By Ibrahim Sani Argungu
The last few weeks have been anything but hitchfree in the politics of the ruling APC in Kebbi state. Elders of the party, the very ones who, until lately have eaten on the same table and have fought together many political battles have been washing their dirty linings in the public glare.
The brouhaha and its attendant bad blood have pitched political soul mates against one another on account of who, between many contenders, should fly the gubernatorial ticket of the APC come 2023.
The powerful Personal Assistant to the Kebbi state Governor Alhaji Faruku Enabo and one of the elders of the party Alhaji Sani Zauro fired the first shot when, at different fora, they voiced views suggesting that the state Governor Senator Atiku Bagudu has zeroed his support on the current Justice Minister Abubakar Malami as the party’s gubernatorial candidate in 2023.
This gaffe by the two overzealous men sparked outrage within the party with many people condemning the controversial statements on the basis that all other contenders have the same right to aspire and that as the Governor of all, Atiku Bagudu should be seen to be circumspect and impartial in the way he throws his weight around.
Both the Governor’s elder brother of the same parents Alhaji Bello Bagudu, former Publicity Secretary of APC in Kebbi state Alhaji Sani Dododo and a notable respected elder of the party Alhaji Abdullahi Lamba also took positions which clearly run counter to the pro-Abubakar Malami sole governorship candidature.
The last time they spoke against one another through video recordings in social media, the elders were heard insulting one another and revealing each other’s past misdeeds.
While Sani Zauro swore that Atiku Bagudu contributed N20M to the 1999 governorship campaign effort of Adamu Aliero which single handedly won the election for him, Bello Bagudu while replying swore that nothing like that happened.
The gladiators are still recording videos, targeting and taking each other to the cleaners, all in an attempt to make their case and promote their respective aspirants.
In all of these, Governor Atiku Bagudu has kept a dignified silence, refusing to either confirm the tactless and infantile pro-Malami position or go with the position of his elder brother and his supporters. This silence by the Governor has further compounded matters for the two extreme positions by the gladiators. If it is true that the Governor has indeed taken a position to support Malami, why is it that he has not yet confirm it even by body language? Is it likely that his P.A. used his closeness to the Governor to single handedly make his personal preferences the official position of the Governor?
This angle becomes very possible because there are allegations that Faruku Enabo, largely seen by many people in Kebbi as someone with many skeletons in his cupboard, has been looking on how to ensure he lands safely after Bagudu must have left office. It is alleged that his support for the Justice Minister was one sure way to escape being taken in and asked to explain the source of his sudden questionable wealth. Some people alleged that Enabo has concluded arrangements to die for membership of the House of Representatives in order to give himself some cover as he fears that his pro-Malami gamble bursts, he will become a sitting duck.
A source in the Government House in Birnin Kebbiexplained that the Governor does not have a particular person as his successor in mind. “It is early in the day for Bagudu to point at one single person out of the many aspirants who have shown interest in the office”, the source further hinted.
Another source within the party in Kebbi state dismissed the statement of both the Governor’s Personal Assistant and Sani Zauro arguing that it was their personal opinion, just as the Governor’s elder brother Bello Bagudu is drumming up support for the political interest of Senator Adamu Aliero. “we should be mindful that every politician of any value in Kebbi state today has an aspirant he or she supports to succeed Atiku Bagudu and I think there is nothing wrong as long as the aspirations are legitimate and do not infringe on the rights of others.”
The only problem, according to an APC stalwart in Kebbi Aliyu Shehu, is when any of the partisan politicians decide to drag the name of the Governor into the controversy.
It is regrettable that even when he has not formally shown preference for any single aspirant, the Governor’s name is being dropped recklessly by even those close to him, regardless of the controversy and bad blood it will generate and the ammunition it will give to the enemies of the party to complicate matters and make things difficult as 2023 general elections beckon.
As the leader of both the APC and the state, Senator Bagudu has shown a high level maturity and selflessness such that he deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt in matters of who, amongst the multitude of aspirants, will get the ticket eventually.
It is disrespectful for members of the same party to assume things and act on them without establishing their veracity especially at this critical time when all hands must be on deck to position the party and prepare ways to win all future elections in the state.
The issue of who is the most qualified to fly the ticket should be left to the instrumentalities of the party at the right time. The party cannot afford to dissipate energy on internal wrangling while other parties consolidate to snatch the state away from the APC. Every APC members and every Kebbi state indigene, regardless of his affiliations should support Atiku Bagudu to provide the desired leadership to develop the state because Kebbi is the only state we all have.
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