Thursday, November 22, 2018 7:51 am
By Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
Like a gathering cloud, a trend is gradually taking shape on the political firmament of the Confluence State. Although governorship election in the State won’t hold until the last quarter of next year, it’s been the corner stone directing current political calculations in the state. As political parties are in deft permutations over who flies their respective flags for other elective offices, the governorship seat is literally ‘the crown of glory’ and target of all the parties. At least not less than Seven of the 91 registered political parties are in frenzied permutations over the poll.
Members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC are believed to be working for incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello’s reelection. In a manner of speaking, he is a sole and lonely aspirant in the party. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Social Democratic Party, SDP, Accord Party, A.P, ADC, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and People’s Redemption Party, PRP, are all in various degrees of psychological agitations and activation for the poll. For now, the PDP, more than any other party harbors the most potent movements within its fold that can upturn the APC’s Apple’s Cart.
The movements may provide vital content for students of political history in the North-Central State. Many big names are already being mentioned in the battle for the PDP ticket. They include, the aviator and immediate past governor Capt. Idris Ichalla Wada, his brother and staff of Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, Engr. Wada, businessman and son of a former governor, Abubakar Idris, technocrat and boss of Nigeria Space Research Development Agency, NSRDA, Prof. Seidu Ogar, and former Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Emma Omebije. Others are former Commissioner for Health and respected Physician, Dr. Idris Omede, another former Deputy Speaker, Hon. Aliyu Aku, etcetera.
Beyond the names, and multi consultations going on in the party, the case of Abubakar Idris provides a rehearse narrative. Keen observers of the Kogi political barometer are quick to point out that he may be the candidate to beat for the PDP ticket and the real election. Abu’s foray into politics in some ways is reminiscent of how his father, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris aka Ibro, also entered politics about 16 years ago. Then, impressed by his generosity, humility and other innate attributes, the political class and ordinary citizens literally encouraged the hotelier to contest for governorship, assuring him of massive support. That formed the genesis of his serial electoral victories, his Nine year governorship and unparalleled contributions to the development of the Confluence State.
Nearly two decades down memory lane, Kogi is on the match again shopping for a governor. And like an interesting chip off the old block story, the odds are pointing in the direction of Abubakar, the brain behind Aira Integrated Resources Ltd, a top range service company. Already, concerned individuals, groups and associations have started paying their ways to encourage and align with his gubernatorial desire. After enduring years of arrogant misrule in the hands of her present handlers, the ordinary citizens of the State seem to have located in the 50-year-old Abubakar, qualities earlier discovered in his father and are urging him to throw his hat into the ring.
Several associations, groups both within and outside the PDP and cutting across different ethnic groups in the state have endorsed the project. Prominent among the groups are Lokoja leaders of thought, Kogi East Youth Network, Lokoja-Koto Market Men Association, Performing Young Musicians Association and Nasara FC. Others are Better the Future Group, Kogi PDP Women Group, Atikulated Project Nationwide, Kogi State chapter, Kogi Central Coalition, some students associations and some other interest groups. In fact, one of the groups, Kogi West Youth Alliance went beyond rethorics, when it bought the PDP intent form for Abubakar.
To be sure, Abubakar is not a grey horn in politics. He cut his political teeth as an IJMB student in the College of Advanced Studies, Zaria. That was in 1992 when his fellow students encouraged him to vie for the Students Union Presidency. The attempt exposed him to preliminary nuances in politics. Building on that college experience, Abubakar resolved not to vie for office but retain significant political interest in his days at Ahmadu Bello University, the foremost northern Nigeria institution in Zaria where he studied Agricultural Science and graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture, in 1997.
With a degree in the kitty, Abubakar continued his endeavors in business, blending it with part-time academic activities. After his first degree, he set his mind on horning his leadership potentials. Consequently, in 1999-2001, he returned to his alma-matar for a Post-graduate Diploma in Management. He crowned this up with a Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy, MIAD from the same institution, 2002/ 2003.
His business interests span the vast regions of hospitality, oil and gas, agriculture and mining. Abu’s rather antithetical urbane background and activism have continued to shape his pursuits in life.
Soft spoken, humble and deeply perceptive, Abubakar abhors cheating and feels uncomfortable at the site of suffering. These are strong philosophical instincts directing his participation in public affairs. For instance ever before his current foray into politics, Abubakar has always been an attentive and generous person, not only eager to bear the burdens of others but to also share his belongings with the needy. Over the years, he has been involved in community services such as paying medical bills, school fees for the less privileged and donating boreholes in some communities.
“This is not about me. The events happening in our state are such that challenge all men and women of conscience. I am moved by a need to pull our state out of the woods and place it on the path of growth. If we don’t act, nobody will do it for us. With our natural and human endowments, our people are not suppose to have any pact with poverty and suffering.” Abubakar opined.
With such oratory and diverse support base, news about his gubernatorial ambition has been spreading with the speed of a tsunami. Expectedly, the popularity has also come with its own challenges. Some people have accused his father-former governor of attempting to impose his son on the party. The former governor has since dissociated himself from any imposition scheme. He assured party members of a level playing ground.
“I cannot stop or change anybody’s destiny. Power belongs to God and he gives it as he wills. Count me out of any imposition plot. Every aspirant is working on the field. The people will decide who they prefer, not me. My prayer is that God should give us a governor that will make Kogi great again and surpass my achievements, no matter whose son he may be. We should all pray for such leadership in our state.”
For now, the battle for Lugard House goes on.