By Zayyad I. Muhammad
Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, and Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed– Binani, the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate, have one similarity associated with their tickets- both are being challenged in the court of law.
Ambassador Mohammed Jameel Waziri is challenging his illegal exclusion from the May 22nd, 2022, Adamawa PDP Gubernatorial Primary Election, while Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is challenging Binani’s victory in the APC’s May 26th, 2022, Gubernatorial Primary Election, because of the alleged over-voting.
Senator Binani won the APC Gubernatorial Primary Election with 430 votes, Nuhu Ribadu came second with 288 votes, former governor Bindow got 103 votes, Abdul Razak Namdas scored 94 votes while Wafari and Mustapha got 21 and 39 votes respectively.
The Fintiri-Binani game promises to be interesting, just as it appears to be a zero-sum one. It will be the first time a woman will be a big force to reckon with in the governorship race in Adamawa state. And, from all indications, Binani’s candidacy has altered many political calculations, including sending shivers down the Fintiri-Team’s spine- Finitiri has been forced to pick a woman as his deputy so as to face Binani’s threatening challenge.
Binani is coming to the race with many advantages over Fintiri, while Fintiri is coming into the race with few advantages over Binani, plus a lot of political baggage, that Binani will use to her own advantage.
While Fintiri heavily relies on 2 fulcrums- incumbency and war chest, Binani will rely on 5 fulcrums- sustained local empowerment, the ‘center’, smart political calculations, and enormous and clever application of war chest, including the very strategic youth and women grassroots support.
The women folk will for sure stand for her- for instance, during the APC gubernatorial primary election- Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani came to the race with assured votes in her ‘handbag’- women constitute nearly 40% of the delegates. When Binani entered the voting arena, the entire women among the delegates welcomed her with a melodous nasal sounds (Guɗa). That was a big signal to her opponents that she was ready for the game.
Another Fintiri’s weak point that Binani will capitalize on is his poor relationship with many PDP stakeholders- Binani will easily negotiate with them to get their ‘covert’ support. During the 2019 presidential and national assembly elections, Binani was able to get votes from PDP supporters in the central zone – she smartly negotiated her way- she even secured more votes than Buhari!
Binani always plays the ‘Mintzberg Political Games’- Building her influence and political structure through attaching herself to those who can help her in the future- the masses. The strategy is that- the lower-down people’s support will pressurize the higher-up people to give her the needed support when the time comes.
In a nutshell – Fintiri will heavily rely on the very important incumbency and massive war chest, while Binani will deploy her unprecedented strong grassroots support from women and youths, enough war chest, and capitalize on Fintiri’s errors and mistakes.
Notwithstanding the court cases associated with both candidates’ tickets- if elections were to be conducted today, Binani will beat Fintiri.
Zayyad I. Muhammad, is a Public Affairs analyst and he writes from Jimeta