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Niger: Battle for Kure’s job begins

Posted by by Francis Falola on 2005/01/11 | Views: 425 |

Niger: Battle for Kure’s job begins


NIGER State Governor, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure, to watchers of political events in the state, must be in a dilemma over who to back as his successor in 2007.

NIGER State Governor, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure, to watchers of political events in the state, must be in a dilemma over who to back as his successor in 2007.

This is because of the quality of candidates that have so far shown interest in the 2007 gubernatorial race. At the last count, there were seven of them. They include the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Shem Nuhu Zagbayi; the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Adams Erena; former gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party and Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Alhaji Mustapha Bello; former Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party in the state, Alhaji Dahiru Kuta; Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Bawa Bwari; and the deputy speaker of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Haruna Labaran,.

Along party lines, the battle is going to be a keen contest between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and its main rival, the PRP. Though other political parties such as the All Nigerians Peoples Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Alliance for Democracy, United Nigerians Peoples Party and the National Democratic Party among others could be said to have their political structures in place, but their presence and influence had been greatly whittled by the PDP’s political machinery. The parties only exist in names.

For political convenience, Niger State has been divided into three zones. These are: Zone A made up of Bida, Lapai, and Agaie Emirates. Zone B comprising Minna, Kagara and Suleja Emirates. Kontagora and Borgu Emirates are in Zone C. Many believe that Zone B is highly favoured to produce Kure’s successor. This is based on the principle of rotation that is in existence in the state.

Based on the rotational arrangement, Zone B took the first shot at the gubernatorial seat of the state between 1979 and 1983 when one of its own, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim, who is now the Emir of Suleja, ruled the state. The position later moved to Zone C when Dr. Musa Inuwa was in charge from 1990. Kure, who is in his second term, is from Zone A.

But the rotational principle is almost entirely a PDP affair. The PRP is yet to decide the zone that would produce the governor. The party’s Chairman, Alhaji Dahiru Kuta, who disclosed this, however, stated that it is not unlikely that the party too would give Zone B the slot in view of the general clamour for the zone to have the position.

Kuta, who is from Zone B, was a founding member of the PDP and the Secretary to the State Government between 1999 and 2002 before a face-off with Kure, which led to his defection to PRP. Kuta thus became the arrowhead of the opposition with his popularity rating increasing by the day. Owing to this, Kuta, a former member of the House of Representatives, is being pressurised to contest the 2007 gubernatorial election. But the PDP is not giving up on him. The party is wooing him to return to its fold. It is believed this would strengthen PDP’s political machinery and reposition the party for the 2007 general elections.

Zagbayi, a pharmacist, who is also from Zone B is another strong contender for Kure’s seat. A former commissioner in the state on different occassions, Zagbayi is regarded as a versatile politician. But critics have said the alleged unsatisfactory performance of Kure’s administration may work against him.

Another political bigwig in the state, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, has also shown interest in becoming the state governor. Aliyu, a federal Permanent Secretary and holder of the national honour of the Order of the Niger, is loved in the state because of his philanthropic acts. But it is not certain yet the political platform he will choose.

Erena is also said to be nursing the ambition of succeeding Kure. A labour activist before his sojourn into politics, Erena is said to be respected by many in the state. He succeeded Kuta as SSG and has since assumption of office established a smooth working relationship with Kuta. But he has expressed fears about his ability to raise the needed funds for electioneering, saying this might cut short his ambition to serve his people.

Labaran has commenced consultations over his ambition to rule the state. The deputy speaker, who is serving his second term in that postion, according to sources, has started consultating members of his constituencies with the aim of fashioning out strategies for the actualisation of his dreams. Labaran in an interview said his desire was borne out of the interest to serve his community and the people of the state in general.

Bwari commands respect among the people of the state. The Chief Whip in the House of Representatives, has made a name for himself in the state. A power broker in the state is said to be supporting him.

Bello, the Minister of Commerce in the early years of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, has not abandoned his dream of governing the state in 2007. Bello resigned his appointment as a minister to wrestle power from Kure in 2003. But his dream failed in the PDP during the gubernatorial primary. This led to his defection to the PRP where he was given the gubernatorial ticket. The ambition of Bello, from Zone C, might be dashed based on the general notion that the position should be given to Zone B.

Though the general consensus in the state favour Zone B producing the next governor of the state, but analysts are of the view that the internal wrangling and lack of unity among the people of the zone might rob them of the opportunity. The internal wrangling may lead to the other zones presenting a consensus candidate for the election. This, it is believed, could lead to serious problems for Zone B.

Beside issues of political experience and wide acceptance of the candidate, the influence and roles of political power brokers in the state will also take a centre stage in determining Kure’s successor. The contenders have, therefore, started making moves to curry the favour of the state’s power brokers.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.