Ahead of the keen contest in March 2023, would the power of incumbency deliver the governorship of Katsina to APC’s Dikko Umar Radda, or would PDP’s Garba Yakubu Lado take the day?
OrderPaper’s Ibrahim Tanko Gaddafi examines the strengths and weaknesses of the top horses.
As Governor Aminu Bello Masari‘s eight-year tenure slowly comes to a halt on May 29, 2023, the race for the seat of the next helmsman at Nigeria’s ‘Home of Hospitality’ keeps generating interest from Katsinawa and Nigerians alike.
For a state home to the country’s incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who will also be exiting Aso Rock on the same date as the outgoing governor, questions have continued to arise as to whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) can retain Katsina beyond 2023. Following this premise, we look at the two prominent actors in the race.
Dikko Umar Radda
A grassroots politician and former Chairman of Chiranci Local Government Area in the state, he was credited to have embarked on people-centred projects and policies that endeared him to the people at a relatively young age.
Radda also had a brief stint at the National Assembly when he served as a senior legislative aide to Aminu Bello Masari, then Speaker of the House of Representatives and later served as the Chief of Staff at the inception of the Masari administration in 2015.
A consummate party man, he previously occupied the seat of National Welfare Secretary at the All Progressives Congress (APC) headquarters. In this role, he was reputed to have brought his humanitarian disposition to bear; procuring and distributing relief materials to APC-controlled states that were affected by the debilitating attacks spearheaded by Boko Haram insurgents as well as other forms of natural and human-induced disasters. He is also the immediate past Director-general of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
Dikko Radda, however, ran into a major controversy when he held sway as the Director-General of SMEDAN, the country’s pilot agency responsible for providing succour and support to startup businesses and entrepreneurial endeavours. He was accused of expending the sum of over 2.47 billion naira in questionable circumstances and engaging unverified contractors to handle the agency’s projects, thus bringing to question the credibility and integrity of the governorship hopeful.
He will also have to contend with an aggrieved governorship aspirant Mustapha Inuwa, a three-time Secretary to the Katsina State government and a strong pillar of the APC who recently ditched the party for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). A move analysts describe as having the capability of breaking the soul of the APC in Katsina; especially with speculations that Abbas Umar Masanawa, who once headed the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc, is Governor Masari’s preferred successor,
Garba Yakubu Lado
Senator Garba Yakubu Lado, on the other hand, is not a newcomer to the political atmosphere in Katsina.
A grassroots politician in his own right, Lado, like his counterpart in the All Progressives Congress (APC), presided over the affairs of a Local Government Council when he held sway as Chairman at the beginning of the current political dispensation in 1999. An experienced lawmaker, he was at the National Assembly from 2003 to 2011, serving in both the House of Representatives and the Senate; the country’s apex legislative chamber, where he chaired the Senate Committee on Land Transport.
Lado, a perennial governorship contender, began his quest for the state’s number one job in 2011 when he flew the flag of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) led by then-opposition Leader, General Muhammadu Buhari but lost to the then-Governor, Ibrahim Shema.
Not to give up easily, he threw his hat into the ring again in 2019 and lost to Governor Aminu Bello Masari in a contest that he challenged up to the highest court in the land without success.
With the crises of confidence rocking the APC in the state and the seeming lack of open support by the incumbent governor for the party’s governorship candidate, Dikko Radda, who is rumoured not to be his Masari’s preferred successor, the big question would be: will the APC be retaining power in the ‘Home of Hospitality?’