By Francis Nansak,Lafia
Recently, the. Popular saying of majority carries the votes seems to have fizzled out inspite of our advancement in the practice of democracy in Nigeria.
Most politicians across all levels now depend on who is the preferred aspirant or candidate of any sitting president, governor and even down to our local government chairmen at any given political transition.
This system of selection sometimes breeds the rein of god-fatherism, which in most cases ended in war of words between the anointed or political son after succession. Where in some cases radicalism against the dictates of predecessors led to frictions and factions , a typical instance of recent was the case between Godwin Obaseki of Edo state and his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole.
In Nasarawa state from 1999, the issue of godfatherism or may be anointed candidates has become a standard, despite grumblings among a section of political stakeholders against the stance of a few elected officers in the state, the system has continued unabated.
To be precise, in 2007 when the tenure of the first elected executive governor, now National chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress(APC) Abdullahi Adamu, who was senator representing Nasarawa west senatorial district came to an end, he preferred Dr Aliyu Akwe Doma (late) against Barrister Solomon Ewuga, his one time deputy governor and under the same party the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP)
Despite Akwe Doma,who at some point took him (Adamu) to court over his second term bid, when the former was the candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) that was in 2003, when the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Dr Abdullahi Adamu as winner of that election.
Reward system here was buried when in 2007, upon the defection of the late Dr Aliyu Akwe Doma to Peoples Democratic Party, as against Barrister Solomon Ewuga, who had contributed to the growth of the party, Dr Abdullahi Adamu,preferred and anointed Dr Aliyu Akwe Doma,who succeeded him as governor in 2007.
However, this system of preferring and anointing a candidate against popular aspirants was send off to the gutters, wth the emergence of Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, in 2011,when Dr Aliyu Doma was seeking a second term bid in office.
This was orchestrated after Al-Makura’s defection from the PDP to patched camp with the then newly introduced Congress for Progressive Change(CPC) which was before going into the PDP primaries envisaging the then immediate past governor,Abdullahi Adamu’s opposition to his candidature, Senator Al-Makura went into the secondary election and was elected overwhelmingly on popular votes. and became elected governor from 2011 to 2019.
Politics and governance in Nasarawa state can be better and more accommodating, if the political gladiators will allow credibility and fair play in choosing leaders against imposition, anointing and preferring their choice against popular candidates. A dimension which the incumbent governor, Engineer, Abdullahi Sule, appears not ready to tour. His remarks in penultimate events proofs him in that direction even against his quest for continuity in governance, which in one of the meeting with journalists, he said, “To hell with second term, if God designed that I should stay in governance of the state for four years, I will do everything humanly possible to bequeath to the. state and it citizens a good legacy without being invited by any anti-graft agency for questioning over maladministration,” he said.
Consequent to the pattern of preferring or anointing preferred candidates have had a lopsided fixtures in Nasarawa with the likes of Barrister Solomon Ewuga ,Mr Labaran Maku and even the immediate past deputy governor, Mr Silas Agara, who though had laboured for their various political parties demanding to be rewarded, but could not secured being anointed to succeed their principals.
Drawing down to recent events in the state, with the decision of a High Court that sat on November 2, 2022 and squashed the APC primaries conducted on June 4, 2022, between Arch. Shehu Tukur and Barrister, Shuaibu Labaran Magaji, directing that a fresh primaries be conducted in 14 days.
The two parties had contested the primary seeking to be flag bearer of the APC in the 2023 general election to represent Nasarawa West Senatorial district, but owing to a petition by Barrister Labaran Magaji, over irregularities and doctoring of original delegates list, the court in it wisdom had ordered that a fresh primary be conducted .
In the Barr. Magaji petition, he seek the consideration of the court owing to the points he raised in the petition, He prayed that the court declared him winner of the election as well as insisted that the list of delegates of Nasarawa and Keffi LGAs which was doctored in favour of Arch Shehu Tukur be disregarded.
Be it as it may, this has created fresh tensions among political gladiators in the state and especially those from Nasarawa West Senatorial District from where the current APC National chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu himself is from.
On this note ,and coming from this tasking challenge, what all the parties involved need watch out against will be issues of godfatherism, anointing and having preferred persons, alongside rewarding individuals against popular candidates.
As it appears and as difficult as this could be, a pundit said if the APC will based it choosing candidates on rewarding party loyalists or anointing individuals against popularity, let it be on merit, how much a person as a politician has contributed in the building of the party not rewarding people who had not laboured for the party in time passed.
The pundit said” Godfatherism , preferring any aspirant who has no support from the grass roots can be a disaster to the party in a secondary election.
Another source foreclosed that both Shehu Tukur and Labaran Magaji, are party loyalists, adding that the party is in the best position of weighing their contributions and popularity to decide on who wants to represent them.
“If APC truly wants to win the forthcoming election, we have been left behind in terms of representation in the Senate, since our Senator ,Abdullahi Adamu, resigned his position in the Senate for the National chairmanship of APC, so we can not afford to be playing politics of who is to be rewarded, preferred instead of considering who amongst the aspirants is most popular.