By Mahmud Dambazau
Despite being the ruling party; having the President, Vice president, majority in both the senate and the house of representatives, 21 state governors and majority of states houses of assembly, a formidable national spread and structure, adequate financing and financing opportunities, easy access to intelligence from the security (in addition to other privileges of the government), seasoned politicians and the political profile, political sagacity, connection, foresight, friendship across the divide for its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, still All Progressive Congress (APC) had to take the risk of flying Muslim-Muslim ticket at a time when religion could be a sensitive factor than at any other election period.
The risk taken was, for obvious reasons, the most probable option for winning at the polls and most importantly, it has been successful. Similarly, the success or otherwise of the incoming administration is directly proportional to its success at the legislative arm. The 8th national assembly, despite being led by members of the ruling party, was adjudged by the party itself as part of the reasons for the low and abysmal performance of the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The ABAT administration therefore cannot afford to fail in the choice of the presiding officers of the national assembly and most importantly, the senate.
A brief analysis of the 2023 presidential election results indicates the APC got the highest votes from three of the six geopolitical zones; the north west, south west and north central with 2,652,824, 2,542,979 and 1,760,993 votes respectively with Lagos and Kano states being the only two states that had given the presidential candidate more than five hundred thousand votes. But despite the numbers from the northwest zone, the APC came first in only two of the seven states in the region; Jigawa and Zamfara but Zamfara has now aligned with the PDP. The APC therefore now more than ever, needs to be strategic in ensuring the northwest region, which has the highest number of votes and gave it the highest remain within its fold.
Now back to Kano, the most important state in the region which was before the election and since inception of the APC being under the party but now turned its support towards the NNPP, producing their only governor and most of the other elected positions from the party. The state governor, the deputy governor who also doubles as the governorship candidate of the APC in the state as well as the state party chairman who was heard in a widely circulated video boasting that they will win the elections no matter the consequences all lost their local governments to the NNPP during the presidential election. Senator Gaya, a former governor of the state who has also been at the senate since 2007 also lost his reelection bid to the NNPP candidate.
The story is the same for the son of the state governor, who contested for the house of representative’s seat at the governor’s constituency. Out of the 22 House of Representatives seats announced, the APC got only 5 with the rest lost to the NNPP. It wasn’t coincidence or surprising that all these five came from Kano north senatorial zone, where Senator Barau Jibrin hails from. It should also be noted that Sen.
Barau resoundingly defeated his major challenger, the NNPP candidate who is a staunch ally of Engr. Rabiu Kwankwaso and also a former Executive Secretary of TETFUND. Sen. Barau defied all odds and won with a very wide margin. In view of that, it is safe to say that the fate of APC in Kano solely depends on the political future of its most acceptable candidate as shown from the polls.
I believe the APC will agree that Kano is too important to be abandoned politically and the surest way of a comeback is undoubtedly through Barau. The fate of the PDP at both the presidential and governorship election in the state, despite having Senator Shekarau; a current senator, a former minister and a former two term governor of the state should be a case study.
The Senate president is not just the head of the senate but also the leader of the legislative arm of government as well as the chairman of the national assembly which comprises both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Among all the contenders, Senator Barau Jibrin is the only one who has been at both the house and the senate. He was not just a member of the House of Representatives, but also served as the chairman of the most important committee; that of appropriation. He has been at the senate for two terms and has headed the committees of petroleum downstream sector and that of tertiary education and TETFUND. He is currently the chairman of the appropriation committee of the senate under whose leadership, Nigeria has consistently maintained its budgets within the year circle. Despite all these successes, not once has he ever been accused of any act of corruption! His performance at his constituency (visible at all the nooks and crannies of the constituency and beyond) were what endeared him to his constituents.
Just recently, the President approved the appointment of the management of the newly established Federal Polytechnic Kabo, one of the fruits of the senator’s representation. His bills at the senate were more than those of the other contestants of the senate presidency combined. What more could we possibly ask for?
The first 8 years of the PDP from 1999-2007 produced five different senate presidents from the same region; Senators Evan Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo, Anyim Pius Anyim, Adolphus Wabara and Ken Nnamani but they were unable to push for the construction of the Second Niger bridge. It was accomplished under a president from the northwest, a minister from the southwest, a senate president from the northeast and a chairman of the appropriations committee from the northwest. So, the jostling for the position might not particularly mean the dividends of democracy to the masses. However, their occupation of the position has ensured continued support of the PDP at the region within the period.
With the now overwhelming support of the Labour party in the region and the inability of any of the contestants from the region to secure 25% for the party at the presidential polls make it necessary for APC not to sacrifice its biggest support region, the northwest, in anticipation of an unlikely support from the southeast.
At a time in 2007, three of the four highest offices in the country; President, Vice president, Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives were held by occupants from the same religion. That has happened again from 2019-2023 and it has not religionized the country or stopped adherents of other religions from practicing their religion. Nigeria will certainly progress faster if we set aside religion or ethnic considerations in favor of competence.
Without an iota of doubt, Senator Barau Jibrin is the most competent among all the contestants for the senate presidency of the 10th senate. The facts are there and it is now left to the APC and the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s incoming administration to decide how it will respond. However, any action taken will have its consequences in the 2027 election!
Mahmud wrote from Kano and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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