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2027: Wither Bauchi State? By Sanusi Muhammad

“Whosoever wants to take over the mantle of governance from Governor Bala Muhammed of Bauchi State in 2027, has a herculean task before him, because the legacies of Bala Muhammed adorning the entire landscape of the state are unmatchable and unbeatable by any unserious governor.

We prefer Governor Bala to point the direction of his successor than allowing a wrong choice by the gullible electorates that can easily be enticed, deceived and manipulated to elect a misfit”……….Anonymous

The time to deploy political dexterity and vastly accumulated political experience to access elective offices may soon approach. All manner of campaign slogans and strategies will be put to test for the coming herculean and cumbersome task by those interested and the hired for the task of marketing candidates across party divides including jobbers, jesters, clowns and of course the usual hooligans and street urchins that eke a living from anything dirty.


As the 2027 general election is drawing nearer, with the ruling party expected to exit the corridors of power or strategize to maintain a stay based on its performance index. There have been a silent swirl of political activities across the state, with pressure groups, political actors and their supporters, already employing all manner of strategies, subterfuge and even threats to make their voices heard and ultimately outwit one another in the game of, who, gets what, when and how.

Expectedly, Bauchi State is not left behind of the frenzy and filibuster. The various political actors and interest groups have been vociferous in their silent campaign about whether or not the governorship ticket should be zoned and which part of the state should hold the card to succeed the exiting incumbent who has displayed prowess, passion and dexterity in service without any reasonable support from those national assembly members and other political office holders at the national level.
Perhaps, the race for who occupies the position as the numero uno has never been this baleful in the, political history of the state.

Without prejudice to the political parties existing in the state, the campaign may be more pronounced and even vicious between the ruling, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the strongest opposition lacking cohesion, internal democracy, strength and strategy. And this is quite understandable being the two most spread parties in the state.

For the opposition party, APC, it has no known credible contestants other than Sen. Shehu Buba Umar who is now the engine room of the party from Bauchi South that may luckily have the governorship ticket as the best bet for the contest if it outwits the other zones in the battle for the soul of the party.

Air Marshal Sadeeq Baba Abubakar (rtd), who tested the muddy water in 2023 of the APC stable is there battling the odds and diffusing internally planted mines within their party against his interest, making steady inroad to re-fly the party’s flag for the 2027 contest while other strong and well connected contenders of the APC extraction from Bauchi central may stand shoulder high with Bauchi South brandishing their political arsenals while combing the entire landscape making contacts and connections to scale the hurdle of party primary, to wait confidently for the whistle to slug it out within the rules of the game, that’s if the party does not shoot itself below the belt in the delegates’ election by violating Articles 14(14) and 15 of its own Constitution to support their milking cows who may dictate where the pendulum should swing from their comfort zones.

While a school of thought spearheaded by some APC youth leaders within the polity believes the gubernatorial slot of all the parties should be zoned to Bauchi south and subsequently produce a successor to the incumbent in 2027, another school of thought says there has never been a time the position was zoned to any or one particular zone since 1999. It had been a free for all fight depending on applied strategy.
While Bauchi south has been the occupant of the position since 1999, Bauchi North and Central zones remain the major proponents of zoning the position in the spirit of equity, fairness, justice and sense of inclusiveness.
Stripped of the hue and cry, the pro-Shehu Buba campaign is majorly propelled by diehard supporters, renowned democrats, technocrats and community leaders scattered across the state and across party divide trumpeting the doctrine of equity and justice. In a move that political observers termed as very audacious, they have gone a step further to urge the APC to handover its gubernatorial ticket to their choice, Sen. Shehu Buba for the forthcoming contest and for subsequent victory at general election in anticipation of robust governance laced with patriotic instincts.

Now let us for a moment assume without conceding that there has never been any zoning agreement of positions within the PDP and probably the APC. However, we are all living witnesses to how the incumbent from Bauchi South replaced his predecessor of Bauchi south in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He tested the waters, deployed wisdom and courage and scaled through without enjoying any zoning arrangement.

Others alleged that M.A Abubakar was replaced from a well coordinated mass mobilization and gang-up master minded within the then ruling party, APC for the victory to Bala Muhammed for reasons not clear. The rest is a story for another day.

Suffice it to say that by 2027, Bala will complete his mandatory two terms tenure as a fulfilled leader who deployed courage and sincerity in service delivery beyond expectation in a battered economy. Perhaps, it is this indulgence that emboldens APC supporters to say there has never been any zoning agreement put-in-place. But subscribers to the zoning agreement say it is on the basis of the gentleman’s agreement that aspirants from other zones usually sprout to take the turn of their zones for the gubernatorial contest—- being the two senatorial districts that are yet to occupy the highest elective position in the state since 1999.
For a moment, one is tempted to assume that what the proponents of “no zoning” are trying to say is that there has been no zoning of the gubernatorial position to any particular zone.

But let us shudder for a minute, what made it possible to zone other elective and selective positions and leave out the gubernatorial position as the case at hand with the parties and why? Does it mean the other two zones lack competent persons to occupy the position? There must be something wrong somewhere as there is no fire without a smoke.

Between 1999 and 2007, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu from Bauchi south was the governor. He was replaced by Malam Isa Yuguda in 2007-2015 from same Bauchi south. Then M.A Abubakar from same Bauchi south took over in 2015-2019 and replaced by Sen. Bala Muhammed in 2019 till date. These were not mere happenstance but an outcome of pure political strategy blended with expertise and unity of purpose that other zones lack. They were as a result of deft political moves, strategic calculations and clinical execution.
The gubernatorial slot is yet to go round the three senatorial zones since 1999 and not for any imaginary reason other than those stated. Proponents of zoning are of the view that it is in the interest of equity, justice, peace and brotherliness, for the slot to go round the zones that have not tasted the pie for almost 28 years of the Fourth Republic. But how feasible is that without working for it?

It is worthy to note that since the incumbent is from Bauchi South, there was no serious contender from that zone in 2023 that attempted aspiring to that position for fear of political suicide. This is yet another silent but eloquent pointer to the gentleman’s agreement about brotherhood within the southern zone.
Again, let’s for a moment concede that there was never a time that positions were zoned to any of the zones and that aspirants from the other zones have been contesting the position, as have been canvassed by the anti-zoning elements, the fact that it was the tickets that pander zonal balancing and sentiments across the senatorial districts that won is another reason why zoning or return to the gentleman’s agreement cannot be ignored if the polity is to be stabilized.

What is more, the state has the highest homogenous voting population with the three senatorial districts somewhat heterogeneous which I may be wrong. While it is within a people’s democratic rights to agitate and canvass their positions, any politician or political party worth the name should have his/eyes set on how to win election. And in doing this, no one should be blinded by selfish ambition or zoning. Rather, all the options should be weighed with fair appreciation of likely scenarios.

For instance, it is rumored the APC leadership in the state has secretly endorsed the candidature of a particular aspirant in anticipating a high score at the election thereafter, which to critics, is a mere illusion and a pedestrian trick that lacks substance worth attention and support.
If the PDP for whatever reason makes a mistake to allow moles or those political merchants that may bulldoze their ways to aspiration on its platform at the late hour and masquerade as reliable, it should be prepared to swim in consequences that are better imagined than said. The PDP may parade credible aspirants for the elections.

After the expected formal public declaration of Sen. Shehu Buba who may swell the number of supporters, the PDP may use the power of incumbency and scorecard of Governor Bala Muhammed and its formidable structures established years back for the contest. But for sincerity of purpose and commitment to wrest power from PDP, all other APC aspirants should honorably and without pressure of any threat or frustration, stepped down for a new pony for the race.

The APC may have Sen. Shehu Buba to sorting it out themselves within their party level for possible consensus if need be or through accredited and officially recognized delegates primary election at worst. Others may be qualified for the contest by electoral standard, but it should decide to play the ostrich and deny any of the aspirants, a level playing field for whatever reason other than what the law stipulates PDP is already stationed by the gate to welcome, disappointed and frustrated defectors to its fold while the court decides for the party.

In all, the architects of the game and deciding factors are the delegates in the various parties who have major roles to play in diluting and diffusing the political tension within the parties and the polity where applicable. Renowned American Activist and Social Crusader, Martin Luther King, Jr said: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Political leaders across the state, particularly those in opposition have overtime provided uncommon leadership and dexterity in the management of the affairs of the political parties in the state commendably. A fact recently attested to, by no less, personalities than the strongest leaders of the PDP. If ever there has been any time that needs to provide strong leadership and point the way forward to victory in Bauchi State, it is in 2027.

To those in desperate opposition to the aspiration of certain personalities, it is better to be armed with undeniable and undisputable record of facts for use at campaign than trading in character assassination, uncouth statements, insults, blackmail and primitive abuses typical of village tyrants, political scavengers and motorpark touts. Issue-based campaigns are the most appropriate to convince sane minds in global best practice. At any rate- the pudding lies in the eating.

Until our cool, calm and calculated leaders across the divide rise to the occasion, the question on the lips of many elites and political observers remains; whither Bauchi State, come 2027?

Muhamma d is a commentator on national issues.

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