As preparations hot up for the governorship elections in about 29 states of the country, this piece analyses the profiles and chances of the two frontrunners in Kebbi, the Land of Equity.
The teacher or the soldier, who has all it takes to get the Kebbi electorate to his side and ride all the way to the Government House
The 2023 Kebbi Governorship elections is an interesting scenario to watch out for, as the two frontrunners, Nasiru Idris of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Aminu Bande of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, and are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to outshine each other for the sole purpose of occupying the Birnin Kebbi Government House.
In the build up to the governorship primaries of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, speculations were rife that the Justice Minister and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami was favourite to pick the ticket. The Minister will later make a U-turn, denouncing his ambition despite the support he enjoyed from the State governor who is believed to have wanted Malami as his choice succcesor for reasons personal to him.
That scenario will later give birth to the emergence of a former Deputy National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nasiru Idris, who was National President of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) until his emergence as gubernatorial candidate of the broom party.
For the labour unionist, his ambition was divinely orchestrated considering the circumstances that gave birth to his emergence, stressing that he is out to consolidate on the numerous achievements of the outgoing governor, Atiku Bagudu.
He says his administration will concentrate on human capital development through skills acquisition, while promising to also tackle thuggery by establishing a ministry that will be in charge of eradicating the menace. For him, that is the only approach that can be adopted in ensuring that the people stand on their feet.
Some pundits however describe the APC Candidate as not being politically savvy, adding that his relative success in trade unionism is not a guarantee that he will be remarkably successful in conventional politics. They describe state politics as a different ball game altogether.
Critics also opine that though a labour unionist, Idris is stupendously wealthy and have questioned the source of such humongous resources that will warrant him throwing his hat into the governorship race of a state like Kebbi. He has thus been further challenged by these critics to come clean and elaborately discuss his plans for the state. According to them, he takes delight in mentioning the achievements of the current APC government, provoking questions as to what will he personally be bringing to the table.
The belief in some quarters however, is that he is likely to have a smooth sail to Kebbi Government House being the usual practice in Nigerian politics for anointees of incumbents to succeed them except for exceptional cases.
The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), General Aminu Bande (Rtd) in his own right, cannot be said to be a pushover and he is said to be deploying all arsenal at his disposal to ensure he emerges victorious at the end of the day.
Bande, until his retirement from the Nigerian Army was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 8th Division of the Nigerian Army in Sokoto.
The former military officer says his move into politics immediately after retirement was borne out of patriotism and love for Kebbi State and Nigeria. He further dismisses the incumbency factor as hindrance to his ambition, stressing that the All Progressives Congress (APC) rode to power in 2015 defeating an incumbent PDP government in the State.
For him, he is no match for the APC candidate with his years of experience in the Nigerian Army, adding that time is up for self-serving politicians who will go to any length to maintain power for pecuniary gains.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate enjoys the support of a former governor of the state, Adamu Aliero, who is currently serving as a lawmaker in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
A towering figure in Kebbi politics who has has been instrumental to the emergence of all governors in the state since his exit from office in 2007, Aliero says the time is up for the APC in the state.
In fact, he is said to have played very decisive roles that in 2015 that led to the emergence of Governor Bagudu, but it seems the centre can no longer hold between the two former political allies hence Aliero’s decision to walk out of the All Progressives Congress mid last year.
With the governorship elections barely one month away, one clear fact is that the two candidates are new faces in the state’s political arena with very little baggage on their way. The Kebbi electorate however, will have to decide the fate of the former military top shot or the teacher cum labour unionist-turned politician.