 from the Southern part of the State, in terms of political sagacity and that of dispensing political patronage. This is aside from the fact that even among the Southern Kaduna people, he is from a minority tribe. All these would certainly work against him as the race for 2011 begins.

To further confirm the above fact, the streets of Kaduna are already littered with posters of possible aspirants from the Kaduna Central Senatorial District. Sunday Sun has it on good authority that one reason the deputy governor is coming from Zone 1, Kaduna North Senatorial District, instead of Zone 2, Kaduna Central Senatorial District, which ordinarily ought to have produced the candidate for the seat, was informed by the fact that come 2011, Zone 2 would still have to produced the governor.

'I think our Southern Kaduna brothers and sisters should be magnanimous in this temporary victory over our people. There is an arrangement on ground; I think it is only fair that they should allow us complete our tenure, which ends in 2015. But if they insist, then we go to the polls and see if their candidate can beat anyone we are presenting.

'Even if in the end, we are unable to get a strong deputy governor, who can run in 2011, we have several aspirants waiting in the wings, and I think it is only fair that we respect the understanding concerning power rotation in the State,' a government source, from the northern Senatorial zone of the State said.

However, in a swift reaction, another government official from the Southern part of the State told Sunday Sun that 'whatever it will take, we are ready to give it.

Even if Yakowa doesn't want to run, he must show interest, he must run, come 2011.'

Reminded that Yakowa is from a minority group even in the Southern Kaduna area, the government official noted that it was not an issue, insisting that a 'Southern Kaduna man is a Southern Kaduna man,' adding that 'we are aware of this issue of being tight-fisted too, the truth is that the man's budget allocation is small'.

In 2007, the Southern Kaduna people were desirous in producing the governor.

To this end, among those who participated in the primaries from the zone alone were: Senator Isaiah Balat, Yakowa, late Garba Ali Madaki, former Works minister and former Accountant-General of the State, Haruna Said. Sunday Sun gathered that the people of the area are the architect of their own misfortunes.

They are like the Idoma in Benue State, 'unorganized and always working' at cross purposes.

If the zone can speak with one voice, it would certainly be difficult for any group to push it aside in the scheme of things in the State. For instance, during the 2007 primaries, even when Yakowa knew that there was no way he could make it, he joined the race, probably to use it as a bargaining tool.

And in the end, the votes from the area was not only divided among the four aspirants, but majority of the people never voted for Senator Balat, yet Senator Balat emerged second, as Sambo could not get the required votes to be declared winner of the election. It was only during the re-run; Sunday Sun further learnt that Sambo eventually emerged as the candidate. And even at that, analysts believe that Makarfi used both 'conventional and unconventional' means to rail-road Sambo to power, right from the primary election stage, which many believed was Senator Isaiah Balat's for grabs, to the general elections.

At Press time, the name of the deputy governor-designate, Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero, had been sent to the House after about two weeks of brouhaha over his nomination. After series of meetings, shortly after his swearing in, Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa settled for one time company accountant of his former boss (Sambo) and incumbent Finance Commissioner, Yero, as his new deputy.

However, Sunday Sun findings revealed that his nomination, contradicts the existing zoning arrangement in the State. The deputy governor-designate is from Zaria, which in Zone 1, Kaduna North Senatorial District, whereas Zone 2, where the governor comes from ought to have produced the deputy.

And because of this obvious but deliberate anomaly, stakeholders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the State, especially the lawmakers, who insisted that having lost the opportunity of 'getting anything' under Sambo, the only way they could be compensated was to appoint one of their own as the deputy governor, opposed the nomination, initially before reluctantly accepting to let go by last Wednesday.

And the governor reacts
Speaking for the first time over the matter last Wednesday, the governor appealed to the people of the State, especially Journalists to exercise restraint over the matter, even as he assured that 'very soon' the matter would be resolved.

He spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Reuben Buhari.

The governor said that the speculations over who becomes the deputy governor of a State regarded as a 'mini Nigeria' was expected, but was quick to add that it was unnecessary.

According to him 'the issue of who gets to be the deputy governor of our dear State which has become the subject of speculations in both print and broadcast media is expected but unnecessary.

'The selection of a deputy governor for a State that is regarded as a mini Nigeria with the third highest population in the country is not a child's play, especially in view of the fact that Kaduna State has been known to exhibit certain peculiarities at the slightest provocation.

This buttresses the fact that the selection needs to be handled with care and with all sense of maturity.

'To this end, this administration appeal to the media to apply restraint in speculation and be patient. Very soon, the State will announce the name of the new deputy governor-designate.

'Mindful of the fact that the journey may not be easy and conscious of the significance of support of the people of Kaduna State to the attainment of the set goals of this present administration, His Excellency further asked all to consider the task of developing Kaduna State as the responsibilities of all.

'The efficacy of strength inherent in unity should be exploited by all so that tomorrow we will have a Kaduna of our dream that will be a pride to our children and the envy of others', he said.

Why Yero was picked
Sunday Sun gathered authoritatively that Yero, who though cannot be said to be a politician by Nigerian standard, was picked because of his 'deep knowledge' of the administration.

As Finance commissioner, Sunday Sun learnt that he was like the engine room of the administration, hence the governor decided to zero on him to assist in piloting the affairs of the State.

'You see contrary to the things you guys are writing, it was the governor that picked the commissioner himself. He was never imposed on him. The governor knew his role in the administration when he (governor) was the deputy, so the man needed someone who will help and assist him to take off properly. This is the truth.

'And let me tell you, those who are fighting him (Yero) are doing so because they know the man is very, very frank. He is not like other Nigerian politicians that will tell you something is white, when in actual fact it is black. That is why some don't like him, that is why some feel he is arrogant. The man is not, but he is a very frank man,' a source volunteered.

Sambo's exit as Makarfi's return to power in Kaduna?

Makarfi, who was governor for eight years, like Vice President Sambo, was also a commissioner in the State under the military before becoming governor.

He was in firm control of the PDP machinery in the State up till 2007. But shortly after 2007, typical of Nigerian politicians, a few of those in the PDP, including those who served under him decided to shift loyalty to the then governor. But he appears to understand the game of power, better than his successor; as such he was set to deplore that experience in 2011, in a bid to unseat Sambo, before the political equations suddenly change.

However, Sunday Sun gathered that with the exit of Sambo, from the political equation in the State, and especially because Makarfi not only made Yakowa Secretary to the State Government but also deputy governor in 2005 and contributed to his emergence as Sambo's running mate in 2007, he is expected to have the ears of the new governor. If that happens, then Makarfi is expected to take the driver's seat, with a view to calling the shots in the State, despite Sambo's position as Vice President.

But the State Commissioner for Information and Home Affairs, Saidu Adamu, disclosed that 'nobody can tamper with the PDP structures in the State, the State machineries are very much in place, and the government is running.'

Yakowa and post 2011
If Sambo had not been elevated, thus paving way for Yakowa to be governor, he may not have had the opportunity of running with Sambo in 2011, as a running mate. In fact, he may have either opted for the Senate or just end his political career on that note. By the end of 2011, he would have been deputy governor twice, and by virtue of the provisions of the 1999 constitution, there was no way he would have been in the seat for the third time.

But now that he is governor, he has the opportunity of running for the governorship in 2011, if the political temperament in the State allows it. However, if it does not, it means, Yakowa would have ended his political journey on that note, as he may no longer have the opportunity of running for another term as governor, even in 2015, that is if the political calculations favour the Southern Zone in producing the governor.

Analysts are however of the view that what he does with power, within this few months, will go a long way in determining his future political career.

Last line
Will Yakowa or any Southern Kaduna be allowed to emerge governor in 2011? It seems only time will tell.