Bauchi Senatorial By- Election: The Rebirth Of Sak And The Game Players, By Abdulmajid Waziri

It is evidently clear that many Nigerians are unhappy with the school of thought that preaches  for voting strictly based on party identification popularly known as SAK  and rubbished all other candidates outside the annoited party no matter how credible they are . Many believed that effective change can only be successful if electorates  shun homogeneous voting since politicians are not attracted to political parties based on established principles or remarkable achievement made by the parties.  It is a quest for comfort zone and where I can easily get what I want.

It is illogical to advocate for anything SAK in a system where party ideology is absent and no standard is present to recruit incoming members of political parties, especially when other factors ; past record,competency, communication and credibility are not properly understood by the propagator.

Since the demise of the finest Bauchi Senator on the 17 March,2018 – Sen Ali Wakili (Allah Yajikan Malam Ali) many politicians have indicated interest to contest for the Bauchi South Senatorial district which comprises of 1944 poling unit across Seven(7) local government of the state. The forerunners in this contest are; Ex-governor Isa Yuguda (GPN), Lawal Yahaya Gumau (APC), Ladan Salihu (PDP), Maryam Begel(SDP) and Hussaini Umar (NNPP).

President Muhammadu Buhari was in Bauchi on Thursday to campaign for his party’s candidate – Lawal Yahaya Gumau. There, the president appealed to the mammoth crowd that graced the campaign rally to vote for Gumau and APC candidates in all  other elections. Many have received the President’s appeal for SAK with shock even though the expectations were not for the President to campaign for the other party but the present nightmare in governance was believed by many Nigerians to have gain grounds due to the president call for SAK voting during the 2015 elections. Many expected a shift from call for SAK voting or even silent on the issue until when the President relaunched this ideology in Bauchi which is likely going to be extended in other campaign rallies for 2019 general elections.

The president was recently reported to have endorsed voting based on credibility and past records, this was however not unconnected with the poor reletionship between the National Assembly and the presidency. Even with the majority, the APC remains voiceless in getting exactly what it wants in the National Assembly. Can voting for SAK make it easy for the president this time around?

Gumau is the present member representing Toro federal constituency in the House of Representative and right man to governor Abubabakar. Many have known him as a silent legislator who hardly talk on the floor of the house though this popular insinuation could hardly influence vote especially  considering  the support he received from the governor and Baba Buhari on last week. The number of votes Mr Gumau will get on August 11th By- election will in extension determined the strength and or weakness of President Buhari’s SAK appeal especially in a state believed to be one of his biggest stronghold.

Ex-governor Yuguda was also screened and cleared by INEC for the senate race, he will be contesting under a new Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), many believed that the party is an underdog party with few members across the state. Malam Isa’s popularity and the human development projects he championed  when he was governor will add value to his contest, he has written his name in gold by executing  many visible project especially in the area of educational development in the state. The performance of a said underdog  party in this contest is important in forecasting the faith of many new parties come 2019 general election. This is also important especially when an important figure identifies with one them.

A veteran journalist com politician and former DG Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria FRCN, Malam Ladan Salihu is another contestant for the Bauchi South Senatorial seat under the PDP. Mr Ladan is to contest under the biggest opposition party in a state with one of the largest supporters of the President. The most interesting part of Malam Ladan Salihu’s contest is that he is the most talk about candidate though from a popular but poorly accepted party in the state. He is the owner of  Alheri Radio and helds from Bauchi central city. Even with the many calls and appeals for electorate not to allow party difference alter  their voting pattern, I don’t think that will help the PDP to regain its momentum especially in the North. The support  for Buhari cannot be easily wiped away from the heart of many Northerners; it’s  for better and for worse and I don’t expect any miracle that could change this ideology in a short time. Many people who have identified with Ladan are not comfortable with his party platform even with his high sense of credibility and popularity.

Barr Hussaini Umar is contesting under the New Nigerian Peoples Party, the fastest growing opposition party in Bauchi. NNPP might be an underdog party elsewhere but never in Bauchi.Hussaini helds from Toro LGA same local government with Gumau- The President’s candidate.  The leadership of NNPP in Bauchi have sufficiently labored and took the party to all the nooks and crannies of the state, it has strong momentum and popularity to win an election. Nevertheless, how Hussaini will generate votes under a baby party they brought, nursed and labored for in a state where the president has many supporters is a moment one can wait to see.

Hon Maryam Begel is the only female contestant in the race, a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly and a close ally to speaker Dogara. Mrs Maryam pitch tent with the SDP and subsequently became the partys candidate against DR Aliyu Tilde, Begel enjoys huge support from the women electorate. Until her decamp to the SDP she belongs to the camp of  Speaker Dogara and always in brouhaha with the state government. With the growing popularity of her party many will expect to see how far the party can go in a tight contest like this one.

Abdulmajid Lawan Sani Waziri is a Political Analyst based in Jos.



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