By Ali Abare Abubakar
From feelers across the country, politicians across the various political parties are already warming up for the 2015 general election, with politicians in Bauchi State not left out as they position themselves to challenge for the various elective positions. With the incumbent Governor Isa Yuguda at the tail end of his second tenure, the contest for who occupies the Bauchi Government House has been thrown open with several aspirants vying for the exalted position, with both contenders as well as pretenders, emerging to challenge for the position of the governor.
The roll call of the who-is-who in Bauchi State that have so far indicated their interest to gun for the state number one seat, is not only long but consist of political heavyweights who have contributed in one way or the other toward the development of not only Bauchi State but the country at large.The list may seem endless, but the aspirants seeking to become governor in Bauchi State under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), consist of prominent dignitaries and personalities such that it is actually daunting to predict who would eventually emerge successful. Some of these aspirants have already made their marks, to the point that mere mention of their names would send the greenhorns amongst them scampering to political obscurity.
Alhaji Bappa Azare, Hon Auwal Jatau, Umar Mohammed Udubo, are names that could not necessarily ring a bell but the likes of Yayale Ahmed, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and one time Minister of Defence, Senator Abdul Ningi, Dr Ali Pate and Senator Bala Mohammed, present FCT Minister, are certainly household names not only in the state but across the country.For the onlooker, the contest for the Bauchi Government House might have already been decided, with Governor Isa Yuguda sure to make sure that the PDP retains the state, against mounting opposition from the All Progressives Congress (APC) that is fielding such aspirants as Nuhu Gidado, Maitama Tuggar, Dr Ibrahim Yakubu Lame and Barrister Mohammed Abubakar. However, internal wrangling, particularly as it relates to zoning of the governorship seat across the three senatorial zones, may as well constitute a stumbling block for the party.
Then again, the perceived frosty relationship between the former governor of the state and now national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mua’zu and incumbent Governor Isa Yuguda, with each alleged to be jostling to make each of their anointed aspirants fly the flag of the party in the 2015 guber election, has succeeded in adding tension to the political mix, with pundits alleging that the feud if not checked could have negative consequences on the electoral fortunes of the party.
However, many are of the view that one person that stand out among the crop of politicians seeking to occupy the Bauchi Government House and that is acceptable to both camps of the political divide, is known other than Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, one-time Head of Civil Service of the federation.
According to a political association, the Bauchi State Network for Change (BNC) which recently called on the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), to run for the state gubernatorial election in 2015, Yayale Ahmed is one of the most qualified among the crop of aspirants vying to become governor of the state.
The group through its chairman, Comrade Aliyu Ladan, said that after appraising his achievements as SFG and Minister of Defence, they decided to adopt him to contest as governor, considering his unique leadership qualities and desire for positive transformation, active commitment and dedication in service delivery.
The BNC noted that Yayale’s long years in public service and his vast experience have contributed enormously to national development, as well as in the development of Bauchi State in particular.
“Only Yayale can deliver Bauchi State to the Promised Land through building upon the successes so far recorded by Governor Isa Yuguda’s administration in the spirit of continuity” BNC stated.
Not only that, the raging controversy surrounding the allegation of marginalization of the two other senatorial zones by the Bauchi Central zone that has produced all the governors of the state, more than anything else favors Yayale who hails from the Bauchi North senatorial district that is yet to produce the governor.
With the zoning arrangement in the state, the people of Bauchi North and Bauchi Central are agitating for the governorship to shift to their zone, going by the calculation that Bauchi South where the former governor, Adamu Muazu, and the incumbent, Isa Yuguda, came from has ruled for 16 years.
A PDP Chieftain who spoke on condition of anonymity called for fairness in the zoning arrangement saying “there should be fairness in producing the next governor in the state because people from Bauchi South have spent 16 years in Government House, so other zones should be given opportunity too.
He said: “I will advise political parties in the state to present candidates from Bauchi North or Bauchi Central for next governorship election while candidates from Bauchi South should support candidates from other zones.”Also, the Assistant Publicity Secretary of PDP in the state, Alhaji Bashir Bukar Rimin, in a recent chat with journalists, urged the people not to make the mistake of the past. Said he: “We should be careful so that we don’t make the mistake the former governor, Mu’azu, made when he anointed the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Nadada Umar, who came from Bauchi North to succeed him, thereby denying Yuguda the ticket and at the end Yuguda defeated Nadada. So the office of the governor should be free for all zones to contest, whoever wins the primary election should be supported, in the best interest of the state without minding the zones he came from.”
Political pundits are more of the view that considering his wealth of experience as a seasoned technocrat, the former SGF is better suited to lead the state out of the woods and to consolidate on the development effort of Governor Isa Yuguda.
Ahmed was appointed to the position of Head of Civil Service (chief civil servant) of Nigeria on December 18, 2000, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who described Ahmed as “Mr Civil Servant”.
In May 2006, Yahuza Mohammed Bauchi, Chairman of the Bauchi Actualization Forum (BAF), encouraged Yayale to run in the 2007 Bauchi State Governorship race. According to Bauchi, the people of Bauchi State were “clamouring for Alhaji Yayale Ahmed to assume the mantle of leadership in the state so as to consolidate the good works of Governor Ahmed Mu’azu.”
President Umaru Yar’adua appointed him to the position of Defence Minister July 26, 2007. He had no military experience prior to the appointment. On September 8, 2008, President Umaru Yar’Adua appointed him as the Secretary to The Government of The Federation replacing Alhaji Babagana Kingibe.
With such laudable wealth of experience, political observers in Bauchi are of the opinion that with Yayale Ahmed as the PDP flag bearer, the party has already won the battle even before a single shot was fired, making many to believe that ahead of the 2015 governorship primaries, the one-time Minister of Defence is the man to beat.
Alabare wrote in from Abuja