The agitation for power shift in Katsina State is ongoing between Funtua and Daura zones, against the dominant Katsina senatorial zone. The later has always wanted to have a taste of power but opposed by the central senatorial zone.
The two zones have continued to argue that Katsina central has had its share of the exalted governorship position, having been in power since 1999. The late President Umaru Musa Yaradua was governor from 1999 to 2007 and former Governor Ibrahim Shema between 2007 and 2015. So, the central zone has held power for the past 16 years.
Also, the first executive governor of the state, Alhaji Saidu Barda, who ruled during the Second Republic on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), hails from the Katsina Central senatorial zone. Apart from Barda, two indigenes of Katsina State who had the privilege of serving as governors of the old Kaduna State, Alhaji Lawal Kaita and Abba Musa Rimi, are from the Katsina Central senatorial district. Katsina central zone has, therefore, produced five governors so far.
Perhaps this is not going down well with other parts of the state as several pressure groups have been harping on the need for other zones to occupy the seat of power in the state, saying the dominance of the central zone is becoming unbearable and unjust.
However, the Funtua zone was lucky to get the slot in 2015 when the incumbent Governor Aminu Masari broke the jinx and became the first governor of the state that did not come from Katsina central.
Although the Karaduwa zone has the numerical strength, it has not used that to its advantage until 2015.
Already, ahead of the 2023 elections, the Daura zone is banking on so many factors to produce the next governor of the state. They argue that they have credible and qualified persons; hence they should be allowed to produce the next governor.
Also, they have over 11 local governments with a good number of the electorate, who have been massively supporting other zones to produce governors. They also contribute meaningfully to the economic development of the state, they have continued to argue.
They insist that for the principle of fairness, equity and justice, their zone should be considered for the gubernatorial seat in 2023.
But many political observers in the state, especially those from Katsina central, have seen the call as being too early.
Other observers are of the view that the Daura zone is not sincere to itself in the quest for the exalted position. They argue that in 2015, two of their sons, Musa Nashuni, from Kankia Local Government, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Lawal Mani of the Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP), were abandoned for Masari, who hails from Funtua zone.
Many aspirants from the zone have also taken part in election processes like primaries of various parties, only to lose at the end.
Speaking with Daily Trust on Sunday, the national chairman of Accord Party, Mohammed Nalado, who hails from Daura zone, said it’s long overdue for the zone to produce the governor of the state.
He said, “Our zone has never produced a deputy governor or secretary to the state government. The highest position we got was the speakership of the House of Assembly.
“It is time for us to be considered. Katsina and Funtua have produced governors, so it is supposed to be our turn this time around. I am in total support of this agitation for power shift to Daura,’’ he said, adding that any plan to shortchange the zone will be vehemently rejected.
“We have borne it long enough. It is time for the two zones to consider us as well. Let us have it because we deserve it. There is no room for negotiation,’’ he added.
For Abdulmumin Shehu Sani, a two-time gubernatorial candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), the call for zoning is a lazy way of seeking positions of governance. He said politics wasn’t about sections, adding that sectional agenda is not good for the state.
He said a politician who knew his onions should not seek office through this way, but should see the state as his constituency. He said sectional politics was a sign of retrogression.
“What matters the most is the candidate’s capabilities and competence; hence he can come from anywhere. Sectional state politics is causing harm among people who are from the same background.
“This is one of the major causes of failure in government; people can’t tell those in leadership the truth because of zoning,’’ he said.
For Bala Abubakar, a politician from Funtua zone, competence and qualification should be the key words. He, however, added, “If they (Daura zone) is basing their argument on years spent in the Government House, it means that since Katsina central has held sway for 16 years, from Umaru Yaradu to Shema, Funtua zone, which is in its fifth year, should as well be allowed to stay for 16 years before passing it on.
“But if they can come up with a competent and qualified person, we don’t have a problem with that. They should stop using flimsy excuses to seek for such office.
“They have the president of the country and a minister and they are still complaining of the governorship position. They are our political allies, but they should be considerate in their demands,’’ he said
At present, Daura zone has many of its sons holding key national offices, which many see as the right time to get the ticket in 2023. Some of them include Arc. Ahmed Dangiwa, the managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, chairman of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Ibrahim Alasan. They also have a senator from the zone, Ahmad Kaita. This is in addition to five members of the House of Representatives.
Also, at the state level, they have the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, El- Marzuq Ahmed, who was Masari’s running mate at a time, as well as a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Umar Yau Gwajo Gwajo,