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Female aspirant, others eye Badaru’s seat in Jigawa

As the 2019 general elections draw near, those who want to wrest power from the governor of Jigawa State, Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, are busy strategising. To this end, their posters have virtually taken over major towns of the state.

For the meantime, however, most aspirants are from the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Since the former governor of the state, Sule Lamido, declared interest to contest the presidential election next year, the PDP has practically gone into slumber in Jigawa State.

Bashir Adamu Jumbo, one of those who want to lock horns with Governor Badaru in next year’s governorship election, had in 2015 led a mass defection of 37, 000 people from the PDP to the APC. Jumbo was a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2015, representing Kazaure/Roni/Gwiwa/Yankwashe constituency. It was gathered that he left the APC for SDP, citing issues of inequality as his reason.

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The only female gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Ramatu Sabo Elliman, is also a member of the ruling party. Although she is relatively unknown in Jigawa politics as she is just making her debut, Ramatu is banking on her gender to become governor next year. She told our correspondent that despite being new in politics, she is confident that she would make it to the Number One seat as no woman has ever vied for that coveted position,

“If I emerge the flag-bearer of my party, SDP, my chances of winning at the general elections stand at 80 per cent. Should anybody attempt rigging me out, they would do so at their own peril. Apart from the youth and the womenfolk, some international organisations are really championing the course of women in politics. And they are keeping a close watch on all the political processes in the state,’’ Ramatu said.

Senator Ubale Shitu, who won the senatorial seat of Jigawa North-East on the platform of the APC, was the first top ranking member of the party to revolt against Governor Badaru, In his first public comment that drew the battle line, Shitu told journalists in Katsina during a meeting of the Northern Senators Forum that they had set machinery in motion to stop the governor from coming back to the Government House in 2019.

Shitu once told Daily Trust on Sunday that he would vie for the governorship position of the state. He said that with the massive support he was enjoying across the state, he would take over from Governor Badaru after the 2019 governorship election.

“I am not contesting for re-election into the Senate. I want to take over from the Jigawa State governor because he is not performing. From the look of things, he is a ruler, dictator, and at the same time, the only contractor in the state. There is no way the state can develop like that. Certainly, we want real change. Now we want to remove the governor. We want to make sure that people are given the chance to elect the right persons for the right positions.

“I will not tell you who my people are. But Badaru knows that I am fully on the ground because the masses are with me. The most important thing is the support of the masses, which I am very much enjoying. If you remember, majority of those who mattered most in the society were with Goodluck Jonathan, but Buhari won because he had the popular support of the masses.

“I won’t tell you my plan because that may be tantamount to revealing my secret. All I know is that he will not come back in 2019. We will look for somebody capable to replace him. I can even replace him,’’ Shitu had said.

However, it is not yet clear whether Shitu, who recently defected to the PDP, alongside 14 other senators, is still nursing the ambition to take over from the incumbent governor.

Also, Hashim Ubale Yusuf, who is also a member of the APC, said during a press briefing sometime ago that he had withdrawn his support for Governor Badaru. That statement further gave room for the speculation that he too had planned to contest against the incumbent governor.

Yusuf, who claimed to be among those who worked assiduously for Governor Badaru’s victory, was also a gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the APC in the last general elections. He expressed reservation over the performance of the governor, saying he made a lot of promises to the people of the state but failed to keep to his words.

“I’m formally announcing my support to only President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 polls. No other candidate will enjoy this support from the Hashimiya Movement.

“The emergence of Badaru Abubakar as governor in the state was not the popular wish of all the members ofý the party. For the sake of peace we supported him, but along the line, we realised that his administration is no longer popular to continue with the APC agenda in the state,’’ Yusuf noted.

Tijjani Ibrahim Kiyawa is another governorship aspirant on the platform of the PDP whose posters have flooded the state. Kiyawa, who was a member of the House of Representatives for Kiyawa/Dutse constituency, lost his bid to return to the National Assembly in 2015 to his opponent in the APC. Speaking on his chances during the next elections, Kiyawa said he had structures on ground to connect him with the electorate. He said that as a successful international businessman, he has a lot of experiences that would give him an edge over his opponents.

He said politics was not about being on ground but impacting positively on the people at all levels. “Despite losing to the APC in 2015, I did not relent in giving my best to the people of my state. I am a household name in Jigawa State, and this gives me an edge over other aspirants across all the political parties. This and many other reasons, make me the most qualified to face Badaru headlong in the 2019 contest.

“Not being visible in Jigawa does not mean that people don’t know my capacity. It is not about being visible. I may be visible in Jigawa but not make impact. As I told you, I like to help, so I have to work very hard to make ends meet. If I remain at home doing politics I can’t help anybody. People believe in me; they know my capacity.  They also know that I am not a self-centered person. I am the type of person that takes delight in seeing the lives of people improve. People are identifying with me because they know it is my priority to give them what they deserve if accorded the opportunity,’’ he noted.

Ibrahim Aminu Ringim was a gubernatorial candidate on the platform of the PDP in 2015. He is still very active in the activities of the party, but it is not yet clear whether he would join the race for 2019. Ringim, who was the chief of staff to the immediate past governor of the state, has been fully on ground as his presence is always noticed in all the activities of the party. But despite that, he is yet to make any official pronouncement concerning his ambition.

As events unfold, political observers are watching to see who would eventually occupy the Jigawa Government House in 2019.

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