10 PDP ASPIRANTS AND JOSTLE FOR EL-RUFAI’S JOB
- The Opportunities and Threats before the Opposition
The factors that will affect the outcome of the PDP gubernatorial primaries in Kaduna state include:
2. Money Politics
4. Bloc Voting
5. Internal Democracy
6. Alliances and Political Re-alignment
7. External Interferences
The “Zoning Principle” ensures that political power is shared and rotated within the geo-political zones (in the case of Kaduna state, amongst the 3 senatorial zones – Northern , Central and Southern). Although it is not a provision of the constitutions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria nor that of the PDP, but has been effectively used over time to unite the diverse people and their political interest of Nigeria.
Zoning is part of the democratic culture which encourages fair play and promote peace and stability.
The zoning formula may vary from one place to another depending on the situation. For instance, because of the heterogeneous nature of Kaduna state it will be unwise to have the party chairman and the gubernatorial candidate come from the same senatorial zone or have the candidate and his running mate from the same zone or faith.
Therefore, going by the party structure, the ‘zoning principles’ of the PDP in Kaduna state for the 2019 general election will favour the Northern Senatorial zone (Zone I) to produce the governorship candidate. The party chairman is already from the Southern Senatorial zone (Zone III)
Six (6) gubernatorial aspirants came from the northern senatorial zone and include: Mukhtar Yero, Isa Ashiru, Mohammed Sani Bello, Sulaiman Hunkuyi, Arc Dauda Ibrahim and Ja’afaru Sa’ad.
Three (3) came from the central senatorial zone (Zone II). They include Shu’aibu Mikati, Bello Kagarko and Sani Sidi
Bello Umar Kagarko and Mohammed Sani Sadi originally hailed from the southern senatorial (Zone III), but have transferred their voting rights and party membership registration to the central zone (Zone II) with the hope that their emergence will not be frowned at by party members and would not be seen as coming from the same zone with the state party chairman. Because they are Muslims, they are also not guaranteed the support of the christian majority from Zone III.
especially with Barr. Jonathan Kish Adamu in the race.
Jonathan Kish Adamu is in the race for the governorship ticket to represent the political interest of a section of the southern Kaduna people. The group hopes to have a strong voice during negotiation on power sharing with the aspirant that may emerge victorious from Zone I.
2. MONEY POLITICS
If the PDP primaries in Kaduna state is let loose a lot of delegates will be ready to sell their votes to the highest bidders during the state congresses, this is because of the way money took center stage in our politics, coupled with the harsh economic situation we now live in. Thus, it is obvious that votes will be bought freely by aspirants. Money will ensure sufficient guarantee for electoral success to the aspirants, in fact far more than any well thought out vision, and the core values that have been attached to personal character such as integrity, commitment to party ideals, loyalty, capacity to deliver effectively on aspiring mandate.
There are about 2,640 delegates who will participate at the PDP State Congress’s to elect the gubernatorial flag bearer and many will choose to elect aspirants who gives the highest offer. So far, there are only 5 out of the 10 aspirants, that one can easily assess their spendings based on the levels of their consultations and other political activities. The aspirants with the highest campaign spendings are ranked in the following order; Sani Sidi, Suleiman Hunkuyi, Mainan Zazzau, Isa Ashiru and Mukhtar Yero. Thus, it is not difficult to say which politicians have more money and which politicians do not have.
The implication of using money to induce delegates and influence their votes in the PDP primaries may however lead to the emergence of credible or popular candidates who can face El-Rufa’i squarely at the general election. In addition where the use of money becomes excessive it can tear the fabrics of the party apart as many aggrieved party faithfuls may defect from the PDP in protest and could also lead to high voter apathy during the general election.
The PDP in the state appears united on the surface, but in actual sense the party is sharply divided along major political groups. The PDP gubernatorial primaries in will be a struggle for superiority.
Within the PDP family in Kaduna state there are 2 major political groups (gidan Makarfi and gidan Namadi) which virtually every politicians identifies with.
The former Vice President, Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo by the no. 2 office he occupied in the country is supposed to have been the most influential party leader. But because he has abandoned the party since left office and his romance with the ruling APC at both the national and state level has lowered his support base. 3 of the Aspirants Yero, Sidi and Mohammed S. Bello served as commissioners while he was governor in the state. He is said to prefer Sidi over Yero and Mohamed S. Bello.
Senator Ahmed Makarfi enjoys tremendous respect from many party members. In recognition of his enormous power and influence aspirants struggle and fall over each other in order to get his public endorsements. But unlike the former Vice President whom is said to have pointed at the direction of Sani Sidi to many of his loyalists, Senator Makarfi has refused to endorse any of the aspirants. Not even his former commissioner Hon. Bello Umar Kagarko.
Senator Makarfi is the political godfather of PDP Kaduna state and hold the aces on who will eventually emerge as the flag bearer as he controls the state party structure.
4. BLOC VOTING
The requirement for winning the gubernatorial primaries by any aspirant is a simple majority, which means just one vote, in the final count could make a lot of difference in the emergence of an aspirant as flag bearer.
Traditionally, the southern senatorial zone (Zone III) will usually appraise the aspirants through a committee of stakeholder groups, they negotiate, make recommendations and advice delegates to vote on a particular pattern during the primaries.
The stakeholders from the southern senatorial zone have scaled the Aspirants list from 10 names to just about 4, namely; Isa Ashiru, Sani Bello, Jonathan Kish, Mukhtar Yero and Isa Ashiru
Other stakeholder groups that are likely to influence the outcome of the candidate selection process are the Kaduna Elders forum, the traditional Institutions and some of religious leaders. Endorsement from any these stakeholder groups will improve the chances of an aspirant in winning the primaries.
The danger with bloc voting is its tendency to divide the party sharply along ethnic and religious lines.
5. INTERNAL PARTY DEMOCRACY
When PDP was in government, it was known to be notorious for impunity and for the imposition of candidates against the wishes and aspirations of popular candidates through democratic process. Already there are complaints against the state party executives for openly showing support and favouritsm to some of the aspirants.
It is important for the PDP to adhere to the constitutional provisions in the candidate selection process. Failure to abide with the internal provisions will undermine the party’s effectiveness and provide incentives for members to work against the party.
6. ALLIANCES AND RE-ALIGNMENTS
Where it become difficult for aspirants to stand alone in the election. The plan B for some of them is to forge alliances and re-align themselves with one another for political convenience. For instance, between Hunkuyi and Ashiru it is a battle for survival. The fact that Senator Hunkuyi and Isa Ashiru are from the same Local Goverment Area of Kudan, it is impossible for both of them to be governorship and Senatorial candidates at the same time. Therefore, whoever picks the gubernatorial ticket the other has to give for someone else from a different local government to emerge as Senatorial candidate from the zone.
Hunkuyi is working very hard to build consensus with other aspirants. He made sure that he has a very cordial relationships with Mukhtar Yero and Mohammed Sani Bello to an extent that if it remains just the 2 of them (Hunkuyi and Ashiru) in the race other strong aspirants may just support Hunkuyi to become the gubernatorial candidate.
It is the same with the case of Sani Sidi and Mukhtar Yero. They are seen as arch-rivals because they once belonged to the same political family and were very close friends. Therefore observers believe that both Sani Sidi and Mukhtar Yero as people who will never support the aspiration of each other. But it is still politics where the game is about interests.
Some observers are also of the opinion that the weak aspirants in the race are ally’s and being sponsored by some of the strong aspirants.
7. EXTERNAL INTERFERENCES
Some external factors that are likely to influence the choice of gubernatorial candidates. For example aspirants who supports the presidential aspiration of other persons other than Senator Makarfi may work against the emergence of Makarfi’s candidate in case he has one.
There is the issue of other politicians outside the state who may want to settle scores with El-Rufa’i and will support the emergence of strong aspirants capable of defeating him.
On the other hand, the ruling APC is accused of planting some her agents in the PDP with the aim destabilizing the party. The plan by the APC is to win Kaduna state in the 2019 general elections at all cost especially that Kaduna is being viewed as Buhari’s home of residence and ‘capital’ of the north.
Finally, with less than a week to the gubernatorial primaries, the situation is dicey and so much is expected to happen.
Therefore, none of the 10 aspirants is certain of victory, more so, that they were unable to make any meaningful progress in the consensus talks between themselves. Some have continued to remain in the race in spite of the fact that they have not also engage delegates and party stakeholders, which leaves doubt in the minds of many as to whether they are serious about the contest.
An opinion by some close observers and which attempts to provide insights into the political struggle have categorized the Kaduna state PDP gubernatorial aspirants into 3 major groups;
1. the serious contestants,
2. the spoilers and
3. the jokers.
Accordingly, Mukhtar Yero, Sani Bello and Suleiman Hunkuyi are the serious contestants. Sani Sidi and Isa Ashiru are the spoilers. Whereas, the jokers includes Arc. Dauda Ibrahim, Shuaibu Idris Mikati, Jonathan Kish Adamu, Ja’afaru Sa’ad and Bello Umar Kagarko. But it is only a matter of few days before this opinion is proved as correct or wrong.