Daily Trust

Nasarawa 2019: As Agara steps out from the shadows

Silas Ali Agara has somewhat stepped out from the shadow from which precinct he had lurk for several decades. He has indicated his interest to step in the shoes of his boss, Governor Tanko Al Makura, the incumbent who is winding up his second term in office.

Agara emerged the deputy following a storm which almost cost Al Makura his seat as Governor. The incumbent needed a trusted deputy, a loyal confidant after the betrayal he suffered in the hands of Damishi Luka.

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As the curtain was raised for another election in 2015, the search for a tested politician with mass appeal from Damishi’s senatorial zone; a trusted ally that would serve as a running mate to Al Makura began. And as it turned out, Al Makura and indeed the All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders did not have to search too far.

Within the reach was someone of unequal commitment to whatever cause he believes in who severed as deputy director general of Al Makura’s campaign organization since 2011. So when the name of Silas Ali Agara was whispered to a visibly tensed Almakura who had spent sleepless nights considering the many option before him that Saturday afternoon, the atmosphere understandably eased.

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Beyond Almakura, Agara’s emergence as running mate also served as shooting balm for the people of the ancient city of Akwanga who also felt betrayed by the action of their son Luka; an action which puts them at a disadvantage politically.

Understandably, the choice of Agara altered the political calculation in Nasarawa North and the state at large. If anything it deemed the seeming rising profile of the then Minister of Information and Supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku who already sees himself, with the federal might behind him as a candidate to beat in the election.

Maku as a reminder, was Jonathan’s side-kick in the tail end of that administration and the de facto vice president, eclipsing Namadi Sambo. The Governorship seat was to be the compensation the Jonathan presidency would have offer a loyal disciple. But the young Agara demystified Maku even at his doorstep. He kissed the dust with Al Makura emerging victorious.

Since then, the economist has proved his worth by remaining loyal and committed to the actualization of a new Nasarawa state alongside his boss.  In fact, the No. 2 citizen, a Christian, is widely reputed for being the only deputy governor in the history of the state that has maintained an impeccable cordial relationship with his boss.

So when the clock tick towards another election in 2019, it was the opinion of many that the young Agara should be the natural successor to his boss and only the person with the knowledge of what it takes to improve on the successes recorded by the Al Makura-led administration in the state.

The civil servants have taken the front burner in the crusade to get Agara replaced his boss. They have gone public with their position many times within the last four months. This support though unsolicited, as many are wont to interpret it, may be surprising to a distance observer but does not irk those familiar with the state of things in the state. Agara was a civil servant in the state government’s employment before he became a politician. After his mandatory youth service, the deputy governor had joined the mainstream civil service and had rose through the ranks before fortune smile his way.

And the vultures have been hovering long even when the whistle is yet to blow for the commencement of the race with the old brigades who have become constant customers at every dispensation in the majority. The Ewugas, Makus, Akwashikis, Engineers Sules belong to this category. Their posters as it has become the characteristics at every election year compete and dotted every available space in major towns across the state.

There are also the new entrants for the state’s number seat who have long throw their hats in the race such as the likes of Ahmed Wadada, Alhaji Suleiman Musa Nagogo, Architect Shehu Ahmed Tukur, Mr. Damishi Luka and Phillip Aruwa Gyunka among others. However, Agara’s immediate worries are those who have indicated interest for the state’s topmost position on the platform of the APC; and they are no doubt in the majority.

He would have to either defeat the likes of Alhaji Umar Danladi Envulenza, Jaafar Ibrahim, Ahmed Wadada, Engineer A. A Sule, Zakari Idde, Godiya Akwashiki, Suleiman Nagogo, Hassan Liman, Mohammed Maikaya and Shehu Ahmed Tukur or persuade them with the help of party stakeholders and elders to step down for him.

The latter option seems to be more desirable especially with the party’s adoption of indirect primaries for all elective positions ahead of 2019 elections. The deputy governor is everybody’s man; a gentleman who has a way of melting the hardest of hearts and could get an ambitious man to jettison same. Such a disposition would come handy at this auspicious time.

But beyond this is the fact that the deputy governor possesses the quality that attracts him to the elders and leaders of the state. In Nigeria politics, the characteristics that attract godfathers are submissiveness, subservience, humility and levelheadedness. Agara is an embodiment of all these; it’s these qualities no doubt that attracted his mentor and former governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu to him in the first place.

For him to have remained relevant in the scheme of things in the state politically since then when others like him have long disappeared into oblivion speaks volume of his loyalty and humility.

Such characteristic endeared him to the elders and leaders which made him a running mate to the incumbent. It is also the same quality that had kept the two together till today. It is equally the same attitude that informed the clamour for Agara as the natural successor to the incumbent. But Al Makura has repeatedly avoided been dragged into the issue of his preference for a particular aspirant as his anointed.

However analysts believe such is just a political strategy and that when the chips are down, he is wont to look the way of his deputy. And as it were, it’s really not going to be his decision alone but that of the elders and leaders who have visualized long ago that Agara represents the future of a new Nasarawa State.

Inuwa wrote this piece from Keffi, Nasarawa State.