2019: As opposition strategizes for another "power shift" in Kaduna State

In 2015, opposition politicians set a record when power shifted from the then ruling Peoplea��s Democratic Party (PDP), to the All Progressives Congress (APC), leading to the emergence of incumbent Governor, Nasir el-Rufai. Correspondent, JUBRIN MIACHI, looks at the possible political forces that could wrestle the incumbent Governor, El-Rufai, to the Kashim Ibrahim Government House, in what could possibly look like another power shift.

The 2015 governorship election in Kaduna State was a fierce race between former Governor Ramalan Yero of the PDP and his APC counterpart, Nasir el-Rufai, who eventually emerged the winner. Despite the power of incumbency, it was obvious that the odds favoured Mallam El-Rufai, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).A� He was favoured because the people were demanding for change and there was growing feeling of disenchantment in the PDP.

Undoubtedly, the grievances against the PDP government then were so much and glaring as testified by the exodus of opinion molders from the party, who pitched tent with APC. Most of this people who are seen and revered in Kaduna politics spearheaded El-Rufaia��s campaign to victory, making him the 9thA�Governor in the history of Kaduna state.

With the intrigues, crisis and disagreements rocking the APC ahead of the 2019 governorship election in Kaduna State, aA�A�number of political players from within the three senatorial zones (the South, North and Central) are already sharpening their swords and oiling their campaign machinery in preparation for the ensuing political war with the sitting Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.

Strategically, some of them are yet to make pronouncement, despite their body language, while others have declared their intention and preparedness to wrestle El-Rufai. Thus, as the pendulum swings, the pertinent question begging for answers on the sealed lips of the people of Kaduna State is whether power can shift ground or the APC will consolidate the gains of 2015.

Hon. Kish Adamu:A�A�A former Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of the state is a PDP member. He was in the past lured into the race by his supporters, but after due consultations, he stepped aside. This time around, he said he has listened to his kinsmen and decided to answer the call from the youths across the state to lead the state. In an exclusive interview he granted our reporter, the text of which will be published shortly, Kish decried the present situation and therefore declared: a�?I am prepare to lead Kaduna statea�?, stressing a�?we dona��t deserve this kind of leadershipa�? with a vow that a�?we must not continue with ita�?. His strength has remained the grassroots, which he has continuously identified with. But his greatest challenge will remain in his party, the PDP, which has tactically seized to return to the limelight in Kaduna State, since it lost power in 2015.

Adamu however possesses the qualities the quality of staging a big fight to the Kaduna State Government House, if the PDP can strike a quick return to what it used to be in the Past in the state.

Hon.A� Isah Hashiru:A�A�Hon. Hashiru, a former House of Representatives member, was among the aspirants who tried but lost to the incumbent Governor in the race for APC ticket in 2015. It was gathered that before then, he had assembled about eight professors who worked out a blue print for him on what he intended doing, if he had realised his ambition then. He was also among the PDP members that decamped to APC. While he is yet to make public pronouncement, his closed political associates said Hashiru is warming up for a return to the race. Sources close to him also informed that the former federal law maker may seek his mandate under the troubled APC, as he may likely return to PDP in pursuance of his gubernatorial interest. Though a man of his people, Honourable Hashiru may face some challenges as he plans to seek the ticket under PDP, he may need to do much to convince the PDP big wigs in the state, who still look at his likes as having sabourtaged the party in 2015.

Alhaji Muhammed Bello:A�A�A respected title holder in Zazzau Emirate Council (Dan Maina Zazzau), is also a PDP man and the current Director of Finance, ECOWAS Secretariat. His political activism dated back to ANPP, a political party that collapsed into todaya��s ruling APC. Like incumbent Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Bello is from the Northern zone of Zaria Emirate Council and his strength lies more on his grassroots followership.A�A�But whether he would be able to upstage the second term bid of the incumbent governor will also depend on the strength of the PDP or any other political party he may chose to seek to actualize his ambition. His Zazzau Emirate Council royal position could however facilitate support for him, if he picks the ticket.

Hon. Sani Shaa��aban:A�This is another formerA�member of the Federal House of Representatives, who has not hidden his ambition to govern Kaduna State. He contested the 2011 governorship election on the platform of the then ACN and lost to late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa.

Hon. Shaa��aban is being rumoured to have begun consultations to stage yet another attempt to the Kashim Ibrahim House in 2019. His support has being from his grassroots mobilization and the youths of the state, even though he may encounter challenges trying to unseat the incumbent.

SenatorA�Suleiman Hunkuyi:A�Senator Hunkuyi is an emerging force in the politics of Kaduna, who has gained much followership in the past three months due to his outspokenness and continuous critic of the incumbent Governor, Nasir el-Rufai.

A�This political figure, which prides himself as a practical democrat, was until 2015 when he decamped for APC, a very strong and revered member of PDP and a household name in the politics of Kaduna state. He indicated his interest to contest the Governorship race early in February, and since then he has been a household discussion. His declaration and criticisms has however earned him some persecution in the hands of the incumbent administration. Hunkuyi has however remained steadfast, despite the series of attacks on him by the Kaduna State government, as has so far remained the tormentor- in-chief of Nasir el-Rufai.

It could however be a big task for him to secure the APC ticket, as the incumbent Governor has already seen him as his enemy and could do all within his arsenal as a seating governor to frustrate his ambition, especially if he remains in the APC.A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�

With the recent declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the presidency,A�A�the race may have begun, as possible aspirants would be taking their turn one after another, especially as the party primaries will soon commence. Whether the incumbent Governor, Nasir el-Rufai will retain his seat come 2019 or the opposition could achieve their desired power shift sill remains a big question among political stakeholders in Kaduna State.

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