As the 2019 general elections approach, the political landscape is gradually heating up with political office holders strategizing on either retaining their seats or moving further. However, some may not fare any better than they are now. Our correspondents take a look at what might become of some deputy governors across certain states in the nation.
Odds against Madumere
If Governor Rochas Okorocha, at the end of his eight-year tenure, insists on handing over the mantle of leadership to his ‘anointed’ son in-law, Mr Uche Nwosu and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume remains hell-bent on actualizing his life-time ambition of governing the state while Deputy Governor Eze Madumere decides to realise his dream of succeeding Okorocha, then the people of Imo State should pray harder for the state to escape a political crisis.
Clearly, Governor Okorocha has reportedly vowed that come rain or sun, he must have to produce his successor. But he also has his eyes fixed on the senate in 2019, though his mind is targeting the presidency, assuming President Muhammadu Buhari decides not to contest for second term.
On more than one occasion, Okorocha was quoted as saying categorically that he should be considered as a “political failure and bastard” if he did not install a candidate of his choice as successor. He also said he did not want to repeat the political mistakes of his predecessors who, he said, “out of political naivety,” were unable to anoint and groom successors, thereby creating “political ghosts” that were hunting them after governing the state.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Barrister C. C. Olumba, had already foreseen a looming danger occasioned by the ambitions of these politicians – Okorocha, Araraume, Madumere and the Chief of Staff to the state government, Uche Nwosu, who is also Okorocha’s son in-law.
According to Olumba, it is certain that the ambition of Governor Okorocha, Madumere, Nwosu and Senator Ararume will soon tear the party apart as each continues to hold nocturnal meetings with some of the party chieftains and faithful.
“I have attended some of these meetings, the agenda is the same – support for 2019. I foresee party crises based on conflicts of interest, but we have to watch and see, 2019 is still far, we are still in 2017 and we have not even reached 2018. May be before then, nature will take its own course and the different interests will be amicably handled.”
A certain school of thought believes that Madumere’s ambition to succeed Okorocha might have led to the purported moves by Okorocha to cause his deputy’s possible impeachment. Although Okorocha, speaking through his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, has denied any such plot, describing the allegation as “the handiwork of mischief makers who will stop at nothing in causing crisis where there is none.”
But Daily Trust gathered from an insider that the subtle idea is to apply the same method used in impeaching Okorocha’s former deputy, Jude Agbaso, a younger brother to a chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Chief Martin Agbaso, also from Owerri Senatorial zone of the state.
The point is that Okorocha is said to be more comfortable allowing his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, to take over from him as Governor in 2019. This is in spite of the fact that the reported zoning arrangement in Imo State politics does not currently favour the idea of Orlu Senatorial Zone producing the next governor of the state. Okorocha’s son in-law, Nwosu, is said to be an indigene of the same Orlu zone where Okorocha hails from. Former Governor Achike Udenwa is also from Orlu Zone.
Beyond the said zoning formula, Madumere who is from Mberie in Mbitoli Council Area of (Owerri Zone),is not seen as a strong political force to reckon with, according to a source very close to him. The source said:“Left alone, Madumere cannot campaign for himself. He doesn’t seem to have the political charisma, nor does he have the political clout to engineer the process of his apparent emergence as governor. Beyond his Mbieri area, you can’t describe him as a popular person in the state.” The source added that Madumere has been “so cowed and arm-twisted by his boss that he cannot fly.”
However, the Chief Press Secretary to deputy governor, Mr Uche Onwuchekwa, told our reporter that Madumere still enjoys cordial relationship with Okorocha, and has remained focused on the various assignments given to him by his boss, hence there should be nothing to warrant the “rumour about subtle moves for impeachment.”
Although he could not confirm the deputy governor’s reported ambition to succeed his boss, Onwuchekwa, noted that Madumere has all what it takes to lead, adding that he has also contributed to the growth and development of the state by the chains of assignments given to his office which he performed effectively and efficiently.
Why Onanuga cannot succeed Amosun
In Ogun State, the politics of having the deputy governor succeeding the incumbent and outgoing governor ahead of 2019 elections is not in the radar.
The Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, is from Ogun East by birth and marriage, knocking out any permutation for her emergence as a possible replacement for Governor Amosun.
The governor at different fora had publicly made it clear that his replacement would come from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate from Ogun West, with the hope of breaking the jinx of having their son or daughter as the state’s helmsman since its creation in 1976.
Since 1976, no deputy governor has pushed to succeed the governor. From 1979 to 1983, late Chief Bisi Onabanjo’s deputy, late Adeolu Balogun, was from Ogun Central, while Onabanjo was from Ogun East. This administration was however truncated as a result of a military takeover of government.
The return of democracy in 1992 saw Chief Olusegun Osoba coming in as the governor from Ogun Central, with Alhaji Rafiu Ogunleye from Ogun East as deputy. This administration was also cut short via a military return. When the current democratic dispensation started in 1999, Osoba made an eventful return and he chose Alhaji Adegbenga Kaka from Ogun East again as his deputy.
In 2003, Otunba Gbenga Daniel from Ogun East had Alhaja Salmot Badru from Ogun West as his deputy. His second term in 2007 followed same manner.
In 2011, the incumbent governor, Sen. Amosun from Ogun Central had Chief Segun Adesegun from Ogun East as deputy. By the end of their first term in 2015, the centre could no longer hold for both. Amosun settled for Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga also from Ogun East as replacement.
Onanugawas working in the Lagos State Ministry of Environment when she was chosen as the running mate of the state governor. She is described as a loyal and calm deputy governor, and appears not to be desperate to seek higher position in the rundown to 2019 at least for now.
Deputy Governor eyeing senate seat
The Gombe State Deputy Governor Mr Charles Ya’u Iliya is said to be aiming to represent Gombe South Senatorial District at the National Assembly in 2019.
He was elected member of the Federal House of Representatives where he represented Balanga/Billiri Federal Constituency between 2003 and 2007.
After leaving the National Assembly he was appointed Senior Special Assistant to Governor Goje from 2007 to 2011. He was also appointed Special Adviser, Political by Governor Dankwambo in February 2014.
He was picked as the running mate of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo in the April 2015 governorship election, when the then deputy, Mr Tha’anda Jason Rubainu, was dropped.
Pundits say his rich background and experience in the civil service and politics helped his choice as deputy governor.
However, despite his track record of service, due to precedence and composition of the state, since the return of democracy in 1999, the office of the deputy governor was unofficially zoned to minority tribes of Gombe South, the zone that Mr Iliya came from, comprising four LGAs of Balanga, Billiri, Kaltungo and Shomgom.
While the remaining seven LGAs in Gombe North and Central zones, always produce the governor and the speaker of the state House of Assembly, as the case maybe.
Therefore, Iliya is rumoured to be eyeing the Gombe South senate seat in 2019, a position political observers believe is more realistic for him. If he eventually contests, he will likely slug it out with the incumbent Senator Joshua Lidani of the PDP, who was also a former deputy governor of the state, and Mr John Lazarus Yoriyo of the APC, also a former deputy governor for eight years during Governor Goje’s tenure.
Iliya’s strength in the event he throws his hat in the contest, is his cordial relationship with his boss, Governor Dankwambo.
His loyalty, obedience and humility which were believed to have enabled him win the confidence of the governor and his people, might count for him.
Tradition may play a part
Since 1999, besides former governor Rasidi Ladoja who was succeeded by his deputy, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala after the impeachment of Governor Ladoja in 2005, deputy governors have never succeeded governors in the state.
The case may not be different after the incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, must have completed his tenure in May 2019. The incumbent deputy governor, Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo, is a veteran politician who never contested for a political office before he was handpicked as a running mate to the governor in 2011.
He is an Awoist from Igboho in Oorelope Local Government, Oke Ogun area of the state. He is among people who believe in the political ideology and philosophy of the great late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo since his days as an undergraduate.
However, despite his involvement in grassroots politics, he has never indicated interest in the race for the number one seat in the state, perhaps because he envisaged he may not enjoy the support of his boss, AbiolaAjimobi.
Ajimobi wanted to drop him as his running mate in 2015 but later accepted to run with him because of intense pressure from party stalwarts.
An APC chieftain told our correspondent that the deputy governor may not be sure of the support of Ibadan people who contributed 55 percent of the total votes in the state because his region contributed only 25 percent of the total votes, adding that it would amount to waste of money and resources if he dares it.
Deputy may be anointed
In Yobe, there is no indication that the deputy governor, Abubakar D. Ali, is eying the governor’s seat, though, he might have kept it to himself.
Analysts are of the belief that the deputy governor can only contest for the exalted seat with the consent of his boss, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam.
“It would be unfailingly disastrous for him to declare interest for the gubernatorial seat without the consent of the governor,” a party chieftain said.
Many opined that he is nursing the ambition to reclaim the senatorial seat wrestled from the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2015 general election.
Political watchers say the governor may likely anoint the deputy to reward him for his 12 years of unshakeable loyalty.
“The deputy governor is very loyal and can make a very good administrator, especially now that the governor has not anointed any other candidate”, he said.
Who will succeed Yari?
Politicians in Zamfara State are flexing muscles to sail through the political ocean of uncertainties.
Governor Abdulaziz Yari is completing his second term in 2019. Sometimes back, speculations were rife on who would likely succeed him. Political pundits had earlier observed that the successor might be chosen from the some of Yari’s closest political associates.
Earlier, some thought about the well- known Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs,Alhaji Muttaka Rini. To many observers, Rini is one of the men with a bright chance to clinch the APC’s gubernatorial ticket, being one of the most powerful cabinet members of governor Yari. But, the clamour for Zamfara Central senatorial zone to produce the next governor may thwart his effort of becoming the number one citizen of the state. Zamfara central has never produced a governor since the return of democracy in 1999 and Alhaji Muttaka Rini is from Zamfara west where former governor Ahmad Sani Yarima and the current executive governor Yari come from.
Pundits observed that this time around the party bigwigs might seek to balance the political equation by picking the next flag bearer from the central district.
Even the other zone, Zamfara North, had had former governor Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, thus putting other aspirants from the zone like the incumbent member of the House of Representatives, representing Kaura Namoda/Birnin Magaji constituency at a political disadvantage in this regard.
Putting all these political permutations into consideration, many political observers in the state opined that the current deputy governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Wakkala Muhammad, who is from the central senatorial district, stands the brightest chance of becoming the next executive governor.
Durkwa could break the jinx unless…
Though he has not publicly expressed interest to move to the highest political office in the state, the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Mamman Durkwa, would be the first politician from southern part of the state to become a governor, a political analyst has said.
Durkwa, who hails from Hawul Local Government Area of the state, had been in the corridors of power since 2003, serving as commissioner in various administrations before he became the deputy governor in 2015.
In a chat with Daily Trust in Maiduguri, a political analyst, Malam Abubakar Haruna, said he felt that Durkwa would be able to break the jinx and become the first governor from one of the nine Local Government Areas (LGAs) that make up the Southern Senatorial District.
“Since 1979, it’s been a tradition in the state for governors to emerge from either Northern or Central zones and this has nothing to do with the constitution of the country – it’s just a tradition that people of the state got familiar with and many even think it’s something non-negotiable,” he said, adding that many southern politicians had tried hard without success due to their lack of true friendship and self-restrictions in political activities taking place in other zones.
“However,” he said, “Durkwa is now playing the game differently, and that has helped him to gain the trust of major political players from both Northern and Central Senatorial Districts in the state, and therefore, he could be trusted, supported and nominated as the gubernatorial flag bearer of the ruling party in 2019, politics is all about interests.”
Ali Agara silently nursing ambition
The Nasarawa State Deputy Governor Silas Ali Agara is said to be silently nursing an ambition to succeed Governor Tanko Al-Makurain 2019.
Although Agara has not made his ambition to contest the governorship position public, his body language as well as his political steps speak volumes about his interest to vie for the number seat in the state.
Agara has been described by many as the most loyal deputy governor in the history of the state and analyst posit that his absolute loyalty has a connection with his ambition to succeed his principal considering that the governor is serving his second term.
One of the indicators is the recent display of Agara’s billboards to contest for 2019 governorship position placed at a popular roundabout in Akwanga town but was later removed on the orders of the deputy governor.
Not long ago, there was a report that Agara attempted to muzzle the All Progressives Congress (APC) party executive in the northern senatorial zone of the state not to received one of the strong governorship contenders who was touring leaderships of the party across the state after he dumped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Later, with the intervention of some stakeholders, the executive received the said contender.
Daily Trust gathered that Agara is playing safe and studying the political moves carefully, waiting for signals from his boss to win his sympathy in the event he decides on a successor.
Is Elder Kisira rather too quiet?
The peculiarity of Kwara’s governance system makes it difficult for somebody like The Kwara State Deputy Governor, Elder Peter Kisira, to show interest or have the mind to succeed his boss as governor of the state. It is observed that even known politicians are not allowed to appear to be eager or show interest in any elective post in the state. Some politicians who had in the past spoken to this medium insisted that the political leader of the state, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, usually assigns them to a position to contest for.
For Elder Kisira, Daily Trust gathered, he the deputy governor position was a compensation to him because he was supposed to be a traditional ruler in Ilesha Baruba which was given to another professor due to lack of popularity among his people.
The deputy governor is not known to be a very person in the state even as many residents do not even know his name.