It’s two years ahead of the 2023 general elections in the country—but politicians, in what looks like alignment and re-alignments have started scheming, forming alliances.
They do this to woo supporters and galvanize party faithfuls—to either maintain power or wrestling power with the ruling party. In Bauchi State, since the opposition party, the All-Progressives Congress, APC suffered defeat in 2019, it is involved in deep meditation, “self-reflection”, searching for a suitably qualified candidate who has the support and commensurate capacity to wrestle power with the incumbent governor Bala Mohammed if he jettisons his Presidential ambition and eventually bags his party ticket to run for a second term.
To successfully dismantle power from the PDP, the APC in the state is believed to have started a “soul search” for a candidate it believes will be acceptable across the three senatorial districts of the state. The party according to insiders is trying to avoid “mistakes of the past where politicians who have money will be imposed against popular politicians who have acceptability with the masses”, a chieftain of the party who does not wants his name on print told WikkiTimes.
In what looks like a wave of populism to reawaking a sleepwalking party in the state, stakeholders of the party including a former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara who recently returned to the APC and Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education are rumoured to be comfortable with Hon. Farouk Mustapha, a former senatorial candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP who also recently defected to the APC.
A party chieftain said there are many factors working in favour of the politician. “For me, the APC like I told you wants to avoid the mistakes of the past and for them to successfully do that, they have to get someone who would be acceptable across the divide. “As things continue to present themselves to them, based on an assessment they did, it was concluded that Farouk Mustapha is the right politician because even the establishment understood that they have to back him if they really want to wrestle power with Bala Mohammed comes 2023”, he said.
Insiders told WikkiTimes that a series of secret meetings held in Bauchi and Abuja among the top echelon of the APC resolved that it was high time the party zone its governorship ticket to Bauchi North Senatorial District.
An Insider told WikkiTimes that “the party is keenly monitoring the political wind in the state, and the movement that is advocating for power shift in Bauchi is beginning to get sympathy from different nook and crannies of the state.
“Knowing this, some stakeholders in the party are beginning to accept a beckoning reality to zone the governorship ticket to Katagum Zone and they have to pick a popular politician who has the support of his people in order to succeed”, he said.
WikkiTimes learnt that some popular politician in the State such as the former Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Adamu Adamu, minister of Education and Shitu Zaki, former political adviser to governor Bala Mohammed were reportedly convinced to support Farouk Mustapha, a move many spectators believe could shake many tables.
For Kamal Muhammed a political analyst in Bauchi, Hon. Farouk Mustapha deserves to bag the APC ticket to succeed Bala Mohammed come 2023, a move he said will end the long-standing political feud between Bauchi and Katagum zone in the state.
Mr Kamal who described Farouk as “jinx breaker” said the politician has the commensurate quality and acceptance to be the next governor of the state.
“When you carefully study his political sojourn, you realized that he wields enormous influence with a concomitant occultic followership across nook and crannies of the state.
“It’s like a wave of populism because he defies the so-called political establishment of the state and he stands a better chance to neutralize the seemingly mischievous arrangement where only one region has held sway the leadership of the state for years”, Mr Kamal argued.
He said come 2023, the possibility of breaking the perceived political rivalry between Bauchi and Katagum zone was highly likely, adding that only a viable candidate whose political trajectory resonates across the divide can pull the trigger that will end “the one-sided arrangement.”
“If you observe the mood carefully, the people of the state are beginning to realise that the so-called dichotomy between Bauchi South and North is artificially created to enable the elites to facilitate their divide-and-rule tactics which had benefitted them for so many years”, he said.
Mr Kamal posits that historically, “there is no reason whatsoever why a man from Bauchi metropolis should feel he’s different from someone in Azare. “what should be the basis for the rivalry? In what ways do we differ”, he queried.
He argued that the only way to break the artificially created the rivalry was to field a candidate that will have the acceptance of the electorate across nook and crannies of the state, adding the opposition APC in the state stands a better chance to field a candidate with widespread acceptance.
“And at the moment, I think Farouk Mustapha has the acceptability among youths and women in all the 20 LGAs of the state because of his track records of kindness, humility and incorruptibility.
“No one would track or link him at any point in time with some shoddy deals; he’s a clean politician”, Kamal insisted.
Agreeing with Mr Kamal, Muhammed Muktar MK, a social commentator said “Yes I think and believe Farouk will be the APC’s flag bearer in the 2023 governorship election, if APC is serious about wrestling power from the ruling PDP. Because Farouk is undoubtedly the most populous among the viable candidates.”
He said Farouk’s style of politics and accessibility to common people make “his campaign messages resonating with the masses that saw their own aspirations reflected in him in his amazing grass to grace story.”
Muktar argued that one of the ways the APC in Bauchi State could stage a comeback in 2023 was to field a candidate that represents many of the state’s social categories. “And for me, Hon. Farouk is accessible by the poor, they feel he was one of them, the young people who constitutes majority of registered voters could feel him, and he is always younger and agile than fellow contestants.”
The commentator said, Hon. Farouk’s growing popularity “is giving the incumbent serous headache because all the aforementioned social categories are solidly behind him as they feel he is bringing the awesome power of a state governor down to them.”
On why Yakubu Dogara appeared comfortable with Farouk, Muktar said, “It is true; everyone in APC including the former Speaker is comfortable with Farouk because of his affable, noble and noncontroversial manner.”
Party chieftains within the APC believed that Hon. Farouk who had worked so hard over the past years to build political career “because of what he wants to achieve for his people”, was another reason the APC big fishes including Yakubu Dogara and Adamu Adamu reportedly resolved to back him.
For Salauddeen Yakubu Gwani, an APC stalwart, Farouk “is the personification of the struggle against our disunited people who inspired many of us to take up his people’s cause as their own, the man of his society, a national icon, a conscience for the state, a legend in his own lifetime and the many other things that have been justly recognized.”
“But first and foremost, and without which he could not have been any of the other superlatives, the most revered man of our zone is a brilliant young politician. At a time when this pursuit is held in such disdain and disunited region – in his own zone, in our own zone – it seems to many important to register that his life is a shining lesson that politics can be a tremendous force for good”, another commentator Babangida Yunusa opined.
He said despite Farouk’s popularity in the state, he was viewed with widespread “suspicion of political party disadvantages in which he belongs to a less popular party of NNPP”, a bottleneck many feels is now addressed with his return to the APC.
But many factors are also likely to work against Hon. Farouk despite getting the endorsement of Yakubu Dogara and Adamu Adamu according to Ishaq Salisu who described himself as a “political watcher.”
“Despite the support, he enjoys in the APC and the enormity of decampees returning to the APC because of him, he has a lot of challenges such as the Abuja Senators who have also shown interest to contest for the number one seat in the APC.
“The likes of Senator Halliru Jika from Bauchi central, Lawal Yahaya Gumau from Bauchi South and of course the former Governor of the state MA Abubakar who is also likely to contest are some of the challenges facing Farouk Mustapha”, he said.
Salisu believed that the two serving Bauchi Senators have a lot of resources at their disposal; “and knowing the role money plays in Nigeria’s party democracy, that could be a big headache for young politicians who lack the financial muscles to slug it out with financially viable opponents.”
Salisu who said although Bauchi former governor’s structures are collapsing into Farouk’s movement, “In view of the recent declaration by supporters of the former governor who declared their support for him, that is still not enough because 24 hours in politics is a huge time, although he appeared favourable in view of the emerging political movement in the state that is advocating for power shift in the State”.